Rune song – pathway to traditional knowledge

“I want to convey experiences from a past culture; explore the concept of time and the way of thinking that prevailed in the old world. New technology does not provide answers to all the problems in the world. Rune singing and other traditional music become pathways to past knowledge – information that we will be needing in the future.”

– Outi Pulkkinen

 Lemminkäinen is Outi Pulkkinen’s second rune singing solo album, which focuses on the age-old narrative poetry from Viena Karelia. The album features many of the traditional folklore stories, including the adventures of mythic figures Lemminkäinen and Väinämöinen. The album tells the tale of for instance how Lemminkäinen prepares new skis and chases down the Hiisi elk, and how he catches the Vellamo maiden while fishing. We also hear how Väinämöinen enters the underworld, returns alive, prepares a kantele and plays it so beautifully that the sea mistress arises to listen to him. The singing on the album is accompanied by the Finnish bowed lyre jouhikko. A majority of the songs are based on traditional melodies, but the album also features Pulkkinen’s own compositions.

“Before, life was more slow-paced; you had to get by without electricity, combustion engines and the medical industry. In the future, we will have to cut down on everything and learn to cope in different crisis situations. An endless growth in the economy is not possible. I don’t mean we should turn our backs on the future, but it is good to appreciate and learn from past wisdom, values and customs. My mission in this world is to bring this past understanding to present-day people, opening up new channels to traditional knowledge”, Pulkkinen says.

Outi Pulkkinen (born 1969 in Sääminki) is a singer, jouhikko player and experimental vocal artist. She teaches folk music, improvisation and artistic expression, and received a PhD from the Folk Music Department at the Sibelius Academy in Finland 2014. In her artistic research, she focused on both the traditional concept of time and aesthetics, and on improvisation, where she combined singing and other vocalisation with movement and speech. In addition to performing solo and in groups (MeNaiset, Duo Outi Pulkkinen and Jouko Kyhälä, IMA-C, Ääniteatteri Iki-Turso, to name a few), Pulkkinen has been active in the realm of contemporary dance in Finland as well as in international music and multi-art projects. Pulkkinen’s last tour was in Switzerland together with folk singers Nadja Räss and Mariana Sadovska. Her previous solo albums include Myyty neito (2010), which features rune singing from Ingria, as well as And All the Paths Ended (2011), which is based on vocal improvisation.


Interview requests and further information:
Outi Pulkkinen
Phone number: +358 45 6723 239,

Publisher: Jumi-tuotanto (Jumi008), release day 22.4.2016.

Online sales: Cdon, Spotify ja iTunes

Songs on the album:

  1. Hiien hirvi An epic song from Viena Karelia
  2. Lemminkäisen virsi Viena Karelian hero story with jouhikko accompaniment
  3. Vellamon neidon onginta The words come from Viena Karelia, the melody from Ingria
  4. Kuin miun tuttuni tulisi A song of longing from Juva, composed by Pulkkinen
  5. Ruha & Muanitus A jouhikko solo based on Karelian dance music
  6. Lenti kokko A wedding song with jouhikko accompaniment
  7. Väinämöinen Tuonelassa A tale of knowing
  8. Kanteleen synty The kantele birth story from Viena Karelia, composed by Pulkkinen

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