Mining Minnesota’s rich vein of Finnish American music

Thumbnail image for kaivama.jpgImmigrants from Finland brought brains, muscle and a singular musical tradition to Minnesota and surrounding states.

When they weren’t working in the mines, forests or on farms they were making music in countless Finn halls around the region.

This afternoon as part of All Things Considered you can hear a new Minnesota Sounds and Voices report about Kaivama (pronounced KYE vah mah), a Minnesota-based instrumental and vocal duo preserving and expanding the tradition.

In Jeff Thompson’s photo, above, taken Dec. 19, 2012, in Minneapolis we see Kaivama founders Sara Pajunen and Jonathan Rundman rehearsing at Sara’s Minneapolis home.

By the way, Jonathan is powering a suitcase-sized pump organ called a harmonium. He also plays guitar, among other instruments.

Kaivama begins what amounts to a mid-winter Upper Midwest tour with a performance in Duluth at 8 p.m. Jan. 11 at Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse. It may mark the first time the duo will sing in addition to performing the instrumentals that have been the mainstay of their performances over the past two years.

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