Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity - Britta Sweers

Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity - Britta Sweers

3. Dying Language, Multi-Identity and Music for the Young

Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity - Britta Sweers

Pekka Suutari [+-]
University of Eastern Finland
Pekka Suutari is professor of cultural studies at the Karelian Institute of University of Eastern Finland (Joensuu). He has studied musicology (ethnomusicology) at the Universities of Helsinki and Gothenburg, and he has acted as a visiting professor at the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Petrozavodsk, Russia. His main research interests are on the music of the borderland between Finnish and Russian Karelia, and the ethnic activities of these areas. His current article is resulting from a joint research project, “Flexible Ethnicities,” that hosted researchers from UEF, Joensuu, and KRC, Petrozavodsk.


Karelian language is in serious danger and is disappearing in both sides of the border - in Finland and in Russia. It is not mediated in families anymore, but some of the societal structures aim at creating space for the language use. Music is one of the most influential and visible means of creating space for minority identity and discourse over the role of minorities in the contemporary world. Folk rock is an attraction for the activities of the Nuori Karjala (Young Karelia) association. At the same time traditional education of folk music (in the Petrozavodsk conservatory) as well as the professional popular performances (estrada) on the national material do not meet the local linguistic problems. The need for raising the identity issue is different from the point of view of Russian speaking supervisors and the young activists of Karelian language and music. This chapter will discuss the paradoxical situation of the Karelian language and music in Russian Karelia: the important role of independent musicians and associations which aim to increase the role and attractiveness of minority identity with music.

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Suutari, Pekka. 3. Dying Language, Multi-Identity and Music for the Young. Cultural Mapping and Musical Diversity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 54-66 Feb 2020. ISBN 9781781797594. Date accessed: 21 Jul 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35825. Feb 2020

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