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Folk band from Russia offers family fare

The folk band Sattuma, on tour from Karelian Russia, will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Olin Arts Center at Bates College.

This family quartet consists of Arto Rinne and his 13-year-old daughter, Eila; and Dima Demin and his 10-year-old son, Vlad. All multi-talented musicians, they perform traditional dance melodies and songs of both Russia & Finland on fiddles, accordion, clarinet, flutes, jaw harp, harmonica, Estonian bagpipes and the traditional Finnish instruments known as the kantele and jouikko.

Designed as a family event, the concert carries a nominal admission fee of $5, $3 for children, students and senior citizens.

Sattuma hails from Karelia, a region of Russia bordering Finland and which retains a strong Finnish heritage, much like the French-Canadian influence in New England. In fact, the adult members of Sattuma have expressed a sense of kinship with Maine's Franco-Americans for their efforts to preserve and revitalize their cultural traditions.

The quartet's repertoire ranges from Finnish polkas to Russian waltzes, interspersed with spirited Karelian folk songs and even an occasional old Celtic melody. The group's name comes from a Finnish word meaning both "happenstance" and "to hit the mark." Both nuances are appropriate, says Sattuma member Arto Rinne, since the four started playing together just for fun but soon found that there was a demand for their music, with its special multi-generational appeal.

Rinne's daughter Eila, who has been playing violin since age 5, says she is excited about her first visit to the United States and sees it as a reward for her diligance as a music student over the past eight years. In particular, she says, "I am looking forward to sharing my music with American children."

Besides their concert at Bates, Sattuma will perform for schoolchildren in Mechanic Falls and residents at Montello Heights Retirement Community in Lewiston.

Sattuma is touring New England under the auspices of Project Harmony, an organization based in Vermont which facilitates cross-cultural experiential learning. For more information and advance reservations, call 782-0386.

Sun Journal
Lewiston, Maine
October 24, 2003

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