Lecture Recital: A Brief History of Finnish Folk Music

February 14, 2023

A Brief History of Finnish Folk Music & Folk Music Improvisation
Alyssa Rodriguez
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
5:00-6:30 p.m.
Memorial Library, Room 126, 728 State St
Free and Open to the Public

We are pleased to be joining our colleagues from Sustaining Scandinavian Folk Arts in the Upper MidwestCenter for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, and the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+ in presenting this event. Alyssa Rodriguez will present on her Fulbright research conducted in Finland 2021–2022 at the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department in a lecture recital featuring live performance demonstrations on nyckelharpa, the Nordic keyed fiddle. She will discuss unique folk instruments, perception of folk music in Finland, and Finnish folk music styles from ancient times to present day, and how folk music improvisation keeps the tradition alive and evolving.

Rodriguez grew up next to a farm in the woods of Connecticut, and has always admired nature and its sounds and natural beauty. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music composition and violin from Ithaca College, where she began immersing herself in fiddle music and playing for dances. She studied Scandinavian fiddling with Fulbright alum Laurie Hart 2015–2021, and in 2021–2022 received a Fulbright Fellowship to study and research Nordic folk music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

Rodriguez is one of the few and finest players of the nyckelharpa in New York State. She has studied with several riksspellmän (master Swedish folk musicians), including Olov Johansson and Emilia Amper. Her music has been featured on WXXI and WRUR in Rochester, New York, and she has appeared in Nordstjernan and Nyckelharpan in Sweden. She released an album of Finnish and original nyckelharpa music in December 2022 called Postcards. You may learn more about her on her website.