We are happy to announce the performers to be featured at this year’s festival!
The Smilin’ Scandinavians
A performance of the Smilin’ Scandinavians draws from a collection of lively polkas (Scandinavian, German, Czech, Slovenian), old-time country and big band swing with folksy humor and superb musicianship. They have the ability to capture an audience’s attention and break down their inhibitions, showing everyone a rollicking good time. The Smilin’ Scandinavians have it and they’ve been sharing it with audiences all around the Northwest and beyond for nearly twenty-five years. Since that time, they’ve traveled around the US and Canada playing everywhere from small ethnic enclaves to Las Vegas casinos. When you want a lively, energetic band, you want the Smilin’ Scandinavians! Catch them Saturday evening July 30th, 2022 for our Family Dance!
Kim Angelis is a world class violin virtuoso and composer who has transcended artistic boundaries, blazing a melodic trail through the territories of world and classical music. From Alaska to Ancud (Chile) to Africa and Asia, Kim Angelis has enthralled international concert audiences. Her music was highlighted on NBC’s world-wide coverage of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and it continues to accompany and inspire elite gymnasts and dancers the world over. In July 2007, her song, “Zingaro!” won Global Rhythm Magazine’s international song contest; she is also the recipient of two ASCAP “Plus” Awards for her contributions to American music. Kim’s most recent CD, “Passages”, was nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album by ZMR Broadcasters worldwide. “Angelis… literally sings each string like a gypsy poet. Through breathtaking cadenzas and tender passages … it is her own composed music which constantly brings the audience to their feet because it is of earth and yet not.” – Jean Bartlett, “Ink Notes”.
Kim will be collaborating with Jennifer Goodenberger for performances twice during this upcoming festival, both Friday and Saturday, July 29th & July 30th, 2022.
Jennifer Goodenberger is known for the elegance of her playing, and her sensitive and expressive performances, and has been engaging audiences for over 40 years as a concert pianist, composer, studio and ensemble pianist, and musical director for theater. She is the author of Subject Guide to Classical Instrumental Music, published by Scarecrow Press.
After receiving a master’s degree from Northwestern University in music composition in 1989, Jennifer began to formulate a feminine aesthetic in music. She created a performance piece, Composing Women: Unveiling the Feminine in Music, and also a concert which examined the life and music of Clara Schumann, a 19th century pianist and composer.
Jennifer’s original compositions range from the deeply healing and spiritual, to passionate and romantic creations. The music is a mesmerizing fusion of classical, improvisational and contemporary styles. She has released 8 CDs of solo piano music. Jennifer believes in the healing ability of music and the arts, and her music is often used for massage, yoga, relaxation, and in hospice. It has also been used for film soundtracks.
Jennifer will be collaborating with Kim Angelis for performances twice during this upcoming festival, both Friday and Saturday, July 29th & July 30th, 2022.
The Scandia Dancers
We are excited to welcome back the Scandia Dancers, who will perform Saturday, July 30th, 2022 at the festival. The Viking Nordic Scandia dancers of Astoria Oregon have been dancing for over 50 years. Started in1971, Ella and Dorean Simonson started teaching Scandinavian folk dances to kids, shortly later Bonnie Ladd continued until 2005 when Kevin Ladd took over as dance instructor. The Viking Nordic Scandia dancers consists of three groups: Nordic’s, 2nd grade to 6th grade, Viking’s, 7th grade through high school and the Scandia’s, the adult group.
Skamokawa Swamp Opera
Skamokawa Swamp Opera is a genre-bending acoustic band of Wahkiakum County musicians that have recorded everything from early Americana to rock to opera. They are known for vocal harmonies and unique arrangements for guitar, cello, banjo, mandolin, mandocello, percussion, and voice. They have been featured in multiple Finnish American Festivals as well as at other festivals, including Pickathon. Their 2020 album, Foxglove Streets, features all original music, much of it rooted in southwest Washington. For the Finnish American Festival they will be playing a few traditional Finnish tunes along with songs by and about the people of the lower Columbia River.
Their popular song “Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Report”, made its public debut at the last Finnish American Festival, in 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIFIKWfxoEw
We cannot wait to hear “Volume 2 of the Sheriff’s Report,” which they plan to sing at their performance on Friday, July 29th, 2022.
UPDATE: Birgit is sadly unable to make the 2022 Festival.
Birgit Teuwen-Ages, began studying piano at Walter Fox Studio in Southern Germany at age 7. She has continued in piano and learned the accordion at age 35 with a focus on mostly European Folk Songs and Folk Dance music. She has performed at many festivals, including the Folklife Festival in Seattle every year since 1991. She continues to teach music, and has been the musician for the Katrilli Finnish Folkdancers for the past 10 years. We are delighted to have Birgit and Phil Ages, Folk Voice join us for this Festival. They perform on Saturday, July 30th, 2022.
Soittorasia is a Vancouver/Portland Finnish-American Trio comprised of Valerie Blessley on kanteles and woodwinds, Elisa Boynton on Violin, kantele and jouhikko, and Jennifer Pratt-Walter on harp, kantele, percussion and woodwinds. The trio enjoys playing Finnish, Nordic, light Classical and original music in a variety of instrument combinations.
Drawing from their extensive backgrounds in Traditional and Classical music, Soittorasia brings the sounds and spirit of Traditional Nordic music alive for their audiences. They transcend the boundaries of time by sharing music from the earliest roots to modern interpretations.
Valerie and Jennifer studied with Classical harpist, Marion Fouse, of Portland, OR. They have been performing across the Pacific Northwest as the duo Celtic Muse since 1995. Jennifer is a prize winner in Scottish harp competitions, and Valerie was twice nominated for Finlandia Foundation Performer of the Year. Both Valerie and Jennifer teach harp, and Valerie also teaches kanteles.
Elisa Boynton is a graduate of Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and has taught violin at Marylhurst University, Lewis and Clark College, and currently directs and teaches at Oregon City Music Academy. She teaches stringed instruments, including Finnish kantele. Elisa is a member of the Willamette Symphony, and also performs for a variety of special events in the Northwest.
In January of 2019, Soittorasia presented “Finnish Crossroads,” a concert of Traditional music at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, WA.
Carl Wirkkala and The Whistle Punks
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Finnish-American singer-songwriter Carl Wirkkala brings to life tales of ghost towns, trains, and lonesome drifters through his music.
The core of Wirkkala’s music is based around the art of songwriting. His music tips a hat to the stylings of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Bob Dylan. He has been writing and performing for 20 years and has eight studio albums with another on the way featuring his new band, The Whistle Punks.
The rest of the Whistle Punks lineup consists of drummer Don Lawry, guitarist Chad McAllister, and bassist/backing vocalist Christine McAllister.
Don Lawry has been a professional drummer in the Pacific Northwest since the early 90s. He has played with various Portland bands spanning genres from rock to honky tonk, western swing to jazz. Don met Carl in 2004 when he was hired as a studio drummer on Carl’s solo record Ghost Town. He has been playing with Carl on and off ever since.
Christine and Chad McAllister joined the band in early 2019. The two are Philadelphia natives, based in Portland, OR. Chad has been a guitarist and music instructor for over 20 years. He is half of an indie folk duo with Christine McAllister. Christine is a songwriter, singer and guitarist. In addition to the Whistle Punks, the McAllisters are regular contributors to the Pacific Northwest music community through live performance, studio recording, theater, and film.
New York-based Finnish Singer-songwriter Eeppi Ursin is a platinum-selling singer; songwriter, and pianist with a versitle career.
Eeppi has performed all over the world, with acclaimed artists such as American trumpeter Leroy Jones and Spirit of New Orleans. She has taken the stage at the Shanghai Concert Hall, Helinski Music Centre, Pori Jazz Festival and more.
She was invited in 2018 by the New York Songwriter’s Circle as the first Finnish artist at The Bitter End in New York City. In 2014, Eeppi was chosen as the soloist at the President’s Independence Day Reception in Finland.
“Killer voice, amazing piano and wonderful lyrics.” – New York Songwriter’s Circle.
For more information about Eeppi: www.eeppiursin.com
We will also be featuring Dale Bradley, a renowned celloist from Springfield, Oregon. Dale was a University of Oregon Music graduate and a longtime member of the Eugene Symphony and the Oregon Mozart Players. Dale’s compositions and arrangements have been played in all kinds of venues on the west coast, from retirement centers to the LA Philharmonic. Dale directs the Springfield Youth Orchestra as well as teaches cello, bass and guitar in his own private studio. He will be sharing music from Jean Sibelius and other Finnish composers.