Home News & Events Digital Residency to connect the Midwest with Finland

Digital Residency to connect the Midwest with Finland

This March, innovative Finnish folk ensemble Kardemimmit will spend a week virtually visiting the Midwest as part of Arts Midwest Folkefest. This unique digital residency is presented in partnership with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center in central Minnesota, which was selected to participate in the program before touring was derailed by COVID-19.

Kardemimmit from Finland. Photo by Jimmy Träskelin

Arts Midwest Folkefest presents music ensembles from Finland and Sweden in Midwestern areas with ties to Scandinavian heritage, with the goal of creating opportunities for cultural exchanges in these communities.

“We’re excited to safely continue the work of Folkefest with our partners in New York Mills despite the challenges of the pandemic,” says Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “Through a variety of digital engagements and educational opportunities, community members will have the chance to connect to Finnish music and culture in a deep and engaged way.”

Explore Finnish Music and Culture with Kardemimmit

Kardemimmit is a band of four young women who play a rare gem: the Finnish national instrument kantele, an ancient stringed instrument with a silvery sound. While playing 15- and 38-string kanteles, Kardemimmit sing mesmerizing harmonies in original compositions that blend a modern approach with a deep foundation in Finnish, Eastern European, and Scandinavian traditions.

You’re invited to learn about and experience Finnish culture through two videos featuring the band.

Kardemimmit Off the Stage Take a look into the lives of each member of Kardemimmit as they take us with them on a day in their lives, from the capital city of Helsinki to the countryside of Alahärmä. Learn more about Finnish traditions as the ensemble members go skiing, visit a sauna, and travel by kick sled around their neighborhood.
Click here to watch an audio-described version of this video


Kardemimmit Workshop Learn from Kardemimmit about the national instrument of Finland, the kantele, and how they mix traditional folk music with modern melodies. Take a special look inside their music as the ensemble members explain the meaning behind their lyrics and the stories they tell.
Click here to watch an audio-described version of this video

Don’t Miss Kardemimmit’s Live Concert!

 Promo Shot, Kardememmit

Tuesday, March 16 at 7:00pm CT

Join us and explore Finnish folk music with Kardemimmit in a special live concert. This concert is being held in celebration of St. Urho’s Day and to kick off Kardemimmit’s weeklong digital residency with the Cultural Center in New York Mills

Watch on Facebook Watch on YouTube

Go Deeper

We’ve created special curriculum materials to help educators and parents use the videos in classrooms and beyond.

Finnish Country & Culture This 2-page curriculum guide will give you an overview of Finland’s history, geography, climate, people, culture, food, and more.
Kardemimmit Ensemble & Music This 2-page curriculum guide introduces Kardemimmit and covers some of the history and form of Finnish music and instruments.
Discussion Questions Use these 14 questions based on the video series to start interesting discussions about culture, identity, history, and more.
Activity Guide Try Finnish activities inspired by the videos from dancing to music to physical activities and art. Ideal for elementary and middle schoolers, but there’s something for all ages!


Learn more about Folkefest


Folkefest Online and Kardemimmit’s digital residency are presented in partnership with the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center. The 2021 Folkefest program is produced by Arts Midwest with generous support from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and in partnership with Minnesota State Arts Board.