I asked 3 musical friends the following and I share the answer I received from one of the friends: I was thrilled to get my 'Finnish Fix' at FinnFest 2008…


I asked 3 musical friends the following and I share the answer I received from one of the friends:

I was thrilled to get my 'Finnish Fix' at FinnFest 2008 again, seeing you folks and the music and the dancing and all the kanteles and a couple jouhikkos.

I somehow missed any events which included the birch bark flute. I have been active in a local recorder group which plays a lot of old renaissance music, etc. plus demos of the variety of sizes and sounds for kids in school.

I figured one of you would have insight into my questions... Is the Finnish version of the birch bark flute a whistle type instrument like the recorder, or does the player hold it and blow over a hole, as with the metal flute we see in orchestras?

Answer I received from the man, a good musician on several instruments and a well known tango instructor. He was one of only a few people in the USA who could give me jouhikko lessons last year:

I have a tuohi huilu that was given to me by a Dima of the Myllarit 7 yrs ago. I believe it is like a recorder to play . Cant seem to find anything on the internet as to pix or how to order.

I would appreciate any help I could get to find out how to get the instrument (birch bark flute?). I play with a recorder group. We go to schools and give programs for 8-9 year old students who are learning to play the recorder. We like to introduce different kinds of recorders and folk instruments.


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As the musician you asked said, the Finnish birchbark flute is a recorder, or a fipple flute, not a transverse (cross, German) flute.

Here you can see a very good picture of a birchbark flute: http://www.laulumies.com/laulelma_ala4.html (scroll down, the right picture is third down). Rauno Nieminen has made the birchbark flute in the picture. He has a small company where he builds acoustic instruments. Here are his contact information: http://raunonieminen.com/sivusto/index.php?sivu=yhtied (his net pages are, unfortunately, only in Finnish, but no doubt you can e-mail in English)(in his e-mail address "etunimi.sukunimi" means "first name.last name", that is, you put rauno in the place of "etunimi" and nieminen in the place of "sukunimi").

Juniper Lynn Hill has written a dissertation on Finnish folk music for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the University of California: From Ancient to Avant-Garde to Global: Creative Processes and Institutionalization in Finnish Contemporary Folk music (http://juniperlynnhill.net/JuniperHill_Dissertation.pdf ). On page 237 (printed document) or 212 (pdf page) she deals with tuohihuilu, or birchbark flute. The next occurrence of the word tuohihuilu is on page 247/272.

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