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…

Posted
17.8.2008

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.

Answer

Answered
21.8.2008
Last updated
21.8.2008

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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