Oulu2026 Cultural Personality: Folk Music Band Rällä


Our cultural personality of the week is not just one personality this time, but three personalities – the folk music band Rällä from Oulu spreads joy with their music, with Osmo Hakosalo and Erja Pätsi playing the violin and Anne-Mari Kanniainen playing the accordion.

The band describes their music as traditional but definitely not boring:

“The most important things for us about playing are having fun together, the communication between ourselves, variety, spontaneity, a good groove and the joy of playing!”


Rällä, how does life look like and feel now during these exceptional times?

“It has been quite nice and stable. We have missed jamming and collaborative playing though. Now we are starting to be already quite hopeful, kind of like children before Christmas.”


How does Oulu look like through your eyes right now?

“Right now, Oulu looks like the bright city of the north, as its name suggests, so it’s wonderfully bright. In general Oulu appears as an active and diverse city.”


Oulu, together with 32 other municipalities, is bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture (ECoC). Why would northern Finland be suitable to win the race?

“This is such a good and interesting location. Often all the big and interesting national things take place in the south, so this would be a good moment to choose the Oulu region. Internationally this is certainly an interesting and exotic location and it’s easy to come here from anywhere in Europe. There are a lot of talented, originally creative and persistent people here who could certainly bring forth an amazing cultural capital year in 2026.”


What does our leading theme, cultural climate change, mean to you?

“Maybe it means to us that the cultural climate and art (in our case music) is changing more and more from performing arts towards increased communality and participation. We want that at our gigs people can dance and participate, and in this way acquire strong and empowering communal experiences, and we can tell, teach and be inspired by our great Northern Ostrobothnian tradition.

We hope that we can change the one-sided and even boring image that many people have of folk music to an interesting and musically rich living tradition. Thirdly, we hope that the year 2026 would bring about permanent changes to the cultural life of our city and region and that a good and active spirit would remain for a long time.”


Send your regards to the Oulu of 2026, when we are the European Capital of Culture

“Folk musicians would possibly say that go Oulu – now give it your all!”


Image: Heini Hakosalo

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