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Annual Vappu Spring Festival May Day Celebration
The Finnish Hall
Berkeley, CA
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Annual Vappu Spring Festival May Day Celebration
Matinee Concert Saturday May 2, 4-6pm
Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble perform The Otherworld Cycle a new music odyssey inspired by Finnish Mythology.

Buffet Dinner/Dance Saturday May 2, 7-10pm
Kaleva All Stars featuring Heikki Koskinen, and vocalist Kati Pienimäki Schenke

OR, get the Festival Pass Saturday May 2, 4-10pm
Includes the Matinee Concert, Buffet Dinner and Dancing


The Finnish Kaleva Hall and Kaleva Lodge #21 will present the annual Vappu Spring Festival, a full day and night of performance, dancing, food, silent auction, and fun for all ages celebrating the richness of community and culture.  The festivities will begin with a matinee concert by Bay Area saxophonist and composer Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble performing The Otherworld Cycle, a culmination of over 14 years of research into intersection between modern composition, improvisation, and Finnish traditions in music. The evening program presents Kaleva All Stars, led by international musician Heikki Koskinen, for an evening celebration of dinner and dancing. All throughout the day and evening a silent auction will be held benefiting the Hall's film program, and the Helsinki Café will be open downstairs for social gathering.

Vappu or May Day is an annual celebration with International roots, in many countries. It is a public holiday the people of Finland celebrate to usher in the spring as well as international worker's day. The name of the celebration comes from the German "Walpurgis day", and is celebrated in many other countries under a variety of names; Walpurgisnacht in German, Valborgsmässoafton in Swedish, "Vappen" in Finland Swedish, Vappu in Finnish, Volbriöö, (Walpurgi öö) in Estonian, Valpurgijos naktis in Lithuanian, Valpurģu nakts or Valpurģi in Latvian, čarodějnice and Valpuržina noc in Czech.  In Finland vappu is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus).  Vappu has been traditionally workers' and students' holiday, but nowadays it belongs to everybody, with its carnival like atmosphere featuring sima (drink), tippaleipä (pastry) and cheerful partying.   Vappu celebrations in many places in Finland begin early at sunrise welcoming Vappu with traditional choral singing.

About the Music
The Otherworld Cycle performed by the Life's Blood Ensemble was written by saxophonist and producer Rent Romus. The ensemble features bassists Jason Hoopes and Scott Walton; and drummer/percussionist Timothy Orr, as well as Rent Romus, saxophones, kantele, flutes, bells; and is expanded to include some of the Bay Area's top improvisers: Ron Heglin and Bob Marsh voice; Markus Hunt (and former Life's Blood member) on bass; Heikki Koskinen, recorder, E-trumpet, kantele; Suki O'Kane and Mark Pino, percussion; Mika Pontecorvo, flutes; and Shanna Sordahl, cello.
The Otherworld Cycle is built on fourteen years of research into the rich music and culture of Finland and the surrounding regions that hold a long and mystic history as well as stories from the Kalevala dating back to the end of the last ice age.  As a third generation Finnish American Romus has spent the last fourteen years delving deep into his roots piecing together stories from his family, photos of family members, and researching the depths of Finnish cultural history land of his grandmothers. The Otherworld thematic abstractly reference the Finno-Ugric "Body of Memory" embedded in Romus' musical psyche refracted through the multi-faceted lens of improvisation and postmodern jazz.

Kaleva All Stars is a Bay Area Finnish-American music group consisting of musicians whose backgrounds cover music from Finnish popular music to jazz and classical.  Their repertoire consists of Finnish music from humppas, waltzes, jenkkas and tangos to contemporary rock, pop & latin, as well as new interpretations of traditional Finnish songs. They have performed all over the Bay Area since 2000.  Leader of the group Heikki "Mike" Koskinen is a recording artist, composer, and educator currently living in San Francisco. Koskinen was chosen in "Rytmi" magazine critics polls as Finland's top jazz trumpet player in the 1970's. His main instruments these days are piano, the Morrison Digital Trumpet as well as the tenor recorder. Besides performing, he teaches music in the Bay Area, writes music for media and groups of all sizes. The group was recently featured at FinnFest 2011 in San Diego.

Support Organizations:
Berkeley's Finnish Kaleva Hall was built in 1932 by local immigrant families. It is still home to Finnish Kaleva Lodge #21, Kalevas Ski Club, and is also used by local artists and community groups. Spaces are available to rent for classes, rehearsals, events, lectures, and more. Kaleva Lodge 21 has hosted many Finnish and Finnish-American performance groups, and put on dramatized readings of Finnish stage plays in English translation, arts shows and poetry readings. It has also coordinated voting in Finnish National Elections and registering expatriates.  Current mainstay programs of the Lodge include the Bay Area's Finnish Independence Day Celebration in December and the annual May Day (Vappu) celebrations.

Administrative support is provided by Outsound Presents, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the presentation of original works of experimental music and sound art, and to raising public awareness of new music as an alternative to both traditional and market-driven music.

Discussion

Location

The Finnish Hall (View)
1970 Chestnut Street
Berkeley, CA 94804
United States

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Categories

Music > All Ages
Music > Festivals
Music > Folk
Music > Jazz
Music > World

Kid Friendly: Yes!

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