Welcome to the Sata-Häme Soi
Accordion Festival in
Ikaalinen, Finland
Home Monday, June 30
2003 Ikaalinen Festival Tuesday, July 1
Welcome to Ikaalinen Wednesday, July 2
Finland at a Glance Thursday, July 3
Golden Accordion Award Friday, July 4
Meet Maria Kalaniemi Saturday, July 6
Festival Faces Sunday, July 7

David Milligan and Simon Thoumire
If you could pick a word to use after the Simon Thoumire and David Milligan Concert it had to be 'wow'. However, to come out and say 'wow' would be just a crime. To do their concert justice you would have to run down the main street of Ikaalinen and scream it at the top of your voice WOW!

If there is such a thing as "Extreme Concertina" then Simon Thoumire does it! A superb mix of traditional and new age, haunting to outrageous... Simon does it all. Then add in the excellence and musicianship of duo partner David Milligan and you have this combination that can only be described as magic!

Simon is a true virtuoso on his prized Wheatstone Concertina which was invented back in 1827. Using all his soul and fiery technical ability, he literally made it talk. Playing lush and haunting melodies with just that right amount of vibrato and shape, to the dazzling scale passages, trills and ornamentation that only a master of their craft could do, Simon pushed himself and his concertina to the limit. At one point during his one solo number, which sounded like a cross between Jimmy Shand and Sofia Gubaidalina, I wondered if the tiny concertina wouldn't just explode and disintegrate into tiny pieces right then and there?

A winner of the prestigious BBC Young Tradition Award in 1989, Simon has made numerous radio and television broadcasts including the much - acclaimed Shetland Sessions and Transatlantic Sessions and recorded several groundbreaking CDS. He has also performed at The Barbican, London for HRH Prince Charles.

Duo partner David Milligan, a Postgraduate of the City of Leeds College of Music, was as equally at home with the piano. With incredible control he encompassed the complete dynamic range. During his most extreme pianissimos I had to strain to listen, but he never lost a note. Other times, he reached into the piano to dampen the string with his hand and used the note as a percussive effect, or even strumming the strings on another work. This combination of contemporary style with the traditional Scottish music and blended with Jazz made for an exciting and unique style.

Commenting on his manual utilization of the piano stings to David afterwards, he says he makes a concentrated effort to utilize the piano to its fullest extent, so that it wasn't just concertina and piano doing the same thing all the way through. He wanted to add some color as well as the visual appeal by using all the resources available.

As a duo, they had fun playing off each others talents, often doing quite intricate duo work of runs of parallel thirds and triplets between them, big scale passages up and down their respective keyboards, or switching roles where piano played the melody with the concertina providing chordal accompaniment.

Their music consisted of many traditional folk music selections from Scotland, Ireland and the Basque region of Spain as well as original compositions by both artists in a combination of Scottish/Celtic mixed with Jazz and Blues.

At one stage Simon delighted the audience by playing the festival "T-shirt." There is a song called the "White Rose" which is a famous Wedding Waltz and happens to be on the front of this years Festival T Shirt, so Simon pulled out a music stand, put the festival shirt over it and proceeded to play it!

Simon began on bagpipes and began concertina at age of 11. He lives in the Edinburgh area and is quite heavily involved with working with and promoting young Scottish folk musicians. He has a recording company called Foot Stompin Productions' and helps these young up and coming artists get recorded. He says he really enjoys working with the youth and finds them very inspiring.

You can visit the website www.footstompin.com for info on this company and for ordering the Simon/David CD called 'The Big Day In.'

"20th Anniversary of the Golden Accordion Concert"
All of the artists for the 20th Anniversary of the Golden Accordion Concert gathering on stage at the conclusion of the concert.

Hosts for the 20th Anniversary of the Golden Accordion Award TV Show Lilja Liianpää and Kimmo Mattila welcomed the audience and Television audience who packed the Ikaalinen Hall for this special and popular concert.

Since famed Finnish Folk Artist Maria Kalaniemi won the prized Gold Accordion Award 20 years ago, this annual competition has become a feature of the annual Sata-Häme Soi - Accordion Festival. This year celebrated this anniversary, featuring several past winners as well as other special guest artists.

The new Gold Accordion Winner Janne Mäkinen from Rauma performed, as did International guest artist 19 year old Joao Frade from Portugal and Sami Hopponen from Polvijärvithe the 1997 of the Silver Accordion Award. The first winner of the award Maria Kalaniemi was unable to perform at the Anniversary Concert due to a previous engagement, however will be featured in special solo concert on Saturday night at the Uma Tupa Concert Hall.

The special 20th Anniversary concert which was sold out, was filmed for TV and is scheduled to be shown in October.

Winners of the Golden Accordion Award are:

1983 Maria Kalaniemi, Espoo
1984 Ari Myllysaari, Oulu
1985 Hannele Koivula, Espoo
1986 Jukka Lampela, Kittilä
1987 Seppo Raistakka, Raisio
1988 Jukka Huhtamella, Ivalo
1989 Tapani Tihinen, Rovaniemi
1990 Jarmo Tinkala, Riihimäki
1991 Ilpo Kärkkäinen, Kiuruvesi
1992 Jarno Kuusisto, Orimattila
1993 Tero Päivärinta, Vaajakoski, Jonna Kiviniemi, Helsinki
1994 Pasi Horttanainen, Juankoski, Kati Mattila, Pattijoki
1995 Pekka Laakso, Halikko, Marjo Suominen, Uusikaupunki
1996 Kalle Kurvinen, Kotka, Hanna-Kaisa Mäkynen, Alajärvi
1997 Juha Könönen, Joensuu, Seija Ylikärppä, Simo
1998 Jani Helenius, Kuusankoski, Sanna Sarkoranta, Kalanti
1999 Mona-Liisa Malvalehto, Reijo Kumpulainen
2000 Heidi Haapasaari
2001 Markus Luomala, Kaustinen
2002 Elias Ukkonen, Nakkila
2003 Janne Mäkinen, Rauma


Concert at Festival Park
The grounds of Festival Park were packed for popular Rock Band 'Mamba' and also the midnight return of the 'Crawfish Kings' who had festival goers hopping until 2.00 AM.

Interestingly, even at this late hour, children lined the front of the stage captivated by this bands upbeat and energetic music.

Here Cajun accordionist Jarkko Helin takes a solo on his personally hand made Cajun accordion.

Other members of the Crawfish Kings pictured above are Marko Aho on guitar, Tommi Tenkula on bass guitar and Janne Salo on drums.

Street Stalls lined the main street of Ikaalinen as thousands of people mingled and danced the night away during a perfect summer evening.

In and Around Ikaalinen
The White Rose (pictured below right) is a colorful bloom found all around Ikaalinen. The White Rose is the flower of Ikaalinen, and especially popular during the summer when in full bloom.

The White Rose is also the name of a piece of music from the Ikaalinen area and played at Finnish weddings.

This years Sata-Häme Soi - Accordion Festival T-shirt has the music to this popular piece printed on the front - pictured above.

Ikaalinen is also home to the biggest Spa resort in Scandanavia. Popular all year long, this resort attracts visitors from all over the world.

The Ikaalinen Spa is a recreation and health resort offering a widerange of activities and services. It has an attractive location just a 40-minute drive from Tampere and two and a half hours from the capital Helsinki. The spa complex offers the choice of five different hotels with altogether 380 rooms and over 1000 beds.

In the pool department you can enjoy tropical climate - 30 degrees centigrade guaranteed all year round! The facilities include saunas, a steam room, jacuzzis, warm-to-cold tubs, a 58 meter waterslide, waterfall, outdoor pool, bubbles plus numerous pools.

For those wishing some more special attention, you can enjoy things such as water massage, lymphatic massage, connective tissue massage, zone therapy, shiatsu, nerve track massage, aromaterapy, mobilising massage. Afterwards you may like to savour a pampering herbal bath - just choose from a stimulating, relieving, invigorating, relaxing or skin-conditioning soak! The Ikaalinen Spa has it all!