OHTO – installation opening at May 15th in Hunting Museum of Finland

Tuomas Rounakari is an internationally acclaimed violinist, composer and an ethnomusicologist from Finland. Currently rocking the world with his fiddle in the phenomenal folk-metal band Korpiklaani with close to a hundred live shows per year globally. Tuomas Rounakari is often refered as a shaman violinist after his solo performance entitled Shamanviolin that is still going strong.

The Shamanviolin performance was born in reaction to his studies on archived Siberian shamanic songs. These songs had an immense affect to his personality. Through studying these songs he found both an explanation and a conscious way back to the trance state experiences in his early childhood. (You can read the story in his own words here)

Tuomas Rounakari is a founding member and a music director of a theatre group Ruska Ensemble, with an agenda to promote collaboration between first nations across the arctic areas. Ruska Ensemble has collaborated with Finnish National Theatre (Helsinki), Ob-Ugrian National Theatre (Khanty-Mansijsk), The Sámi National Theatre Beaivvaś (Koutakeino) and the National Theatre of Greenland (Nuuk).

Rounakari has also done field work among the Khanty people in Siberia as an ethnomusiclogist. One outcome of these fieldtrips is a Bear Feast performance that combines ritual, music, theatre and dance in a four hour event. Rounakari’s version of the Bear Feast evokes the mythical bear living inside of us today. The performance is based on shared mythology between the Finns, Khanty, Mansy and Sámi people combining ancient poetry and modern poems from Jüri Wella and Scott. M. Nomaday.

One of his most recent projects is a spin off band from the Bear Feast performance entitled Ohtoni with Pekko Käppi, Antti Paalanen and Karoliina Kantelinen.

A key to understanding Tuomas Rounakari’s artistic world is an emphasize on dialoque in multiple levels. Dialoque between cultures, dialoque between ancient, present and future, dialoque with mythical entities and dialoque between man and nature. This emphasize in dialoque is both respecting ancient traditions and creating something new and unique. Traditions remain vital when they are both preserved and challenged at the same time. This approach has led Rounakari to revitalize several traditions from near extinction.

Over the course of twenty years, Tuomas Rounakari has taught over a thousand people to create personal lament songs using the principles of ancient Carelian laments, that became nearly extinct after the Second World War. In these laments, also known as the songs of rites of passage, Rounakari found a musical tool that resembled eurasian shamanic songs but belongs to his own finnish-carelian heritage. Together with Pirkko Fihlman, Rounakari created a method of teaching laments that practically revitalized the genre. Today he is consulting the lament revival starting in Ireland with the first seminar and workshop on keening already held at the University College of Cork, Ireland in 2017.

Presently, Rounakari is finishing his PhD in the artistic research program at Sibelius-Academy, Finland, focusing on the techniques of dialoque with mythical entities in the music of arctic indigenous and finno-ugric peoples.


Shamanviolin Album available at CDBaby and KORPIKLAANI WEBSTORE


Join the email list here!