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Finnish-American duo returns to U.P. with special guest

July 7, 2012
By RENEE PRUSI - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The Finnish-American duo Kaivama spent a good portion of 2011 touring North America - including the Upper Peninsula - in support of their self-titled debut CD.

Next week, Kaivama returns to the U.P. in support of their second disc, but this CD has a twist. It's a trio project with Arto Jarvela, who is considered Finland's greatest fiddler.

Kaivama is Jonathan Rundman and Sara Pajunen, two young musical artists of Finnish-American heritage.

Article Photos

Kaivama — Sara Pajunen, center, and Jonathan Rundman, right — returns to the Upper Peninsula in support of their second CD. It’s a trio project for the two young musical artists of Finnish-American heritage with Arto Jarvela, left, considered Finland’s greatest fiddler. They’ll play several shows around the U.P.

Pajunen grew up in Hibbing, Minn., and Rundman in Ishpeming, both mining towns which inspired the choice of the band's name: Kaivama stems from kaivaa, which means to delve or dig.

The music Kaivama plays is described as "adventurous contemporary Finnish folk." The pair took this music to Boston, New York City, Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Diego, Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2011 as well as to L'Anse and Negaunee.

Both are stoked for the return to the Yoop.

Fact Box

The Schedule:

Kaivama's Upper Peninsula Tour:

Thursday, July 12

7 p.m. L'Anse Waterfront Park Band Shell


Friday, July 13

Ontonagon Theater

311 S. Steel St.



Sunday, July 15

Vista Theater

218 Iron St., Negaunee



Monday, July 16

Algomah Acres Honey Farm

611 Plank Road, Greenland



"After I graduated from Westwood High School, I moved away from the Upper Peninsula, so I always appreciate a chance to return here and enjoy all my favorite sights and tastes," Rundman said. "I always try to get out to my grandpa's camp for sauna and swim in the lake when I'm in the area, and there is a list of restaurants that I like to visit.

"I also enjoy climbing the bluffs in Ishpeming and exploring near the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum."

Pajunen said, "It's a great pleasure to perform in the U.P. The nature is gorgeous, the audiences are receptive - a lot of Finns - and the pace is relaxed.

"The highlights for me include Little Presque Isle, pasty shops and seeing where Jonathan grew up."

Rundman said they had a blast touring in 2011 and are thrilled to have worked with Jarvela, first in some tour stops and then on the album.

"Back in March we toured the Midwest with Finnish fiddler extraordinaire Arto Jarvela," Rundman said. "On a day off in Cincinnati we went into the studio and recorded a trio album together. Then in May, Arto met us for another tour up the West Coast. We had a wonderful time, and our audiences got a sneak-peek at the new CD. Now the album is available for all.

"It was a great honor to be asked by Arto to collaborate," Rundman said. "And we were thrilled to make the album with him."

Jarvela, who just completed a European tour, was born in Hattula, Finland, in 1964.

"My dad's side comes from Kaustinen and from that side, I've got my folk music heritage. I'm fiddling in the fifth generation," Jarvela said in an email interview.

He connected with Pajunen first.

"Sara came to study with me in 2010," Jarvela said. "Last summer I was invited to attend Nisswa-Stamman (a folk festival) in Minnesota and I wanted to have a little tour around it. Then I contacted Sara since I remembered she mentioned her new duo.

"And here we are with already three tours together and a new CD in our hands."

Jarvela will be performing Sept. 16 at the Crystal Theatre in Crystal Falls, but that won't be his first visit to the U.P.

"I have been there maybe five or six times," he said. "My bands JPP and Helsinki Mandoliners have been touring there. I have visited Hancock a couple of times, also Marquette, Calumet, Wakefield, Ironwood, Crystal Falls... I am looking forward most to make music and meet new audience."

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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