Music and Northern Forest Cultures

  • Tina K. Ramnarine Royal Holloway, University of London
Keywords: Northern Forest Cultures, Sibelius, Kalevala, Karelian folk-rock, contemporary Finnish folk music


This article argues that it is critical to recognize the importance of northern forests in Finno-Ugric musical contexts (Finnish and Karelian) by focusing on the question of cultural survival, which is connected with thinking about global challenges, including climate change and environmental pressure. The discussion highlights cultural survival by outlining the significance of the forest, the politics of language transmission with reference to the Kalevala (the Finnish national epic), Sibelius’s nature-based aesthetic (especially in Tapiola, 1926), and the evocation of the forest in contemporary folk and popular music. Overall, the main aims are to consider the resilience of northern forest cultures in the nexus of music, language, and ecology, and to emphasize that resilience cannot be taken for granted under environmental pressure.


How to Cite
Ramnarine, T. K. (2020). Music and Northern Forest Cultures. European Journal of Musicology, 18(1), 111–127.