photo by Sakari Puhakka
"Heikki Laitinen, born in Raudaskylä at Ylivieska Finland in 1943, is a surprisingly diverse actor in the fields of Finnish folk music, art and culture. He is a PhD and an emeritus professor of ethnomusicology at the Sibelius Academy. In addition, he is a heritage and music researcher, a performer of many talents, a musician, performance artist, composer, poet and pedagogue. Laitinen’s work is always characterised by a deep passion for discovering and applying new information. As a researcher, he generally finds his subjects in the past, in history. As an artist, he is a modernist and a renewer, even if his performances are inspired by heritage and the folk culture of previous generations.
As a researcher, Heikki Laitinen has for five decades foregrounded themes that have later on become central to the replanting of tradition. Laitinen has carried out research, e.g., on the kantele and other folk instruments, on verse song and the earliest examples of folk songs, as well as polska and the early phases of troubadour music. As an artist, he is equally likely to draw inspiration from old körtti hymns, verse songs or early printed songs as from modern vocal inspiration or wild performances. Research and art have for Laitinen always been intimately connected, and consequently the scholar musician / music-making scholar school spearheaded by him has had a key role in forging a place for Finnish art research both in Finland and abroad."
- excerpt from Kalevala Society