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Carl Rahkonen

”The Finnish-American Musical Journey”

Lecturer of the Year 2010-11

Ethnomusicologist Carl Rahkonen was selected the fourth LOY. An ethnomusicologist specializes in folk music traditions, and from his first trip to Finland, at age five, Carl remembered his grandfather playing Finnish folk music on his fiddle and harmonica. The kantele also came to fascinate him, and eventually he spent two years in Finland researching kantele traditions for his doctorate degree in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. 

Best of all, Rahkonen was given his grandfather’s fiddle in 1994; it had been made by his great-grandfather. This prized family fiddle became his way to explore the magic of old Finnish tunes. Since the mid-1990s he expanded his interest to Finnish-American music and attended festivals to meet Finnish-American musicians and deepen his understanding of their music as a distinctive folk tradition.  As the fourth LOY Carl Rahkonen presented the story of Finnish-American music on the national stage. He captivated audiences with his ability to discuss and demonstrate, lecture, and play instruments. 

Jon L. Saari, LOY Coordinator