The State Prize for Music awarded to accordion artist Maria Kalaniemi

Press release 29.11.2019


The state prize for Music was awarded to Maria Kalaniemi by the National Council for Music of The Arts Promotion Centre Finland. The ceremony was at the 50 years anniversary of art councils 27.11.2018.

”This prize is a wonderful end for my year. I’m extremely thankful for this honour. I have been heard and seen. It feels delightful that the work I have done as a musician and a pedagogue is appreciated. It’s inspiring to continue the journey forward”, commented Maria Kalaniemi.

In the arguments were mentioned that Maria Kalaniemi has created her own recognisable style in playing accordion. Her style is a combination of sensitivity and power. She has widened the role of the accordion in folk music. Her music is inspired by runo singing and Finnish Swede tradition. She has also educated new musician generations and performed world widely.

Maria Kalaniemi has developed her own personal style of playing the free-bass button accordion usually used only in classical music. She calls her style as runo (poet) playing. By combining the runo playing with her own voice, Kalaniemi can strengthen the sound scape and feeling in the music. Her style of expression is also called as accordion fado.

In the Spring of 2018, Maria Kalaniemi was nominated as a member of Royal Swedish Academy of Music as the first Finnish musician in folk music genre. She is the artistic director of JuuriJuhla Folk Music Festival, arranged in Espoo, Kalaniemi’s home town.

Maria Kalaniemi will be heard performing in Finland on the Christmas tour with singer Johanna Iivanainen, guitarist Mikko Iivanainen and pianist Timo Alakotila 5.12.-19.12.2018. She will tour Japan in February 2019 with photographer, video artist Elina Brotherus. In the Autumn, Kalaniemi will perform in Germany with harmonium artist Eero Grundström. She is also composing new music to the upcoming album.

Some latest examples of Maria Kalaniemi’s artistic work:
Seimiyö – Christmas album (2018) 
Desiree Saarela & Maria Kalaniemi: MoD (2018)
Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström, Svalan (Åkerö Records 2017)
Maria Kalaniemi, Elina Brotherus & Eero Grundström: Tango trousers (2015)
Maria Kalaniemi & Timo Alakotila: Åkerö (Åkerö Records 2011)
Maria Kalaniemi, Eero Grundström & Olli Varis: Vilda Rosor (Aito Records 2010)
Bellow Poetry (Aito Records 2005).

The albums Vilda Rosor, Åkerö and Svalan have raised on the top places on the list of World Music Charts Europe.

Kalaniemi has toured as a solist and a member of the group also internationally widely inter alia in Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, China and Taiwan:
Niekku 1983–1992
Värttinä 1990–91
Rollo Dance Theatre 1991–1992
Maria Kalaniemi & Aldargaz 1995
Anna-Kaisa Liedes band 1992–1998
Accordion Tribe from the year 1996
Maria Kalaniemi & Sven Ahlbäck from the year 1992
Ilmajousi-Luftsträk trio; Sven Ahlbäck, Johan Hedin, Maria Kalaniemi
Maria Kalaniemi trio; Timo Alakotila, Olli Varis, Maria Kalaniemi from the year 2000
Maria Kalaniemi & Olli Varis duo Bellow Poetry from the year 2005
Maria Kalaniemi & Vilda Rosor from the year 2010

Currently Kalaniemi performs in a quartet with Johanna Iivanainen, Mikko Iivanainen and Timo Alakotila, in a duo with Eero Grundström, Desiree Saarela and Marianne Maans.


Maria Kalaniemi | maria.kalaniemi[at] |

More information:
Minna-Mari Roms | +358 50 413 5013 | minna.roms[at] |















                                                         Photo: Jimmy Träskelin

Posted on December 17, 2018 .