Russian folk ensemble to perform at Bates

The Karelian folk band Sattuma, on tour from the province of Russia that borders Finland, comes to Bates College to perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Organized by the Lewiston Public Library’s Board of Friends, the concert is co-sponsored by the Bates International Club and the college’s Russian program, with grant assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Admission is $5, with a reduced price of $3 for children, students and senior citizens.

A family quartet, Sattuma consists of Arto Rinne and his 13-year-old daughter Eila, and Dima Demin and his 10-year-old son Vlad. These multitalented musicians perform traditional dance melodies and songs of Russia and Finland on fiddles, accordion, clarinet, flutes, jaw harp, harmonica, bagpipes and traditional Finnish instruments known as the “kantele” and “jouikko.”

Sattuma hails from Karelia, a region of Russia that retains a strong Finnish heritage, much like the French Canadian influence in New England. In fact, the adult members of Sattuma express a sense of kinship with Maine’s Franco-Americans for their efforts to preserve and revitalize their cultural traditions.

The quartet’s repertoire includes Finnish polkas, Russian waltzes, Karelian folk songs and even an occasional Celtic melody. The group’s name comes from a Finnish word meaning both “happenstance” and “to hit the mark.” Both nuances are appropriate, says Arto Rinne, since the four started playing together just for fun but soon found that there was a multigenerational demand for their music.

In addition to their concert at Bates, Sattuma will perform for schoolchildren in Mechanic Falls and residents at Montello Heights Retirement Community in Lewiston.

Sattuma is touring New England under the auspices of Project Harmony, a Vermont-based organization that facilitates cross-cultural experiential learning. More information and advance reservations for the Bates concert are available by calling 207-782-0386.

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