The World Village Festival is due to take over Helsinki’s city centre in May, and this year’s theme is human rights in East and South-East Asia, promoting tolerance, multiculturalism and other issues of global importance. Founded in 1995, the festival has become the largest multicultural festival in Finland, attracting around 100,000 visitors in 2012, along with performers from both Finland and around the world.

HANG on to your trumpets and get ready for yet another explosive celebration of jazz this March, as one of Finland’s oldest international jazz festivals, Turku Jazz, glides into its 44th year. The hub of Finland’s youth culture in the late ‘60s, and during a time of strong rhythmic jazz vibes, Turku gave birth to this long standing institution that has had jazz artists and enthusiasts gathering from all over the world ever since, and from here has seen the formation of the Turku Jazz Society in 1970. Ever growing in prestige and stature, the festival has witnessed many stylistic changes and developments within its music genre, and promises yet another trendy and eclectic offering in 2013.

HAVING promoted the enjoyment of ethnically diverse music in Helsinki since 1988, Etnosoi! is celebrating its 25th jubilee this year from 6 to 24 November. Organised since 1989 by the Global Music Centre, the festival continues to shine a light on a variety of cultures on the Finnish stage that might not otherwise be left unexplored and unexposed here.

Focusing on Helsinki, yet offering some events also in Tampere, Etnosoi! offers its audience the opportunity to travel around the globe, sampling a variety of breathtaking sights and sounds from places such as India, Iran, Crete and Tuva.

TURKU-based indie pop band Cats on Fire has enjoyed a growing following in Finland and overseas alike. The band was established in 2001 and has since released a bunch of EP’s and two records, The Province Complains and Our Temprance Movement. A few months back Cats on Fire released a compilation Dealing in Antiques with a mix of songs from way back and a few pleasantly surprising new tracks. This summer the four strong band spreads its wings and tours across the seas with, unfortunately for us, no gigs to their name in Finland. SixDegrees caught up with Mattias Björkas, the band’s lead singer, on the eve of the big tour.

FINNISH singer-songwriter Maija Vilkkumaa is one of the most established Finnish artists around. She has been a constant favourite among Finns for more than ten years and has just confirmed her status with her sixth album Kunnes joet muuttaa suuntaa already enjoying gold sales after its first week on release.

What is the secret behind your success?

I don’t actually think about “success” – that would drive me insane! I make the kind of music that I like. Writing songs is not that hard, but surviving with my own thoughts sometimes is. I don’t like to let myself get away with things, but on the other hand, one can’t be too hard on herself. I move forward with intuition and passion!

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