The 40-Year-Old Ylistaron Kaukolankylän jazzkerho Enriches the Cultural Scene of South Ostrobothnia

Valtteri Pokela

Currently operating under the Jazzoikoon! brand, the Ylistaron Kaukolankylän jazzkerho celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Since its founding, the association has played an invaluable role in enriching the cultural offerings of South Ostrobothnia. The founding member and key activist of the association, Marita Nyrhinen, was awarded the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Varjo-Yrjö recognition in 2023 for her significant work in promoting Finnish jazz culture.

The Ylistaron Kaukolankylän jazzkerho was founded on January 29, 1984, after considerable deliberation. “The idea for the founding arose when it seemed there were many jazz enthusiasts both from Ylistaro and those who had stayed in the area. The existing jazz associations in the region were not active enough,” recalls founding member and current chairperson Marita Nyrhinen.

The association was founded by 11 jazz fans, including (from left to right) Erkki Hautala, Kari Loukola, Seija Kyrönlahti, Marita Nyrhinen, Marjo Nyrhinen, and Seppo Luiskari, who became the first chairperson of the association. Photo: Jussi Asu

The purpose of the Ylistaron Kaukolankylän jazzkerho is to maintain and promote the hobby of jazz in its region. This has been achieved by organising concerts, film screenings, and lectures. The idea is also to complement the cultural offerings of South Ostrobothnia by bringing jazz music alongside rock, schlager, and tango, a role in which the association has been indispensable.

Initially, the jazz association’s events were held at the Taro restaurant in Ylistaro and later at various locations in Seinäjoki. The club had two established events for a long time: the Christmas Jazz Meeting and Kalliojärvi Jazz & Blues. Particularly the Kalliojärvi Jazz & Blues event, that was organised from 1996 to 2014, grew not only into the flagship of the association but also into a significant regional cultural event, attracting audiences beyond municipal and regional borders.

Tupa on täynnä yleisöä Kalliojärvi Jazz & Blues -tapahtumassa.

The Kalliojärvi Jazz & Blues, which drew a full house of spectators, was held 17 times. Photo: Jorma Välimäki

The Jazzoikoon! brand was created in 2015 to give the association’s activities a fresh look and new momentum. Jazzoikoon! produces not only concerts in public spaces but also intimate home concerts where guests enjoy good food along with music. “Guests are encouraged to bring a small, surprising taste for everyone; this creates an intimate and pleasant atmosphere, making it easy and rewarding to get to know each other,” says Nyrhinen.

Ylistaron Kaukolankylän jazzkerho’s events have featured both local musicians, such as the association’s founding members Esa Perälä, Jussi Asu, and Seppo Luiskari, as well as a vast number of top-tier jazz musicians from all over Finland. International artists have also been brought to South Ostrobothnia from countries such as Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the United States.

The artistic direction of the association has ranged from blues and traditional jazz to free improvisation. However, the association primarily showcases more marginal new jazz that no one else in the area offers. “This is important to broaden the mental atmosphere here. Experimental, creative art is meaningful because it explores the unknown. Over time, its discoveries enrich the mainstream,” states Nyrhinen.

The Finnish Jazz Federation congratulates the 40-year-old Ylistaron Kaukolankylän jazzkerho and wishes the association a successful anniversary year!

Jazzoikoon! / Program for the rest of the year

Sat 25.5. at 18.00 Mathias Sandberg Trio, Kalevan Navetta Cultural Center
Tue 23.7. at 18.00 Suzanne (FR), home concert in a private garden and indoors if it rains

Sat 28.9. 40th Anniversary Concert of the Association, Kalevan Navetta Cultural Center:
16.00 Signe
17.15 Pauli Lyytinen Solo
19.00 Jacky Molard & François Corneloup Quartet – Entre Les Terres (FR)

Sat 19.10. at 19.00 Esa Pietilä solo and Ultima Thule, Kalevan Navetta Cultural Center
Sat 23.11. at 19.00 David Chevallier & Anett Tamm BORDERS (EST/FR), Kalevan Navetta Cultural Center

On the cover photo, from left to right: violinist Dominique Pifarély, Suoku Siren, Marita Nyrhinen, and Charles Gil (Vapaat äänet). Pifarély played the first Jazzoikoon! concert in Seinäjoki in 2015, organized in collaboration with the Vapaat äänet agency. Photo: Marita Nyrhinen