"Kallen Valssi" performed by Richard Koski, Michael Ludgate and Katrina Mackey


Richard Koski, Michael Ludgate and Katrina Mackey perform "Kallen Valssi" (Carl's Waltz) as part of a 2018 NYSCA Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant.


In 2018, Richard Koski received a Folk Arts Apprenticeship grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to teach mandolinist Michael Ludgate and fiddler Katrina Mackey how to play Finnish-American dance tunes. Koski is a master artist and diatonic button accordionist from Trumansburg, NY. Many of these tunes were performed at Finnish social gatherings in the Finger Lakes from the 1910s to the present. Although a Finnish cultural group called the Finger Lakes Finns exists today, there is hardly anyone left who knows the old music. These tunes are some of the approximately 100 Finnish tunes that Richard grew up hearing his father, William Koski play. Around 1970, Richard started actively playing with his dad and learning the tunes. Inspired by their Finnish heritage to learn more about traditional music and dance of Finland, Katrina and Michael formed the band Metku. As part of the apprenticeship, they transcribed all the tunes Richard taught them, creating a written record for future generations.

“Kallen Valssi” (Carl’s Waltz). When Richard asked his dad the name of the tune, he said he didn’t know its name,  but he used to hear his uncle Jake in West Danby, New York play it. For years, Richard referred to this tune alternately as “Jake’s Waltz” and “West Danby Waltz.” He eventually heard it on an old 78 rpm record listed as “Kallen Valssi”, which is how he refers to it today.

From The Artist/Community : 


Richard Koski discussing William Koski, by artscouncilofthesouthernfingerlakes

Richard discusses "Kallen Valssi", by artscouncilofthesouthernfingerlakes

Trumansburg, NY