Merikanto Romance of Life


The concert is a combination of visual arts and music. Moving around with theme "The Fantasy of Life" forms an integrated entirety of this cultural performance. The episodes of the concert are Memories, Light of Life and Homecoming. The music is composed by Oskar Merikanto and the visual art comes from abstract artworks of Kari Merikanto. Kari Merikanto and Liisa Karhu have assembled a performance, which combines the arts together and introduces both Merikantos from the fresh point of view.

The members of The Merikanto-quartet are Kari Merikanto (visual arts), Liisa Karhu (violin, viola, 5-string Finnish zither), Kari Lauronen (guitar, bass and vocals) and Kimmo Puunenä (piano).

Kari Merikanto is a visual artist and comes from Seinäjoki, Finland. Liisa Karhu is a violin player and comes from Joensuu, Finland. Kimmo Puunenä plays keyboards, works as a cantor and comes from Lahti, Finland. Kari Lauronen plays guitars, is a music teacher and comes from Kitee, Finland.

Introduction of the performers:

Kari Merikanto

Kari Merikanto was born in Tampere, Finland. Now he is a visual artist and lives in Seinäjoki. He has been working with metals. He has made bas reliefs from stainless steel. At first his art mainly based on realism but soon the artworks started to change towards abstract expression. Nowadays his artworks are directed towards abstract expressionism. You can find Kari Merikanto´s artwork "The Stream of Life" from the label of the bottle of sparkling wine, published to celebrate the 100th year of independency of Finland. You can also find his art exhibitions from Helsinki, Tampere, Kauhava and Alajärvi.

Liisa Karhu

Liisa Karhu was graduated to music pedagog master´s degree from Metropolia 2009, Helsinki. In addition she has achieved the pedagog of music master´s degree in viola, extra studies for teaching violin, studies for teaching violin, specialised music studies in early childhood education and studies of director of word art. In January 2018 she started the studies to become a Suzuki violin teacher in Helsinki and in the autumn she started the studies in Jyväskylä to become a society musician.

Her full-time job is in Conservatoire of Joensuu and part-time job in the adult education centre of Joensuu. During 2014-2017 she worked as a planner of education in the adult education centre of Joensuu. During 2011-2014 she worked as a teacher and as a vice headmaster in Music School of Pielisen Karjala. During 2008-2011 she worked as a lecturer of violin in Music School of Kankaanpää. Earlier she worked as a violin teacher in North Carelia and Kainuu.

Liisa Karhu plays in different kinds of instrumental and chamber music bands as a free-lancer. From duos to orchestras she plays classical, light, folk and children´s music. She performs as an accompanist for various artists as well. She has been performing in the USA, in Spain, in Russia, in Singapore, in Europe and in Nordic countries. She composes, makes arrangements and lyrics. The fund of Finnish Culture of Satakunta gave her a scholarship for music book "Gone with the Violins" in 2009. Her opera for children "Hiiri Hirmuinen" in 2010 and multiartistic material "Lorujuna" in 2018 were given a scholarship by a bookfoundation of Otava. She has played in concerts with Saija Tuupanen, Heidi Pakarinen and Teuvo Oinas. They all are famous Finnish artists. She has performed in "Tauno and Ansa"-musictheatre with Tommi Soidinmäki and Eeva Saarenpää. She played violin in the album of Kotiteollisuus and in the concert where the album "Kotiteollisuus" was published. In the tour of "Joulumieltä jokaiselle" she performed as a principal of violins accompanying famous Finnish singers such as Danny, Johanna Rusanen-Kartano, Arja Koriseva, Laura Pyrrö, and Jukka Kuoppamäki. She has performed many times in concerts with pianist Juse Venäläinen, pianist Henna Hirvikangas and accordionist Timo Hacklin.

Kimmo Puunenä

Kimmo Puunenä works as a freelance musician, a freelance cantor and as a freelance teacher. As a cantor he has worked in the union of parishes of Lammi, Pukkila, Orimattila, Myrskylä, Hollola and Lahti. He has worked as a cantor of "Sateenkaarimessut" in the parish of Kallio. He was graduated to a cantor lower degree from conservatoire of Oulu in 1995. The main subject was the church organ. He graduated to piano musician second degree from conservatoire of Lahti in 2015. Kimmo Puunenä works as an artistic director in many choirs. "The choir of Kirvun Lauluseura", "The Choir of Lahden Seudun Varhaiseläkeläiset" and "The Male Choir of Orimattila are directed by Kimmo.

Kari Lauronen

Kari Lauronen is a music teacher from Kitee. He was graduated to music teacher from the University of Joensuu in 1982. He has studied musicology as a secondary subject.

He has worked as a music teacher in Tuupovaara, Ilomantsi and in Kitee. Nowadays he teaches music in two schools in Kitee, Hutsi and Puhos. In addition to regular lessons he teaches children how to play the drums, the piano, guitar, bass and how to sing. He has taught many bands in several band camps. He has kept many classes in music shops. He has worked as a music teacher in the adult education centre on Vaara-Karjala and Kitee. He has played in many rock and pop bands as a freelancer. He has done many recordings.

Kari Lauronen works on his own music studio in Kitee, too. In addition to the work of freelance musician, he arranges music, he composes music, he makes lyrics and does everything from the first scratch to final mixdown. He plans and arranges reinforcement systems for the concerts and takes care of mixing. He plans acoustical structures and environments.

His main instruments are guitar and bass. He sings lead and backing vocals, plays the piano and the drums, too. He has performed in Russia and in numerous places in Finland.