Presenting our musicians: Vappu Helasvuo

Muusikkohaastattelu 15-11-2018

Violist Vappu Helasvuo has been fascinated by early music since she was a child.

Vappu Helasvuo


Short introduction
Apart from playing in FiBO, I occasionally do other gigs. I also work part-time as a school assistant with e.g. the hearing-impaired and the deaf.

Tell us about yourself. How did you end up with your instrument? Who or what made you choose it?
I come from Vantaa. After a selection of dens, Madrid and Copenhagen, I now live in Helsinki about four kilometres from my childhood home. My father is a musician, and besides working as a violinist and conductor, he was fast to grab the Baroque violin when the early music movement arrived in Finland. So I have grown up with HIP (Historically Informed Performance) recordings and concerts, too. Maybe that has some unconscious connection to my choice of instrument, because I have always felt at home with early music and the sound and tuning of gut strings. Even so much that I have always had challenges with the sound ideals of modern instruments, regardless of the fact that I, back in the days, found a modern instrument that still feels like mine.

What inspires you as a musician and in life?
People and life.

What other art form is close to your heart?
The visual arts. I also enjoy imagining different kinds of indoor spaces and massive traffic arrangements. Architecture?

Which is your greatest musical dream?
I dream of challenging musicians to give one day of their lives to children and music, through taking living music to schools in a way that inspires them. I feel there is a need for a joint effort in order to maintain an environment and welfare that support children’s creativity, and also art-life in general. So far I have not done anything concrete for this dream.

Which is your favourite travel destination, and why?
I am still a little tired of travelling, as I always had to travel to get to my beloved ones when I lived abroad. My life was about constant travelling anyway. Although the world is full of beautiful places, I would still travel for the same reason: to see beloved ones far away.  In our family, the longing is intense and the goodbyes are painful.

In what kind of a place does your soul find rest?
At home. Right now I feel the deepest peace when the everyday life functions smoothly. For a poetic question there would surely be a more poetic answer, but if I do not get to spend enough time at home, I do not enjoy being anywhere anymore.

How do you feel your art is affecting society at large?
Questions like these often come to mind in the school environment, where you really are confronted with acute societal issues. Humanity needs art to survive, but is a proper breakfast and a safe school day for a child even more necessary? The chain that carries children’s everyday life, starting from the school taxi driver, makes me feel great respect each day. 

The biggest effect my art has on society right now is probably in school, where I try to incorporate musical activities in the children’s days; why settle with sounds produced by others when you can do them yourself – and even invent them yourself! Through wordless communication, a common language can be found also in multicultural groups, and we can avoid misunderstandings that lead to fights.

Next to this, FiBO is only a bonus.

Why do you enjoy playing music that is over 300 years old?
Surely the study of 300 years old music has affected my way of perceiving the world, and it suits my soul and my mind very well. I believe I am somehow stuck there somewhere, as many of the new progressive ideas are clearly hard to even consider openly.

Choose your favourite among FiBO’s fall 2018 concerts, and motivate your choice.
As the end of the year is approaching, I must say that I anticipate the coming Advent concert organised by Anna-Maaria Oramo. The time before Christmas is one of my favourite seasons, and the best way to get into the atmosphere is through making music.

If you had to run the Cooper test or bake for a party of 30 people, which would you choose?
I would bake bread rolls.

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