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By Gunnar Damström

Aren’t we fortunate- living in the same age as Christine Julin-Häggman? People who take the lead and find the followers. The result- marvelous music for us to enjoy. Jepokryddona (the Jeppo Spices) is a group of folk musicians, five charming girls and their equally charming leader Christine. The girls play because they enjoy playing.

Christine got her first accordion at age 4. Music has been her life since childhood. Having graduated from high school she was appointed to the prestigious Sibelius Academy where she studied classical music for seven years, graduating with a masters degree in musical pedagogy. After three years of postgraduate study she received her “A-piano diploma”. “Ten years away from Jeppo widened my perspective of my native country,” says Christine. She is employed as a teacher at the Jakobstad School of Music. Christine considers herself privileged to have played with and listened to Jeppo master fiddler Viktor Anderson (1901-1974), a frequent visitor to her childhood home. Viktor Andersson was a great personality in folk music. His style of playing was temperamental and he had a large repertoire. Thanks to his son, master fiddler Elis Andersson (B. 1926) and Jeppo Bygdespelmän (Jeppo Native Country Fiddlers) Victor’s tunes have been preserved for future generations.


Third from the left Ann-Sofi Sjöholm, Elis Andersson, Ruben Jungar and Christine Julin-Häggman

Christine was the artistic director of Jeppo Bygdespelmän 1993-1999. Ann-Sofi Sjöholm is the current director of the group.


Master fiddler Elis Anderson

Jepokryddona enjoy playing and you feel it. They don’t just produce music- they radiate it. Goals and performance plans are essential ingredients for a successful group like Jepokryddona, providing incentive and motivation for the time consuming training. In 2001 the band toured Åland, the U.S., Canada and Germany receiving much acclaim. Their appearance at the Finn Grand Fest 2000 in Toronto was a great success, as was their visit to the Komi Republic of the Russian Federation.


This portrait is taken in Channel 8 Studio in Duluth in the summer of 2001. Top left Catriina Österlund, Katarina Backlund and Malin Östman, bottom left: Christine Julin-Häggman, Iris Lillas and Christa Sandvik.


At a rest area on the shores of Lake Superior, heading for Thunder Bay. From the left: Catriina Österlund, Katarina Backlund, Christine Julin-Häggman, Malin Östman, Christa Sandvik and Iris Lillas.

Jepokryddona prefers to play music from their Jeppo native country and Nykarleby. Jeppo is famous for its minuet and polska tradition. Jeppo folk music has a traditional character. It is rapid, radiant and rhythmical, characterized by shifts in time, flourishes and embellishments. The melodies are played by ear to facilitate the transfer of the music style to new fiddler generations. All the girls have studied classical music at the Jakobstad School of Music. Each has ancestors that were master fiddlers or singers.

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