Jazz Bringing People Together - 2022 Nordic Jazz Festival

The 16th annual Nordic Jazz Festival took place in Washington, D.C. in June 2022. The Embassy of Finland spoke with DC Jazz Festival representatives Sunny Sumter and Willard Jenkins as well as Finnish jazz artist Joonas Haavisto about the festival and the universal language of jazz.

 The 2022 Nordic Jazz Festival kicked off at the Embassy of Finland on June 17, 2022, as Joonas Haavisto Trio from Finland and Kresten Osgood from Denmark, together with U.S. artist Cooper-Moore, gave the audience a night to remember. Pianist Joonas Haavisto, along with Antti Lötjönen (double bass) and Joonas Riippa (drums), treated the audience to beautiful harmonies. Haavisto played his version of the Swedish folk song Emigrantvisa and dedicated it to the people of Ukraine. Drummer Kresten Osgood and Cooper-Moore gave the audience an electric and feel-good show that utilized multiple instruments built by Cooper-Moore. The duo also sang and played the piano together.

Sunny Sumter, the president and CEO of DC Jazz Festival, appreciates the close and fruitful relations between the Nordic embassies and the jazz community. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Embassy of Finland and all the Nordic countries to present some of their finest jazz artists right here in Washington, D.C.,” said Sumter. “Jazz is a powerful gateway between our global communities.” Willard Jenkins, the Artistic Director of DC Jazz Festival, appreciated all the fantastic artists: “There are great jazz musicians all over the world in various countries, and especially in Nordic countries you have great musicians,” Jenkins said in an interview. 

Joonas Haavisto was amazed by the D.C. audience, which showed excitement throughout the concerts. “Jazz brings people together all over the world,” Haavisto said. “Jazz is a great bridge to unify people.” Willard Jenkins shared this view: “Jazz is an international language. We strive to celebrate first and foremost the diversity of jazz music and the diversity of musicians who perform jazz music. By doing so, we have broadened the diversity of the audience.”

The 2022 Nordic Jazz Festival was co-presented by the embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and DC Jazz Festival. Two further concerts were organized at Arena Stage, featuring Joonas Haavisto Trio and DC Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence Orrin Evans with his ensemble, and at the Norwegian Embassy, featuring Ole Mathisen Renderings Quartet from Norway and Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio from Iceland.