Upcoming Events

Saxophonist/Vocalist Juli Wood Puts A Jazz Spin on Folk Songs from Finland

Chicago-based jazz saxophonist, vocalist and composer Juli Wood will put a jazz spin on traditional Finnish folk songs in a performance beginning at 7:30pm on Thursday, February 28 at Nordia House, 880 SW Oleson Road, Portland, OR.

Thursday, February 28, 2019 at Nordia House in SW Portland

Portland, Oregon, February 4, 2019 –  Chicago-based jazz saxophonist, vocalist and composer Juli Wood and guitarist Paul Silbergleit will explore Finnish folk songs from a jazz perspective starting at 7:30pm on Thursday evening, February 28, 2019 at Nordia House, 8800 SW Oleson Road, Portland, Oregon.

Tickets are available online at or at the door. Ticket price is $25 for members of the two sponsoring organizations, $30 for non-members. The concert is sponsored by Finlandia Foundation Columbia-Pacific Chapter and Nordic Northwest. Wood is Finlandia Foundation National’s 2019 Performer of the Year.

Inspired by her Finnish heritage, the landscape and Art Farmer

Born and raised in the Midwest, Wood has been playing the saxophone since the age of 15 and has been part of the Chicago jazz scene, playing both alto and tenor saxophone, for more than 20 years.  She has also performed in jazz clubs and festivals in the US, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Poland.

The performance on February 28 will include selections from the latest of Wood’s CDs, “Dark Forest/ Synkkä Metsä” ). While the CD features a guitarist, bass and drums in addition to Wood’s saxophone, the Portland concert will be a duet with guitarist Silbergleit and will include some jazz standards with Finnish lyrics.

“All four of my grandparents came to the US in the early 1900’s, so I grew up with an appreciation for traditional Finnish music and the language,” said Wood. “When I heard Art Farmer’s recording of Swedish folk songs called To Sweden With Love, it hit me that I should record the simple and hauntingly beautiful Finnish folk songs, instrumentally, and in a jazz style.  Finland is mostly forests and lakes – it’s a magical place that is dear to my heart.” Wood has played with a quartet for the Arts in Community Education program run by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Every year for the last 20 years, the Juli Wood Quartet has performed in elementary schools in greater Milwaukee. The group plays songs that the children recognize and introduces them to the rhythm, harmonies, and melodies of jazz music. She is also involved in the “Women’s Leadership Initiative” mentoring program affiliated with the Jazz Institute of Chicago. Mentors teach workshops and host jam sessions for young women who are learning jazz improvisation skills.

For more information on the February 28 Juli Wood performance, log onto or call Nordic Northwest at (503) 977-0275 or log onto the website of Finlandia Foundation Columbia-Pacific Chapter .

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“Finland and the Cold War” free lecture by James Ford Cooper at Portland State University on Friday, March 1 at 7:30pm

James Ford Cooper will speak about Finland and the Cold War on Friday, March 1 at 7:30pm in room 171, Cramer Hall, Portland State University. A veteran of the U.S. State Department for 34 years, Cooper had two postings in Finland at the US Embassy.

James Ford Cooper, who during the course of a 34-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service, served at the American Embassy in Helsinki between 1976-1979 and again 1984-1986, will speak about the relationship between Finland and the U.S. during the Cold War on Friday, March 1 at 7:30pm at Portland State University, Cramer Hall, room 171.

This presentation is part of the free Friday Night Lecture Series co-sponsored by Nordic Northwest and PSU’s Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures. Cooper’s talk is also co-sponsored by Finlandia Foundation National and Finlandia Foundation Columbia-Pacific Chapter.
Cooper is the author of On the Finland Watch, a 1999 memoir based on observations and analysis during his time with the State Department. He served as Political Counselor during his first posting to Finland and as Deputy Chief of Mission for his second posting.

In his talk “Finland and the Cold War”, Cooper will review the geopolitical and historical factors shaping the very different Cold War perspectives of the U.S. and Finland. While the US was at the peak of its economic and political power at the end of World War II, Europe including Finland lay economically and physically devastated by the conflict.

Finland had only won its independence as a sovereign nation in 1917 after a century as a Grand Duchy of Imperial Russia and several centuries of domination before that by its western neighbor, Sweden. Following independence, Finland was immediately plunged into a brutal and traumatic civil war between Red and White armies. The new country came under attack by the Soviet Union during the Winter War of 1939-1940 and again during the Continuation War that began in 1941. In 1945, maintaining neutrality and its hard-won independence as a democratic, Western-oriented society were Finland’s top priorities.

Cooper is Finlandia Foundation National’s 2019 Lecturer of the Year and holds a BA in political science from Michigan State University and a Master’s in government from Cornell University.

For more information on the lecture “Finland and the Cold War”, log onto or call Nordic Northwest at (503) 977-0275 or log onto the website of Finlandia Foundation Columbia-Pacific Chapter .

Past Events

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