From 1920's to present day

The concert kantele, as it is known today, is an instrument developed by an Ingrian born musician Paul Salminen. It's concept is that by tightening or loosening the strings with a special lever mechanism, it is possible to attain three different pitches; reduction, basic tuning and increase. These days almost all concert and machinery kantele use the mechanism developed by Salminen in different variations. Salminen patented many of the mechanism solutions in the 1920's when he begun the production of his kantele.

Production of Salminen ended in the 1940's but was continued by Sulo Huotari from Lahti. During his production he developed many parts of the instrument and gained a recognised level of quality. Huotari ended his active production at the end of 1980's and many of his blueprints were bought by Erkki Leskelä who started his own production. The know-how behind the art of kantele building was passed on from Huotari to Leskelä who begun the professional production in Ylikiiminki. Kanteleworkshop Erkki Leskelä was founded in 1983 and its name is still known as a brand among the instruments. At the turn of millennium Erkki, in collaberation with the Oulu University developed a bearing solution for the new tuning system. With the new system there was a great improvement to the performance when compared to the old system as the tuning accuracy and the need for maintenance were changed decisively. In addition, it was possible to update the old instruments to meet the new requirements. Besides the bearings, the dynamics of the instrument have also been improved by our efforts. Despite all its improvements, Kantele is still recognised from its traditional and authentic finnish sound.

The second generation builder Timo Leskelä joinded the workshop in year 2000 and bought the entire production after few years. The workshop was moved to Utajärvi.

Kanteles made by Leskelä are mainly played in Finland but also abroad like Japan, United States and around Europe.

Selected raw materials, decades of experience, high degree of professionalism and the desire to create only the best create the high quality instruments for your joy, for decades onward.