Aino Ruotanen is a Finnish musician, composer and teacher. Her background is mainly in Scandinavian traditional and contemporary folk music, but she has been also widely involved in other rhythm music styles and genres. Her journey with kantele started in 1996 in Rääkkylä, folk music parish in North Karelia. Aino studied in the rhythm music department in Joensuu (Finland) and in the Folk- and World music department in Malmö (Sweden). She did her masters in the Global Master program of Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus & Sibelius Academy (Denmark/Finland), and graduated in 2017.
Aino specialises in concert/electric kantele. She has been intrigued to develop rhythmic kantele music and to create new techniques through composing and by exploring the playing techniques of other instruments. During her studies she enjoyed the opportunity of being inspired by the diverse music cultures while developing her own unique style of playing kantele. Her way of playing highlights the versatility of kantele; sometimes her sound might resemble guitar, bass, piano, kora or even drums.