The swift and energetic traditional music of Karelia is regarded as the purest expression of Finnish music, less influenced by Germanic and other outside elements. Like Finland, Karelia is a home for rune singing; unlike Finland and like the neighboring Ingrian music of Russia, however, Karelia is also home to musical laments. The kantele is a popular instrument in Karelia as well as throughout Finland.
Karelian folk music continues to be performed by groups like the Karelian Folk Music Ensemble, who sing in Finnish, Russian and Karelian, and have toured across Europe and the United States. Bands performing in traditional styles include, among others, Burlakat and Myllärit. The popular Finnish folk group Värttinä has recorded a number of songs based on Karelian melodies.