From a small town in Finland through various cities and countries back to Finland
and beyond – with music
“I had the chance to travel a lot while growing up – to take part in different cultural exchange programs during my elementary school. I was able to grow up surrounded by lush green environment and clear waters. Summers were spent on our small family sailing boat.
During teen years I spent hours practicing violin, piano, singing and hanging out with our local theatre group. With the theatre community we made plays, street art performances, visited other cities to see theatre and performance art, participated to arts workshops. I was active in sports and contemporary arts groups.
I started performing as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist in the end of junior high school; I started to compose small compositions for string quartets and choirs. Our small town didn’t have that many public organizations for hobbies or events so most of the cultural activities were organized independently. These early experiences relating to theatre, music ensembles, choirs and bands, arts, put a lasting mark on me.
I moved to a bigger city when I was 15 years old to study in an arts high school. I performed in theatre productions, studied visual arts, worked as a dancer and as a musician and started releasing alternative music tracks with my friends via different internet sites.
In my high school I got to study music, visual arts and theatre, plus was a student in a local dance school and part of a special training group there. I also became a member of a dance performance group and we won Finnish championship in show & jazz dance and represented Finland in the world championship competition.
After high school I moved to The Netherlands to work as an au pair. The plan was to take some distance from all arts. After just a few weeks in I was attending to contemporary dance classes and was asked to join a dance group. I became friends with local visual artists and sight specific artists, saw profoundly touching contemporary dance performances and sat in local record shops getting to know numerous global music albums.
As I returned to Finland I was trying to integrate what I’d learned in The Netherlands. For awhile I worked as a visual artist’s assistant and took care of a small art gallery in Heinola.
I found out it was possible to study regenerative voice (resonance therapy) at a small school in a remote Finnish town, Kokemäki, and I started studying there. I went through a series of trainings: ayurveda, voice, sound, resonance, nutrition and raw food studies, philosophy, arts therapy, yoga, Rosen method, somatic practices, meditation, communal living, deep ecology..
After Kokemäki I started studying to become a professional contemporary dancer at North Karelia College in the International Contemporary Dance and New Theatre studies.
Year 2006 I started studying music professionally in Helsinki.
I’ve had the pleasure to study music and art with wonderful humans. My vocal teachers and voice mentors include Emma Salokoski, Merzi Rajala, Jeanette Lindström, Ira Kaspi, Sanni Orasmaa, among others. I’ve graduated from professional music studies from Finland’s oldest school of rhytmic music Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory voice as my main instrument. I’ve collaborated for example with soundpainter and musician Walter Thompson; with visual artists Marita Liulia and Roger Titley.
I’ve studied multidisciplinary soundpainting live improvisation composing language with Walter Thompson and Sonja Korkman and am a member of Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble. With Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble (HSE) we worked with Risto Ylihärsilä and played live shows with him and visited on Risto Ylihärsilä’s ‘Teosto Prize’ awarded (Finnish Grammy award) album “II” on song called “Mikä estää olemasta ihan kaikki” (“What’s really stopping you from being all”).
Year 2013 I started a band with guitarist and violinist Antti Kokkola. Our band was named Ksenia. In short amount of time we found our warm and loving audience . Soon Ksenia performed in festivals and for example received a sponsorship from Ilosaarirock, one of the largest rock festivals in Finland.
After graduating from Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory I received a degree place to Karelia Polytechincs to study folk music pedagogy. I stayed in Helsinki and did not start the studies, it felt important to continue work in Helsinki. During studies in Helsinki Pop & Jazz Concervatory I received a scolarship to study in Berklee College of Music to for a combined degree of dance and world music yet I wasn’t t able to finance the move.
I’ve worked in pop and folk bands, theatre productions, jazz ensembles, dance pieces, and improvisation music groups. I performed as a songwriter and solo artist. I’ve performed in multidisciplinary art productions, as a soundpainting teacher for musicians and dancers, actor, vocal coach, composing workshop leader, visual artist. I’ve for example assisted visual artists in sight specific art pieces at Helsinki Festival.
During my studies in Pop & Jazz Conservatory I needed some distance from the environment and travelled to India. In India I helped my local friends with their communal projects and taught music, arts and storytelling to children. I ended up staying in India for months.
In 2014-2015 I collaborated with cinematographer Julius Koivistoinen and did the soundtrack for his short movie ‘Thin Ribbon’. During this time I started to understand how many possibilities there were relating to music, arts and visual storytelling; I wanted to explore more of it. ‘Thin Ribbon’ project was awarded in MyRØDE Reel competition.
Around year 2016 I started living through a big realignement, which has slowly but surely brought me where I am now. During that time Finland started going through a big political crisis. I became more alert and critical about many things, and also about my intentions as a creative.
I decided to go back to my roots, to Heinola. In Heinola I got to know one of Finland’s internationally best-known contemporary artists, Marita Liulia, as she was living there at the time. We started a collaboration. Our collaborative art video that combines imaginary language, moving image and voice has been visiting art galleries in Finland and abroad. As we had photoshoots Liulia interviewed me about my past, about my turning points and my thoughts about Finnish culture. I got the change to perform in one of Liulia’s events, as a vocal artist; one event happened in a factory and I played the factory machines with iron sticks while I was singing. In the end of the performance the factory workers started to sing with me.
Around year 2017 I ended up finding Jukka Backlund, a music producer, who was interested in cultural and political questions and who had been hoping to find a new artist to collaborate with. We started to collaborate. At first our goal was to see if something would happen, write a couple of songs. It quickly became obvious that we were going to build an album. Eventually I started contacting more people, writing more songs, and so on. I needed to communicate sonically, visually, about this time of ours; world between worlds; about connection, about the senses, about animism.
I loved creating new songs with Backlund and other new people and felt very inspired to write and compose more. One of the collaborations happened with writer, musician, poet, actor Niillas Holmberg. I asked if he’d like to write lyrics to one composition of mine, and he said yes.
I moved back to Helsinki in January 2017 to write the album, and to prepare for the recording sessions. Around the same time Holmberg moved to Helsinki for a couple of months because of his collaboration with Ruska Ensemble in The Finnish National Theatre. During that time as we collaborated with Holmberg I got to know the international team of artists Holmberg was working with in National Theatre. I was deeply inspired by the shared perspectives and concerns.
During year 2020 I started to collaborate with Helsinki based production company Playart Productions and we created three short films a visual EP, as an introductory to the ‘Väki’ album. In the project I worked as the art director, writer and co-director. After the album was recorded, mixed and mastered I searched long and hard for the right ways to publish it. It’s a pleasure to share that I’ve now joined forces with Finnish indie label Eclipse Music.
After the visual EP was published I started to collaborate with for example choreographer Wilhelmiina Ojanen; dance film ‘Intimacy Without Proximity’ was published during spring 2021. During year 2021 I had the pleasure of becoming an artist member of Arts Management Helsinki.
Now I’m focusing on my album release; vocal ensemble studies in Sibelius Academy’s Open University; working in ‘Huojuu elämän puu’ -project; and for example exploring with Helsinki Improvisers Orchestra.“