I want to introduce you to all the wonderful people that I’ve had the pleasure to create with. These people and their music helped me find the music in me. First post is about creating the song material, after this I’ll tell you more about the musicians, and last but so totally not least I’ll share about the process of production and recording & mixing.. Check these people out, get to know their projects and get inspired.
First up: songwriting. ⋅ ⊥∇ ⋅

Jukka Backlund
The producer. Backlund has produced award-winning and platinum-selling albums, worked as a sound designer / composer in avantgarde installations and art videos, his main project right now is Nik Mystery and he plays drums in a band called Dead Sirius 3000. He’s a member of electronic music production collective called Vanilla Dream, plays various instruments, works internationally and has been studying jazz since early childhood. Watch Nik Mystery’s video Movie Life Fantasy here and Dead Sirius 3000’s “I Won’t Stop My Dance” music video here – – Backlund has also made the videos.
When we started to collaborate I did a lot of demos from old songs and was trying all sorts of ideas – but it was very hard to find a fresh, new perspective. During one songwriting session we had with Backlund he started to play with one rhytmical idea with his acoustic guitar; he started to record that idea and after few minutes there was this new song that felt super inspiring.. I had to go out for a walk after I heard that music! Now it’s clear, that song and that moment opened the door for this whole album.

Photo: Tommi Posa

Timo Kiiskinen
Kiiskinen has written some of the most loved pop songs in Finland (Sami Saari: Ainutkertainen, Samuli Edelmann: Sininen sointu..), released many beautiful solo albums and has made a wonderful jazz album called “Chet” which has Chet Baker songs in it with Finnish lyrics. I have been a big fan of his for as long as I can remember. You can listen to his ‘Chet’ from here.
Thanks to producer Backlund I eventually wrote to Kiiskinen and told him about this music project, asked if he’d like to get involved. Kiiskinen called me, we had a great talk and after few weeks I received a beautiful song from him. Kiiskinen wrote me a song that has lyrics from Kanteletar – that song feels like home and I’ll never forget how good it felt to start singing it.

Photo: Tuomo Manninen

Niillas Holmberg
I met Holmberg the first time some years ago at Helsinki National Theatre’s music club where we both happened to be performing. It was great to see him perform live. His work as a musician, poet, activist etc. has always felt very inspiring. Watch his video here.
As the album thing started to happen and producer Backlund couraged me to think about my songwriting dream team I contacted Holmberg and asked if he’d like to write Northern Sami lyrics to one composition that popped out of me after one songwriting camp with Backlund. After some e-mails we met and talked about the album and few months later he sent me a demo and the lyrics and I was blown away how personal the lyrics felt. Niillas wrote out the world that was deep in the music that came out of me – powerful song.
When it was time to start learning singing in Northern Sami at first I thought it would never happen but after a while I started to ‘hear’ the language..

Photo: Paul S. Amundsen

Suvi Isotalo
Isotalo is a pianist, songwriter, singer, composer and I got to know her years ago when we were both invited to perform in this songwriter’s event. She has written music for theatre, released solo albums,  performed with various music ensembles and has worked as a studio musician.
I asked Isotalo’s help relating to the album songwriting; especially the lyrics – to tell me straight if some words were unmusical or storytelling wasn’t clear enough. She helped a lot with one specific song chorus and her honest feedback about the album was pure gold. Check out Isotalo’s music video, this was a fun night years back. It was a lot of fun to be involved in the making of it.

Photo: Ville Malja

Josef Donner
Donner is a singer, songwriter, writer, entertainer and he knows a lot about different languages. Donner has his own band Juzzman, he performs with f. ex. Cafe De Abejas, works in various performing arts projects as a writer and as a performer.
I asked Donner to write a song with me; I had never ever wrote lyrics in Swedish but had a feeling we could write something nice together. I had gotten to know Donner via many mutual friends and I had one song without lyrics – I had a bit of an idea about the story and then asked if he’d be interested to collaborate with me. He said yes, we had couple of writing sessions and a song was born.

Photo: J. Donner

Sonja Korkman
Korkman is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator, soundpainter and I’ve been collaborating with her for over ten years now in Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble (avantgarde music group that she leads). Korkman is very experienced in traditional Nordic music, world music, reggae, songwriting in various genres and we had some songwriting sessions together – though the song material we made with Korkman didn’t end up to the album I really enjoyed our sessions together.
Korkman helped me with one album song that has a Finnish-Swedish dialect; she made sure that I’m singing every word properly.

Yle Svenska_Korkman
Photo: Yle Svenska

Oskari Lehtonen
Lehtonen is a percussionist, educator, long-time band colleague in Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble. He has been jamming with me thru this album project and even before that; we know each other from Helsinki Pop & Jazz Concervatory years. We made song material for this album but those ideas stayed on the desktop – they’ll be waiting for the albums to come after this first one..
Playing improvised music (improvising lyrics also) with Lehtonen in both Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble and in Karelia Drum’N’Bass has given me many ideas relating to lyric structure, telling a story in music etc. Lehtonen plays in the album ensemble, my wish is that he’ll play in the live band also (he’s a busy guy) and he plays in various Finnish folk music / world music (Okra Playground f. ex.) ensembles.

Photo: Tomi Rajala

Aino Kurki
I got to know Kurki when she started making music with Korkman. Hearing Kurki play live the first time made me really thrilled. Kurki has studied kantele (traditional Finnish string instrument) in Finland but also in Africa, she is a very versatile player and has performed internationally as a soloist and with different music projects.
Playing with Kurki made a lot of things clearer to me during the album songwriting process and we spent good time together going thru the songs and getting ready for studio. Kurki will be a vital member of the live band with her kantele, she was in the studio sessions and you can check out her original music from here.

Photo: Global Music Center

Behind the scenes: ‘Avaruus’ live music video

I’ve been getting some nice surprise feedback because of ‘Avaruus’ video that we made some years ago with Julius Koivistoinen and Juha Tuukkanen. Thank you so much. That video was such a special project – one of a kind for all of us and I want to share some making of details, how we landed to the creative process, to that moment.

I got to know Julius during our collaboration relating to Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble‘s (HSE) promo pics, few years back. I’m a member of HSE and also did the styling, hair and make-up for those pictures; Julius was the photographer and we had great fun working together. Later on, so it happened, Julius asked me to compose the score for his short film Thin Ribbon. I wrote one vocal piece, and a song ‘Avaruus’ for the movie. We produced the music with Juha Tuukkanen. Thin Ribbon got really nicely noticed in Rode Reel competition, Julius did an amazing job with the whole thing and also with the making of -documentary, Juha and I had a great music team going on so it was only natural we decited to do a music video together as well.

Olen vastaanottanut ilahduttavia ja yllättäviä kommentteja liittyen musiikkiesitysvideoon, jonka teimme Julius Koivistoisen ja Juha Tuukkasen kanssa. Valtava kiitos. Avaruus -video oli erityinen projekti ja siksi tahdonkin jakaa vähän enemmän kyseisen videon luovasta prosessista — miten päädyimme siihen hetkeen jossa video syntyi.

Tutustuin Juliukseen Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemblen promokuvausprosessin myötä, muutama vuosi sitten. Olen HSE:n jäsen ja vastasin kuvien vaatetuksesta, meikistä ja hiuksista – suunnittelimme myös Juliuksen kanssa yhdessä kuvauksen konseptin ja yhteistyö oli saumatonta. Myöhemmin Julius kysyi tekisinkö ääniraidan hänen lyhytelokuvaansa Thin Ribbon ja kirjoitin mm. Avaruus-kappaleen Thin RIbbon -elokuvaan. Tuotin elokuvan musiikin yhdessä Juha Tuukkasen kanssa. Thin Ribbon sai hyvin huomiota My Rode Reel kilpailussa, Julius teki hienoa työtä lyhytelokuvan kanssa – sekä lyhytelokuvan tekoprosessista kertoneessa pienoisdokumentissa. Yhteistyö Juhan kanssa toimi myös hienosti, joten oli ainoastaan luonnollista tehdä yhdessä kolmikkomme kesken myöskin jonkinlainen musiikkivideo.


We wanted to go for something that would be a creative challenge for all of us. We ended up with these decisions: I will play and sing live, sound will be recorded by Juha on the spot, Julius will shoot everything with just one long take.

I’m at times a bit nervous when it comes to pictures and video; it’s on or off. There used to be a time I really didn’t know how to get up on stage without a mask. I’m still learning. Used to be in a lot of show productions, and to a certain point loved it. Then came a point I wanted to learn a different approach. I started to go towards singing and performing in a different way. Sometimes I love it, at times I panic. It’s much easier live with real live audience though, the energy just flows, music just takes you away. So had to make sure I would be on my best music flow during the shoot. We decited to film during night time and after one rather big Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemble’s gig. HSE gigs always spark such awesome energy, the expressive performing spark is so on.

We found a perfect location: huge art gallery at Kirkkonummi hosted by friends. Thank you once more Kirkkonummen Kipinä.

Julius and Juha arrived to the spot a bit earlier, I came by train from the gig. Julius had a self-made light with him that he attached to the ceiling. We cleared the room. Two microphones was put in the middle of the space, Juha and us did a bit of a soundcheck. We put a chair under the lights and turned the big lights out. As we were ready, Julius gave me some guidelines and directions – and it was on. We got the video in with just one take.

A huge thank you Julius and Juha.

Tahdoimme tehdä jotain sellaista, mikä olisi luova haaste meille kaikille. Päädyimme seuraavaan; laulan kaiken siinä hetkessä elävänä ja Juha äänittää, Julius kuvaa kaiken yhdellä katkeamattomalla otolla.

Olen ajoittain hyvin hermostunut kameran edessä; joko tai, nautin tai pelkään. Oli aika kun en osannut astua lavalle ilman jonkinlaista epämukavaa naamiota, opettelen yhä sitä jotain toista tapaa. Vuosia sitten esiinnyin paljon erilaisissa show-produktioissa ja tiettyyn pisteeseen asti nautin siitä. Tahdoin opetella toisenlaisen esiintymisen taidon ja opettelen sitä vieläkin. Live-yleisön edessä tilanne on tietysti useimmiten ainoastaan iloinen, sillä musiikki vie mukanaan; kameran edessä on vaara tulla liian itsetietoiseksi. Päätimme kuvata videon erään melko ison Helsinki Soundpainting Ensemblen keikan jälkeen; HSE-keikat ovat täynnä luovaa hulluutta, joka kantaa pitkälle, liika itsetietoisuus on tipotiessä! 

Löysimme täydellisen kuvauspaikan, ystävien emännöimän yhteisötaidegallerian Kirkkonummelta. Kiitos vielä Kirkkonummen Kipinä. 

Julius ja Juha saapuivat kuvauspaikalle jo vähän aiemmin, tulin suoraan keikalta vähän myöhemmin. Tyhjensimme tilan ja Juliuksella oli mukanaan itsetehty valaisin, jonka hän kiinnitti kattoon keskelle suurta hallitilaa. Asetimme tuolin valon alle ja sen eteen kaksi mikrofonia. Katsoimme äänenvoimakkuuden ja tilan akustiikan, sammutimme valot, Julius antoi muutamat ohjeet minulle ja aloitimme kuvaamisen. Kuvasimme videon yhdellä otolla.

Valtava kiitos Julius ja Juha.





Julius Koivistoinen:
Juha Tuukkanen:


Kun mä painan silmät kii
sisältäni tuuli käy
Syvemmälle spiraaliin,
laajemmalti läpi kehää näyn

Tyhjyydestä tunteisiin
tunteen läpi taivaisiin
Kehon ääriviivoilla
korvaamattomin lahja

Venytän mun viivoja
kutsun ääretöntä avaruutta

Pyörii maailma
Pyörii, ei katkea

Kun sä meet
hämmennyksen pyhän luo
niin sä teet tilaa,
joka rauhan tuo

Venytä sun viivoja
Kutsu ääretöntä avaruutta

Pyörii maailma
Pyörii ei katkea
Pyörii mun soluissa
Pyörii vapaana

As I close my eyes
I can feel the rising wind;
it spirals mee
grows in circles like a tree

All emotions lead me home
every aching bone
push me beyond;
like a shooting star I let go

Stretching all these boundaries in me

Round and round we go riding free
Round and round in space and in between

As I fly I turn gold
I shine a light
as the night sky grows

Come streching all these boundaries with me

Round and round we go riding free
Round and round in space and in between

Behind the scenes: ‘Avaruus’ live music video