Ylläs Jazz and Blues Festival was arranged for the 18th year during 31 Jan-3 Feb in Lapland, Finland
Over the years Ylläs mountain ski resort & holiday village area has become renowned for its annual Ylläs Jazz and Blues Festival where jazz and blues music friends gather together in the Lappish snowy surroundings.
Concerts were taking place at various venue places, from hotels and restaurants to the wilderness cafes that were to be found along the cross county trails.
At Ylläs Jazz and Blues Festival were performing 19 different jazz and blues bands:
Nordic Trinity, Big Blue, Ted Russel Kamp (USA), Dave Lindholm & Äkäslompolo Traditional Band, Whistle Bait, Sweet Jeena and Her Sweethearts, Heikki Salo ja Tulipalo, Honey B T-Bones, Kuru feat. Verneri Pohjola, Severi Koivusalo Quartet, Nina Mya, Saara Soisalo, Keystone Cops, Örjan Mäki (SWE), Esa Pulliainen C-Combo, Herd & Aili Ikonen & Aili Ikonen, Marko Haavisto-Jouni Saario Duo, Blue Stone, The Martin Harley Band.
Below some good performances:
Ylläs Jazz and Blues Festival was started by an excellent young singer Nina Mya at the legendary Pirtukirkko of Äkäs Hotel in Äkäslompolo with powerful interpretation of John Coltrane’s Equinox. She also performed on the following day at Ylläksen Kaivohuone Jazzclub.She presented with exceptionally skillful voice a variety of jazz songs mostly composed by herself from her own album “Flying Solo” pieces like “Illusion” and “Solitary”.
Nina Mya and her band Photo: Esa Paavolainen & Nina Mya photo collection
Nina Mya & band: Nina Mya (Höynälä), voc, Petri Puolitaival, sax, Tuomas Juhani Turunen, piano, Teemu Åkerblom, bass, Mikko Arlin, drums
Her band had started actively to work on Nina’s compositions in 2010. They participated in the renown jazz band competition “Young Nordic Jazz Comets” where Nina was awarded with the soloist price.
In July 2012 Nina was awarded with the title of “Artist Of The Year 2012? by Pori Jazz Festival where she also performed several times.
In Nina’s compositions you can mostly hear the American jazz tradition from 50s and 60s combined with contemporary sound and influences from other musical genres. As described “Nina’s strengths as a singer is her unique sound and brilliant voice technique. She has a strikingly deep, dark and colorful voice, while her phrasing is sure and rhythmically precise. Improvising and performing comes naturally to her” – could not agree more.
Aili Ikonen & HERD: Jazzbasilli
Aili Ikonen, voc, Panu Savolainen, vibraphone, Mikko Pellinen, bass, Tuomas Timonen, drums
Aili Ikonen & HERD Photo: Esa Paavolainen & Aili Ikonen photo collection
HERD is a fresh jazz trio of vibraphone, double bass and drums ranking among the most potent of the new breed of forward-thinking jazz ensembles. The band has already gained both domestic and international acclaim thanks to their successful debut album HERD Live!! and their energetic stage presence. In July 2011, HERD was awarded the first prize at the prestigious “European Jazz Competition” at Holland’s North Sea Jazz festival.
Aili Ikonen is a versatile vocalist who is moving fluently across the diverse field of jazz, folk and pop. She has been touring over Europe and Finland, performing in various venues from significant jazz festivals to TV-shows and has been featured as a soloist for i.a. UMO Jazz Orchestra and Norrbotten Big Band.
She received with jazz quartet Kvalda the first prize at the inter-Scandinavian Young Nordic Jazz Comets contest in 2004. In 2010 Aili and UMO Jazz Orchestra performed “Into the Woodland silence”, In 2011 she toured with Norrbotten Big Band in Sweden and performed in the opening concert of the Helsinki Music Center together with the jazz trio HERD.
Aili is also working in Svenska Teatern in Helsinki in the musical Kristina från Duvemåla, written by the former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, where she performed the main role of Kristina first time in January 2013.
Aili Ikonen together with her band presented a range of excellent jazz adaptations on Finnish famous old hits of singer Laila Kinnunen and others with her skillful vocal power.
Kuru (ravine in English) – the Messengers of Artic Mountain Jazz
Mari Leppävuori – vocals, Jarkko Niiranen – saxophones, Sami Juntunen – keyboards, Jussi Jaako – guitars, Eki Ekfors – drums, Jaakko Konttila – bass, Feat. Verneri Pohjola – trumpet
Kuru Band with Mari Leppävuori,voc, the leader Jarkko Niiranen,sax & Verneri Pohjola, trumpet
Photo: Esa Paavolainen
The last performer of the Ylläs Jazz and Blues Festival was Kuru featuring Verneri Pohjola
Kuru band’s music is described as Scandinavian jazz having a strong influence of Finnish folk music. The band’s music is fully based on their own compositions where one can feel a strong affection of wilderness and their roots in the nature of Northern Finland. In the band’s compositions you can join to the mystic journey from the sea up to the mountains of northern Finland during the year’s four seasons.
As a visiting artist for Kuru band for this concert was a young Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, who has been internationally acknowledged as a most promising jazz trumpetist. The US based and internationally-read portal “All About Jazz” agreed that “Verneri Pohjola has got what it takes to become an international jazz star”.
The Kuru band’s compositions at this concert offered a fine and dramatic range of adaptations based on famous Finnish poets such as Uuno Kailas, Kaarlo Sarkia, Eino Leino and Lauri Pohjanpää and their famous poems from their second album ”Enemmän (More)”. Verneri Pohjola combined his playing nicely with Kuru’s mystic compositions and the combination produced fine “artic mountain jazz”.
These compositions kept the audience totally and intensively concentrated on the music and words – which kept the audience thinking the meanings even after the venue.
This was a truly excellent finish for the Ylläs Jazz and Blues Festival 2013!
For more information on other bands, etc. see https://www.yllasjazzblues.net