Back in music school, bands like Pelle Miljoona, Ypö-Viis and The Matcbox impressed me a lot. At the Tuuliajolla concert I saw the Finnish band Hassisen Kone and thought: “That’s what I want!” In 1984, we founded our first actual band. Besides the guitar, I also played keyboard and violin. The violin eventually became my main instrument. Over the years, I toured Finland with various rock bands. I also have experience in theater and film music as well as in the accompaniment of dance and improvisation. The most important part of my career as a musician is probably the band Sydänmaa, which has its origins in 90s Kotka. Under the record label Fazer/Warner, we released two albums containing great songs by Marko Ritola. Our producers were Edu Kettunen and Janne Louhivuori. The radio stations would play our songs over and over, and pretty much everyone in Finland knows our hit “Poppikoneet soimaan”.
After that, our family took a break from the rat race. In 1999 we sold our house and moved to Belize in Central America. There I had the opportunity to play and get to know Latin American and Mayan music. A very special experience was an open-air gig in Belize, on Christmas Eve with the band Ceesar. I knew it was cold in Finland and everybody would be sitting at home celebrating Christmas.
Back in Finland I was a lot on tour with Sydänmää and some other bands. In 2014, me and my family moved to Jerusalem to work for the Finnish church. Together with local music teachers, I developed the music education system as well as the local band scene in Palestine. In Jerusalem, I had the chance to play with both Jewish musicians during synagogue service and Arab musicians in an improvisation session telling the story of the musical tradition. In the Middle East, I visited two impressive Christmas concerts (on the birthday of a friend in Bethlehem). In 2017 we went back to Finland. Since then I have mostly been studying Irish music, gospel and rock.
And now, in the summer of 2018, Marko Ritola sent me a link: “DRB is looking for a fiddler”. I listened to their music and quickly realized that it was a surprisingly professional band with amazingly solid songs of their own. Of course, I immediately applied for the vacancy of the new fiddler-in-chief!