Riikka Timonen is an outstanding singer from Finland. After performing years with (great) bands like Värttinä and Adiemus (by Karl Jenkins), she has been concentrating on creating her own music. Her first solo album "Käenkukuntayöt" (Aito Records 2008) presented an intriguing combination of electro-ethnic sounds made by acoustic instruments, programming and the unique voice of Riikka - both sensitive and brutal.
While recording her second album "In Tune With Wolves" she made a funny observation: every time her voice reached a certain frequency her dogs started to howl. Riikka was so facinated about the fact that her voice woke up this ancient instinct in her home dogs that she named the album after this! "In Tune With Wolves" (Rockadillo Records & WestparkMusic) was released in late autumn 2014 both in Finland and Germany.
Riikka writes her own lyrics true to traditions and the songs are composed by several Finnish songwriters. In the album, she combines the sound of an electric kantele wich is a traditional finnish string instrument played by Senni Eskelinen to other instruments like string base, accordion and percussions. In live concerts, Riikka plays together with Senni Eskelinen. Performing as a duo is very dear to Riikka. A small combination makes every little color of the voice possible and this amazing 39-stringed instrument heard!
Senni Eskelinen is one of the most famous kantelist in Finland. She was born in a very musical family in a small village called "Hirvilahti". She started to play the kantele in the age of three. "All the boys and girls played the kantele in my village. Even my mother, father and my brothers did, so it was very natural for me to play it too", says Senni. "Since I got more and more familiar with the instrument I never wanted to change it!"
She started to play the concert kantele in the age of eight and when she was in her teens, electric kantele came in to the picture. "Being a musician was more important for me than being "just" a kantelist," says Senni. So over the years she has found more than one way to play this traditional intstrument; from old Karelian songs to heavy music and even progressive rock!
No wonder Riikka got so excited when she first heard Senni playing eight years ago. This woman could express all human emotions from heartbreaking sensitiveness to raw archaic rage, just laying her fingers on those 39 strings in a wooden table!
Playing together felt very natural to them from day one. "Creating a right feeling for the song is most important to us. Always be true to the story behind the music and you never get wrong", they say. "Because the lyrics are strong we are not afraid to express also strong feelings together with the sensitive ones."
Senni's virtuosity in kantelism and Riikka's unique voice create a sound, that's truly original and beatiful in ways you could never have imagined!