Erja Lyytinen

Helsinki, Fi
Artist / Band / Musician
Blues / Pop / Jazz
Ruf Records
Erja Lyytinen is part of an exciting young generation of European blues artists who are carrying this traditional form of American music into the future. From her home in Finland, she has ventured out to captivate audiences throughout Europe and recorded albums in places as far flung as her own Seasound Studio in Helsinki and the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Acclaimed for her slide guitar playing abilities, keen songwriting and smooth vocal delivery, Lyytinen is committed to a life of music. And, as her newest release Voracious Love shows, she continues to develop and hone her craft.

Born into a musical family in the small town of Kuopio, Lyytinen quickly emerged as an artist to watch in her native country. From the beginning, she has combined elements of folk, rock, jazz and pop into her swampy, rootsy blues. Her 2005 international debut, entitled Pilgrimage, gave audiences outside of Finland a first taste of her spirited live performances, and led to a number of successful appearances in the United States.

For her solo follow-up for the Ruf Records label, Dreamland Blues, Erja returned to the USA to record with David and Kinney Kimbrough (sons of Mississippi blues legend Junior Kimbrough) as well as long-time musical partner Davide Floreno. The album was voted "Best Album of 2006" by Finland's YLE Radio Suomi 'Bluesministeri.' After two years on the road, she returned with Grip of the Blues in 2008. The album mixed hard-edged blues with modern R&B and showcased Lyytinen's knack for writing delicate, poppy melodies.
Voracious Love, set for release in May 2010, is surely Lyytinen's most adventurous album to date. Anyone who thinks they know Erja's sound is in for a surprise. Voracious Love is teeming with snappy beats, disarming melodies, and unexpected lyrical twists and turns. It's an album without musical blinders: "A crossover album that pushes style boundaries," explains Erja. The lavishly orchestrated "Bed of Roses," featuring Marco Hietala (Nightwish) on vocals and Apocalyptica cellist Paavo Lötjönen, is just one example of its broad scope. Of course, there's also plenty of slide guitar magic spread across the album's impressive 13 tracks.
Voracious Love is a definite step forward, both musically and personally. Erja – never one to shy away from change – has even created a fresh new visual image for herself, as seen in the striking photos adorning the cover and booklet. "I personally feel like I'm in a different place now," she says in comparing the album to her previous work. "This one really feels like me and sounds like me."
(Vincent Abbate)
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