_DSC2679_DxOFor years I have wanted to play in a good rock band, the heavier the better. And finally, last spring, Sanna Salonen founded Ritva Nero for her studies, and asked me to join.

And what a band it is: saxophone, Finnish bagpipes, nyckelharpa, bass and drums. Groovy partyfolkmetal? Headbangingfolk? Whatever, it seems to work.

Music festivals and organizers have been very interested, and we have quite a lot of good gigs coming up. The first proper gig at Pakkahuone in Tampere as a warm-up for Timo Rautiainen was already a success.

We have a lot to do. I have to find a good solution for amplifying the nyckelharpa on high-feedback stage. But the momentum is great. This might be a big band in few years.

Royal Festival Hall in London, UK. Philharmonia Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Sibelius. A huge concert in the honor of Finland celebrating its hundred years of independence.

And then me and Eero Grundström (Juuri & Juuri) playing Finnish folk music immediately after the concert.

Sounds just about right, eh? It was one of those gigs that you just want to take, even if it means hauling a harmonium and a nyckelharpa in flight cases with too busy schedule.

Yeah, now they know that there is more to Finnish music than Sibelius.