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Walk in for Finnish blues artiste Erja Lyytinen’s first Indian gig

Slide guitarist Erja Lyytinen “did not know that there is a blues music scene in India” until she received an invite to perform here. So the Finnish blues singer-songwriter is more than looking forward to her first gig in this part of the world.

“I’m hoping to make some new friends and fans in India. And for decades musicians have come to India looking for inspiration, such as The Beatles, so maybe there’ll be a bit of a soul searching for me too!” says Lyytinen.

And she’s come loaded for her Indian debut. First, she’s got a new band, comprising Kai Jokiaho on drums, Antti Ikola on keyboards, Hammond as well as “the 20-something with the soul of an old man” Tatu Back on bass.

She’s got new riffs too! “We play mostly blues/rock, so our sound is modern, and a bit raw. Since I am a slide guitarist, there’ll be a lot of down-to-earth shuffle blues too. We’ll also play new songs, which haven’t been recorded yet. The songs we’ll play are similar to the works of artistes such as Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin.”

Lyytinen was bitten by the blues bug around the age of 18. “I saw Ray Charles on VHS, and I was touched by his emotional performance. I wanted to do the same, so I put together a blues band with my guitarist friend. There was something much deeper, and more honest in blues than any other music I was studying at the time,” Lyytinen recollects, adding that Bonnie Raitt, and Koko Taylor are her favourites. “Luckily I got to perform with these two great ladies in 2003 at a fest in Finland,” she says.

And how is it collaborating with her rhythm guitarist husband Davide Floreno? “When making music, you have to leave your ego, and just play the music. Artistes, of course, are always stubborn and want to have their own way. I guess I’m very much like that too!” laughs Lyytinen, who’ll get busy with gigs in the UK, Germany, Belgium, and Scandinavia later this year. A new album is also in the pipeline.
April 8-9. At Windmills Craftworks, Whitefield. 9.30 pm. Tickers (Rs 500 upwards) on bookmyshow.com
— Barkha Kumari

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