Finnish Blues sensation Erja Lyytinen coming to the winery

(Supplied photo)

MORRISBURG – Canada’s Blues Underground Network chose “The Sky is Crying” as the Best European Blues Album and Best Tribute Album of 2014. Britain’s Blues Matters named her the number two international solo artist in 2014. Blues Magazine has dubbed her “The Finnish Slide Goddess.”

Who is this exciting internationally renowned blues singer and guitarist? Erja Lyytinen.

And Lyytinen is coming to Morrisburg’s Stone Crop Acres, through Harmony Concerts, for one spectacular performance only on Sunday, August 28, 2022.

A renowned star in her homeland of Finland, whose stunning musical reputation has spread across Europe and North America, Erja’s style is rooted in both traditional and modern blues, with an exciting interweaving of pop, jazz, soul and rock. She was even invited by the great Carlos Santana to open his 2018 Helsinki concert before 20,000 fans. And she is looking forward to returning to Canada and performing at Stone Crop Acres.

I was fortunate enough to exchange messages with Lyytinen about her music and her August 28 concert.

Blues are often regarded as a distinctly “American” musical style. But the attraction of Blues has been very strong for Lyytinen. “The things that appealed to me about the Blues, are the feelings and the interpretations. When, in my early days, I was listening to Ray Charles or Koko Taylor, I wanted to achieve the same feeling they had when they were singing and playing the blues. The music felt so honest, real, raw and powerful, and filled with deep emotions. It is a music style that has deep roots and has developed for ages. When I’m on stage, I’m there 100 per cent for my listeners. I pour out my feelings through my guitar and singing, hoping my fans will receive positive vibes to face everyday challenges. To me, blues is a healer. It is a therapeutic experience.”

She comes by her love of music naturally. Her father was a guitar player, her mother a bass player, and she joined the family band at age 15. Lyytinen also studied music in many different places in both Scandinavia and the US, including the Los Angeles Musician’s Institute.

She feels that she is now “in a place where I can truly express myself the way I am as a guitar player.” From the age of 16, she began learning to play solos on top of Santana’s songs, which, she said, have very good harmony progressions for “jamming.” It was a truly high point of her life to be asked to open for him at the 2018 Helsinki show.

“It was quite surreal. I guess it summed up all those hours on the road, all those lessons. There was no time for rehearsing: the concert was listening and jamming along, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Carlos also gave me some pretty good advice, and I listened carefully.”

For Lyytinen, a song has to start with a feeling, whether it’s “love lost, heartbreak, or even everyday challenges. On my upcoming album, ‘Waiting for the Daylight,’ I also deal with such serious topics as losing a friend to long-term illness, or bullying in school. Making songs is a way of expressing my feelings and thoughts. And I love the sound of a guitar. Sometimes there might be a single guitar riff that inspires me to write an entire song.” This is the case with her latest single ‘Bad Seed’ which, she said,“has a thick goovy rhythm part going through the song.”

Lyytinen is looking forward to her time at Stone Crop Acres: she has a vibrant, varied play list planned. There will be “some of our favourites from our previous albums, ‘Another World’ and ‘Stolen Hearts’,” but there will also be original pieces from an upcoming new studio release. “There’s gonna be loads of guitar solos for sure! It’s always a pleasure to come to Canada.”

It’s clear that the audience can anticipate an exciting, musically dynamic evening of Blues when Erja Lyytinen and her back up artists come to town this Sunday August 28. As she herself puts it, “I can’t wait to have fun on stage, and to give an energetic blues/rock show for the festival people.”

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