Discoveries in the sonic universe of human vocal sounds and electronics invite you to a room that resonates in all of us.
On her third album Koan, Johanna Elina Sulkunen has launched a new project, this time as a solo, called Sonority. The project invites to a multilayered journey of sounds of a human voice mixed with electronics and touching on life’s big questions. The name of the album, Kōan means: a paradoxical anecdote or riddle without a solution, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment.
All the sounds on the album are based on vocal sounds and field recordings from Japanese Buddhist temples and manipulation of them– electronically. Johanna traveled to Japan in 2016 to record in temples and collect sounds. In her words: “I had to contextualize the text and the project that I’m working with somehow. I also wanted to record the sounds and objects in the temples to create music with the surroundings” Says Johanna.
Rather than concentrating on the storytelling, the language has been used as a tool. It has been broken into pieces exposing the poetics of a sonic material of letters, syllables, and words and revealing an infinite source of sound-based composition and improvisation.
“Concentrating on sound has opened a lot of doors for me as a composer and vocalist. The ‘liberation of sound’ is not a new statement, but with my background as so-called ‘jazz vocalist’ the use of electronics and the more sound based composing combined with the full autonomy in solo playing has been a personal liberation for me!” states Johanna.
Along with her jazz background, some of biggest influences for the project shines through in the album. Among them; Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros, and on the other hand electronic musicians like Ikue Mori and Holly Herndon. The result is a special combination of music concrete, improvised vocals and contemporary classical music mixed with jazz influences. Human vocal sounds and electronic sounds create a symbiosis where electronics become embodied in the human body and voice becomes electric.
“Belonging” was released in May 2016, and got a Danish Music Award nomination as the best jazz vocal album of the year 2016. The musicians on the album are Anders Filipsen (Dk)- synths, Henrik Olsson (Se) – guitar and Håkon Berre (No) – drums. She was also nominated as the upcoming composer/songwriter of the year 2016 (DJBFA).
“Johanna Elina continues to cultivate her style […] Denmark based singer/songwriter with a jazz background is even more fearless and abstract than before” […] in the outstanding expression of the voice, that plays along with a small group- keys, guitar, and drums – that has played and produced in many layers. ” – Helsingin Sanomat. Finland.
Her debut album”Our Garden” was released in 2011 with an exquisite response. There were altogether 11 musicians appearing on the album, among them Danish Music Grammy winner August Rosenbaum (DK) on piano, international names like Francesco Bigoni (ITA) on saxophone, Joel Illerhag (SE) on bass and Håkon Berre (NOR) on drums. With an open mind towards different musical expressions, the music can be described as modern alternative jazz.
About Our Garden
“… Johanna Elina opens her debut album in superior fashion, full of originality and feeling of the simple melody and a cream of the crop accompaniment from the orchestra around her.” – Christian Munch-Hansen. Politken.DK
“ Exciting new voice on the Danish jazz scene is bidding fall welcome with a confident and compassionate debut… that goes against the institutional jazz diva affectations, and gives space for independent and original songwriting.” – Geiger. DK
“Johanna Elina has set an ambitious and high standard. It is music with depth, which insists on being listened to.” Jazz Nytt, DK.
IKI is boiling intuition and EXPLODING improvisation! It evolves and transforms singing, and brings it into new, uncharted territories.
IKI is an improvising vocal ensemble consisting of 6 female vocalists from Denmark, Norway and Finland based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The band came together in 2009 and has since then appeared on Nordic national TV and radio, and their curious and intuitive approach to music has brought them to concert venues and festivals all around the Nordic countries and further down in Europe.
The ensemble works with a philosophy of being present and composing music on the spot. It is in an ongoing exploration of the human voice with its many facets and sounds. Musically IKI takes influences from different genres such as modern jazz, classical compositions, pop, folk and avant-garde. The young women’s deep Nordic roots shine through every aspect of their music, and could be described as Björk meets CocoRosie and Arvo Pärt.
They released their debut album in 2011, for which they won a Danish Music Award for «Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year». Their second album, Lava, was released in November 2014. Their third album ‘ORACLE’ will be released the 23rd MARCH 2018. www.ikivocal.com
Tomasz Stańko Experience
Lengendary free jazz trumet player and ECM artist, Tomasz Stanko, with a group of younger highly accomplished musicians from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Poland. The Group played it’s first tour in Denmark during the Copenhagen Vinter Jazz Festival 2016 and received among other praise a 5 star review from Danish national newspaper, Berlingske, at a sold out concert in Copenhagen Jazz House.
Read the reviews here:
5 star review of The Tomasz Stanko Experience from Berlingske Tidende Review Berlinske Tiderne
4 Hearts review of The Tomasz Stanko Experience from Politiken. “Strength of the concert was the democratic nature, where intensive listening played a big role… Johanna Elina Sulkunen spread out her voice also appeared with Dadaist cascades and also added text to her singing in her
beautiful composition ‘Circles’.
Tomasz Stanko (Pl) – trumpet
Tomasz Dabrowski (Pl) – trumpet
Snorri Sigurðarson (Is) – trumpet
Thomas Hass (Dk) – tennor sax
Johanna Sulkunen (Fi) – vocal
Artur Tuznik (Pl) – piano
Martin Fabricius (Dk) -vibes
Stian Svenson (No) – guitar
Richard Anderson (Dk) – bass
Radek Wosko (Pl) -drums
Joel Illerhag Nephilim Ensemble
The scandinavian bazantar-player Joel Illerhag is leading his own choir with five female voices that sing songs that are influenced by folk, jazz and contemporary music genres. Their music is a search for an emotional and spiritual depth in the sound, exploring new paths of playing together.
Johanna Elina Sulkunen, voice
Aki Rissanen, keyboards
Joonas Leppänen, drums
Not always serious and sad, filled with saunasweat and vodka, Plastic Island’s music is also taking a format of a beautiful song, sometimes of a more abstract sound collage. Filled with improvisation, risk taking, and raw energy.
Plastic Island released their self-titled debut EP on 18th November 2016 on Danish DME label. Release concert will take place on 20th November in Tenho Restobar, Helsinki.
The members of the band are originally from Finland but at the moment spread in Europe; Copenhagen, and Helsinki.
Johanna Elina Sulkunen– voice
Aki Rissanen– piano/ synths www.akirissanen.com
(known from the collaborations with Dave Liebman, Rick Margitza, Tim Hagans, Magnus Broo, Jim Beard, Verneri Pohjola, Juhani Aaltonen.)
Joonas Leppänen– drums
Big Blue, Jukka Perko…