In vocalist-composer Riikka’s music, jazz aesthetic and improvisation fuses with evocative stories. Releasing her debut album 'A Vision of a Garden' in 2022, she’s one of the noteworthy and distinctive jazz influenced vocalists of the vibrant Finnish music scene.
Conceptually, 'A Vision of a Garden' is an expressive quartet album focusing on intuition and observations about love and its many faces. It is a modern jazz-inspired piece of music, with lyrics and musical storytelling at the center. The album aims to update the traditional vocalist-led jazz piano trio line-up to this day with new musical material: on the original songs of the album traditional standard structures have been abandoned in the forms of songs, creating new challenges and opportunities for band members to construct their improvisation. In addition to Riikka the quartet consists of young and respected front-line musicians pianist Juho Valjakka, double bassist Jori Huhtala and drummer Anssi Tirkkonen.
The main theme of the album is love. Its diversity is reflected in various phenomena and places: the journey passes through a Finnish nightless night to the dense rainforests of Cameroon, all the way back in time to the pharaohs and Queen Nefertiti. The original lyrics highlighting the strong emotional states of the album do not reveal their inside at once, rather the listener might want to to peel them layer by layer to find their own interpretation.
Through the years, Riikka has performed with various groups — for example the vocal ensemble Signe and the folkish Ylva Haru — and recorded on Finnish labels Eclipse Music and Soit Se Silti. In 2019, Signe garnered the Jazz-Emma nomination (the Finnish Jazz Grammy) as well as the Teosto Prize nomination for their To Sappho -album, and Ylva Haru delighted listeners on the national radio waves. In 2008, Riikka was the 2nd runner up in the Bothnian Jazz Competition for young soloists.
Riikka has performed internationally for audiences ranging from adventurous jazz enthusiasts to progressive contemporary classical listeners. Of her new recording Riikka says, “A Vision of a Garden presents a time in my life and what I've thought, experienced and learned. I've created both the music and the poetry to describe my introspection and observations.”