Erja Lyytinen brings Finnish blues to Brighton

European Blues Award-winner Erja Lyytinen returns to the UK in March, with dates including Brighton, Komedia on Monday, March 18.

Erja Lyytinen by Tina Korhonen
Erja Lyytinen by Tina Korhonen

Erja will release her new studio album in 2019 on her own record label Tuohi Records. The new album will feature guest performances from Sonny Landreth and Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson). The album will include Erja’s two new singles Without You and Another World, which were released digitally in 2018.

“Another World has a lot of meanings,” says Erja “First of all, it is a love story. It’s a dream about loving somebody in another dimension, because it´s not possible in this world. I have always loved sci-fi movies, so I wanted to add something extra-terrestrial and supernatural to the video, too.

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“It also points out how important it is for us to be aware of environmental aspects. Do we need to find another planet someday to be able to breathe? All this has been wrapped together by these two worlds happening at the same time, and how in the end it is important that we as lovers, and as a human race, could survive.”

“We added big guitars on the track and it has a guitar solo inspired of blues rock - guitarists such as Eric Gales and Jimi Hendrix. The melodic 80s rock music was also a source of inspiration while writing the song. Heart is one of my all-time favourite rock bands, and when performing their hit song Alone on Stars Stars on National TV last year, it kind of brought me back to that music style.

“I did my first solo album in 2003, and in 2005 I got a contract to a German label and made a bunch of records for them, and then I put my own together. It has been a busy ten to 15 years. But every album is different. Every album is a different baby.”

Erja is originally from the eastern part of Finland, close to the Russian border, but she moved to Sweden before moving to Helsinki to pursue her music education: “Helsinki is very vibrant. We have a lot of different types of music, a lot of jazz and so on, and Finland is very well known for its heavy metal music.

“I am a blues rocker, I would say. Why I got the blues is a question I have pondered. It’s just the feeling. I just kind of had it when I was 18 or 19. I think I experienced a bit of a heavy time in my life, and for me the blues was about healing those wounds. I remember seeing Ray Charles playing on VHS. It was the feeling. It was the interpretation. He was singing Georgia On My Mind. It was so pure and so honest, and I just thought ‘I want that feeling.’ I wanted to do music that was deep and emotional, music that had meaning.”

Which isn’t to say that the blues is solely about sad emotions.

“It is also about joy and lust and happiness, and it is about sharing that with other people.”

Erja recognises that there is a very distinctive British blues. Plus, of course, there is the American blues, the blues that went around the world.

“I live in a dark, sad country. I think the Finnish blues would be a bit Slavic. There is a tone of that. But I have also respected the American tradition and the British tradition, but I guess there is also a bit of Finnish blues inside me.”