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Riikka is not a newcomer to the Finnish music scene. Known from such heavyweights as Värttinä and the Adiemus Singers, it is clear that she has cut her teeth in a scene that is without a doubt rewarding and demanding at the same time. Nevertheless, “Käenkukuntayöt”, released by Aito Records in Finland in April 2008, is Riikka’s first as a solo artist.

Six years in the making, “Käenkukuntayöt” is an astonishingly well-crafted debut. That, of course, does not come as a shocking surprise given Riikka’s extensive career as a member of various top billing groups. On her solo debut, Riikka comes through as an experienced vocalist with remarkable depth and artistic range. The world music flavours are there, as are elements from contemporary experimental pop music. It is remarkable how fresh her music sounds. There is no sense of overriding professionalism on the expense of the feeling here, but rather a well-formulated balance of both.

“Käenkukuntayöt” is, as Riikka herself puts it, “essentially an album by a girl who likes poems and pretty songs”. True, there is something old-fashioned in the emotional honesty of the record, yet this is very much music that moves forward instead of going retro. Acoustic meets electric in a world where the craft of songwriting reigns supreme.

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