The longer story in my own words:
Simanainen in Finnish means literally ’meadwoman’, but the name’s origins are in Karelia without the funny meaning.
I started my passionate vocal studies in 1989 (with a singer I admired: Maija Hapuoja), continued in the Pop/Jazz Conservatory, had a chance to spend one year as an exchange student in Stockholm (Kungliga Musikhögskolan – loving my time there!), and finally took the Master’s degree at the Sibelius-Academy Jazz Music Department in 2000.
Even as a school-girl I widely experienced the music life by playing piano, participating successfully in vocal competitions and performing actively with choirs, vocal groups and later with bands. For the above-mentioned I must be extremely grateful to the Finnish educational system, music schools and their excellency – which are not supported by politics too self-evidently anymore.
As a young adult and student at the university, I dived into the aesthetical universe of jazz music and got a profound stylistic brain-wash (which I’m still happy about). However I carefully stayed open to ”the other”, different styles and directions, anything I was interested – the working possibilities, while at the same time started composing and creating my ”to-be-style”, a lot combined, more independently.
I’ve been working as a musician professionally for about 25 years. So I’ve composed and arranged music and written lyrics to all of my own groups and projects that I’ve been leading or co-leading since the year 1990. Ahava, the group I formed in 1999, worked as the main instrument for my expression over 10 years. Also I had great fun for years with the a cappella jazz vocal group JimJamMurMur, the winner of The International Vocal Competition in Tampere year 2003. Five years ago I called up a new very extraordinary group with a unique instrumentation: Quartet Ajaton. Thereafter I also started performing alone, and my solo concept has been under work ever since. A debut album will be out later this year, believe me or not.
I have worked as a featuring artist in different, often cross over groups and projects in jazz, folk/ethnic or classical music fields. Two years ago I made a joyful entrance into the combined arts theatre production Kolga by Myllyteatteri. And, to mention a couple of international music projects, there has been Adiemus (1997-2013) and the New Nordic Native Tour (2013). I’m also pleased to have worked for accordeonist Maria Kalaniemi and with jazz trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, to have sung with UMO Jazz Orchestra as a ’young soloist’, and done choirs on the album L’Insecurite by Galaxy, the band from Senegal. But this was long ago.
There are radio- and tv-broadcastings, dvd-documents and studio- or live-recordings available by most of the groups and projects I’ve been working with. Up to the present time I’ve performed all over in Europe, Mexico, Japan, Russia, and soon also in Benin. The venues have varied from festivals and clubs to galleries, churches and concert halls. My artistic work has been well-supported by several grants, this time by Arts Promotion Centre Finland for the whole year 2019. I’m happy and honored.
Last, not least, I teach voice and jazz singing at the Sibelius-Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki.