Born in Rovaniemi, a small town on the Arctic Circle in northern Finland, fretted/fretless guitarist and oudist Jussi Reijonen is truly the product of a world with few frontiers. Having grown up moving back and forth between Finnish Lapland, the Middle East, and East Africa, and currently living in Boston MA, USA, Jussi has spent his life soaking up the sounds, scents and shades of Nordic, Middle Eastern, African, and now American culture, which are all reflected in his music.
Along his path, Jussi has worked – as bandleader, sideman, composer or arranger – with numerous front row artists both in and outside his native Finland, and has performed extensively in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, France, Lebanon and the United States. After relocating to the US in 2008, he has had the honor of performing with the likes of renowned jazz drummer Jack deJohnette, flamenco cantaor legend Pepe de Lucia, Spanish multi-Grammy-award-winning producer and flamenco guitarist Javier Limón, Palestinian oud/violin master Simon Shaheen, fretless guitar pioneer David Fiuczynski, Turkey’s gypsy clarinet legend Hüsnü Senlendirici, and Lebanese nay virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Bassam Saba, to name a few.
Tracing the various branches of his roots, Jussi has been chasing his muse and has started to become profiled more and more as a genuine modern world musician. With his own Quintet as his main forum for exploring his own voice as composer, arranger and instrumentalist, he has been working to combine his myriad influences into his own unique musical handwriting. Bringing together five seasoned musicians from Finland, Turkey, Sweden, Palestine and Spain – Utar Artun on piano, Bruno Råberg on acoustic bass, and Tareq Rantisi and Sergio Martinez on percussion – the group traverses the boundaries between musical cultures, paying tribute to the traditions of American and Scandinavian jazz and the folk musics of the Middle East and Africa in its search for new sounds and textures. Reijonen’s original music draws from a wide pool of influences and experiences gathered growing up on four different continents; in both his original compositions and his playing, the open spaces and silences of Scandinavia effortlessly rub shoulders with the maqamat of the Arab world and the rhythmic richness of India and West Africa, creating a truly enchanting musical mosaic.