Maria Hänninen is a singer-songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist. Alongside her strong vocals you can see bass, guitar and violin in her hands, sometimes even percussions and piano. Guess that the definition of multi-purpose machine can be used, when describing her versatility.
She has appeared on over 130 records throughout the years, toured and performed with many Finnish and international top artists and groups. To mention a few: the late Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep), Corky Laing (Mountain, West, Bruce& Laing), Finnish legends such as Dave Lindholm, Pelle Miljoona, Freud, Marx, Engels & Jung, Hector, Liisa Akimof, Erja Lyytinen, Jake’s Blues Band, Riku Niemi Orchestra, Hannu Leidén (Havana Black), Michael Monroe etc.
At the moment she is mainly concentrating on her new hard/classic rock band Mount Mary (est. 2019). Mount Mary’s debut album (self-titled) was released in January 2021, and it has received an excellent welcome, getting airplay all over the world. Not only is she the songwriter of all tracks and the lead vocalist; this time also GibsonSG in her hands, heavy riffing and even some solo’s for the first time. At the moment MM is working on their second album.
She feels most home with hard/classic rock and bluesy, soulful roots music, but throughout the years all kinds of genres have become familiar to her.
Piano was her first instrument. Thought they at first didn’t have a piano at home, she could go and practice with their neighbour’s piano. There she made her first own song, at the age of eight. She studied piano with a private teacher for few years, and alongside piano playing came the studies of classical violin and music theory in a music school.
At the age of 15 she had a chance to try out singing with a local rock band, and that sparked in her to really start making her own songs and getting into the singing more and more. Rock, blues and soul grew more important to her, and she quit the violin studies at the age of 16, swearing that she would never touch that instrument again. But later on she has found herself playing the violin, by ear, in many bands and recordings. Never say never.
The first band she joined in, at the age of 18,was called Fargon, and they made a vinyl single of their own songs, selling it in the local stores of this little country village, Rantasalmi.
After graduating from Rantasalmi Senior High School she moved to Helsinki to study at Oulunkylä Pop-Jazz School, concentrating on singing. That is where she also learned some drum playing as well.
Experience with violin got her interested in bass and guitar playing later.
She also studied sound engineering at Finnish Broadcasting Company’s college, graduated from there, and has also been working as a sound engineer in TV and radio. Some complementary studies of sound engineering/producing at Sibelius Academy helped a lot in her work, especially in mixing bands on air in the music shows of popular Radio Mafia (YLE, Finnish Broadcasting Company).
The will and desire to be on the other side of the microphone grew so heavy, that after three years in the radio she completely started concentrating on her career as a musician.
Songwriting has always been very important for her.
Besides being involved in many other artist’s recordings, she has also released four solo albums in Finnish and one in English.
© Copyright Jiri Halttunen
Noora is a troubadour, who has been performing with different groups for over 20 years. Noora started to play the violin at the age of six. In her teens she used to sneak into her big brother’s room and taught herself to play the electric guitar. Noora’s professional career took off, when a Polish big band leader asked Noora to perform with Rantakylä’s big band, and soon Noora was a part of different jazz groups performing in Finland and abroad.
When Noora started to write her own songs it became clear that the music style was rock. Noora set up a band called Valve and after a few years of touring and writing songs the band ended up winning The Best Demo Band in Finland – contest aired on TV2. At the same time Noora performed with different cover bands and as troubadour. Noora studied international development work and her adventures have taken her and her guitar from Nairobi Kibera slum to the prisons of Palestine.
Currently Noora performs as a troubadour and is a part of ”Sairaan kauniit” duet with an amazing accordion player Heli Siekkinen. Noora can also be seen in flamenco productions and she was the lead singer in Anna-Mari Laulumaa’s ”Echos from the Cells of Patarei” production, which took place in Tallinn Patarei prison in 2020.
Music has been in Tea Salo’s life since early childhood. From the age of three Tea performed songs from Katri Helena & Boney M in her family’s living room. The audience, her family, had to sit quietly during the performance and after the show, they were told to give a round of applause by the artist herself.
Tea started playing piano with a private teacher at the age of six. Later she applied to a local music school and begun playing clarinet. Tea went on with her music career and proceeded to study in a conservatorium in Lahti to become a music pre school teacher. Tea taught music for several years in the same music school where she started her career at the age of nine. Nowadays Tea works as a youth leader and continues her studies of social work.
Tea’s first band started to play together around the millennium. Since then, Tea has been performing in many different groups and projects. In 2010 Tea’s Half Acoustic (THA) was formed, and the band is still going strong. Tea participated in the TV-show Voice of Finland in 2013 where she was a part of Michael Monroe’s team. Tea performed in the duels but got cut out just before the live shows.
In the year 2019 Tea’s life almost ended. She had a serious heart attack. She collapsed during shopping in a local market. Her heart stopped beating for over 30 minutes. Luckily help came quickly. Tea was rushed into a hospital where she went through an emergency operation to save her life. She was in a coma and in a respirator. For a few days, no one knew if she was ever going to wake up again. But against all odds, she survived and recovered. She came back from the dead.
Tea has been composing original music with her guitarist husband Petri. When the covid-19 pandemic wiped out all the live-shows, Tea had time to organize her band to record original music. In May 2021 Tea’s Half Acoustic released their debut album “Moving”. The album has been a small success in the Finnish blues scene and has gained some attention also abroad. THA’s music is based on rhythm & blues, with a touch of soul & rock, layered with a hint of country & pop.
Tea is a versatile and powerful singer. She has been singing pop, rock, soul, hard rock, jazz, blues, country and so much more. Tea’s musicality and distinctive, rough & recognizable voice has delighted audiences throughout the country.
Hannu spent his childhood and youth on the eastern border of Finland, Lappeenranta. He attended a music class at his elementary school and studied various classical instruments at a music college. He enjoyed choral singing from an early age in the local children’s choir and later in the youth chamber choir. As a teenager, he found rock music, got a guitar and started making his own songs and also played drums in the band.
After moving to Helsinki, Hannu continued his band hobby; he was e.g. as a bassist-singer in a rock trio (The Sun) like his great role model Sting. The goal, of course, was a great international rock star career. While studying singing at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory, he met Essi Wuorela, who in the fall of 1998 told about an a cappella band called Rajaton who needed a new tenor. He went to the audition and immediately realized that he wants to be involved in making music like that. The band seemed really determined and ambitious, and its members were (and still are, increasingly) great singers, great personalities and nice company.
Rajaton has supplanted his other music projects. In addition to singing, he does compositions and arrangements for Rajaton, and when the opportunity arises, he also gives training to other bands. He no longer dreams of being a rock star, fortunately Through a couple of decades, he has been able to make better music for his work than he could even dream of when he was younger.
Hannu and Erkki have some history together and with this HiSQ song they are back together again. They had a great time in the studio with Janne Oinas recording Hannu’s vocals.
Marko Hietala has used the name Marco Hietala for most of his musical career. He started a band called Tarot in Kuopio, Finland, with his brother Zachary. Playing bass and singing was Marco’s thing. He moved to Nightwish in 2002 and stayed in the lineup for nearly 20 years.
His first solo album Mustan sydämen rovio was released in 2019 in Finnish and the next year in English (Pyre of the Black Heart). He has been a member of Sapattivuosi and Northern Kings and also in 2022 Marko takes part in Raskasta Joulua (Heavy Xmas), a tour where great singers and musicians perform Christmas songs as heavy versions.
Hailed as Buffalo’s First Lady of Rock, Jessie Galante has been captivating audiences with her powerhouse vocals and stunning stage presence. A voice that has been compared with the raw power of Anastasia mixed with the soulfulness of Aretha Franklin, Jessie sings from the depths of her soul, with vocals ranging from tender, sultry and sensual; to fierce, spine-tingling, electric with unbridled emotion.
As a young woman, she broke away from her strict Sicilian upbringing to unleash a voice that could move mountains. She was propelled to early success with the Buffalo band Actor, as the region’s #1 female vocalist, receiving prolific radio play on the top stations. A moved to LA propelled her to stardom with the band Fire, gaining international appeal and regional acclaim. Galante was described by Music Connection magazine as, “Arguably one of the hoPest front women LA has to offer.
In the late ‘90s, Jessie returned to Buffalo to concentrate on her solo career, collaborating with multiplatinum award winning Engineer/ Producer Larry Swist (career highlights: Tina Turner, Spyro Grya, Lou Gramm). The two fell deeply in love, married, and moved to Europe to expand their dynamic careers. Jessie has captivated international audiences as the headliner of festivals and concert venues, sharing the stage with many renowned national acts.
Building on the success of her CD ‘Spitfire,’ Jessie and Larry fueled their creative passion into the CD ‘The Show Must Go On,’ backed by a highprofile production team, including Jack Daley (Lenny Kravitz, Beyonce), Rob Bailey (Anastasia, Jive Jones), and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Glen Hughes, Jack Blades).
Returning to the US in the summer of 2013, the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and Hard Rock Caf. (Niagara Falls USA) honored Jessie’s earlier induction into the Hall of Fame, with an elaborate public display of her memorabilia.
That year, life took a devastating swerve, with the passing of her beloved Larry. The loss of her husband, friend, mentor and soulmate impelled her to pause her creative pursuits, and sow her seeds of artistry deep within. As many artists discover—out of her period of darkness a more dazzling creative expression was born. With Larry as her inspiration, Jessie rose from her grief to complete their joint collaboration: ‘The Show Must Go On’ signing with Tanzan Music, Italy; and Anderstein Music, Japan – now released as a moving tribute to her beloved.
Rob Evans of Powerplay Rock Magazine (UK), praised it as “…a hardhi jng, punchy affair that sees Galante sounding uncannily similar to Anastasia. This is one of the finest vocal performances I’ve heard on an album this year; this girl simply oozes soul and power.”
Her inspiration continues with a stunning orchestral version of ‘Nights In White Satin,’ which evolved into a video masterpiece. Visually stunning, the scenes move like a hauntingly beautiful dream, through the historic landmarks of Buffalo—with Jessie’s voice telling a riveting story: an emotional serenade to her beloved, an ode to her grief, and a reconciliation of the power of enduring love.
Jessie lights up stages around the world, while continuing to be a fiery force in Buffalo’s music scene, spearheading several initiatives. She is the co-host and featured performer of the annual Christmas concert of MOB (Musicians of Buffalo), co-founded by long-time friends Billy Sheehan and Bobby Lebel. The MOB is in partnership with the Music Is Art Festival, founded by Goo Goo Dolls Robby Takac, to merge their support of Buffalo’s musical charities
Jessie’s big voice is her trademark: a consortium of pure strength, gorgeous fragility, inspirational vocal gymnastics and total control on breaking barriers that shows why stands in a class all by herself. If you ask Jessie about her voice she simply states, “I just love to sing.” My publishing company name says it all, “Mamma I Just Wanna Sing!”
Jessie is currently in studio writing, recording and releasing new material while planning European dates for 2023. Jessie shares: “My passionate musical journey continues, just like Larry always encouraged. ‘The Show Must Go On,’ and his love for life and music lives strong with every beat of my heart.”
Terri and Norman first met at a grand piano two years ago and have been making music together ever since.
Terri, a native of Chicago, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano and Vocal Performance. She comes from a long line of showboat performers which began with her great grandfather Billy Bryant in 1918. As Music Director, vocalist and pianist, Terri has performed in piano bar settings and with every type of band including Pop, Rock, Country and R&B, and in Musical Theater in New York and Chicago. Terri draws a crowd wherever she goes!
Norman, originally from Brooklyn, New York, holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed with people ranging from Sedaka to Stokowski in venues from the Copacabana to Carnegie Hall. Among Norman’s numerous hits is the multimillion seller “Knock Three Times” by Tony Orlando and Dawn. His music has been recorded by Sir Tom Jones, Meat Loaf, and Nick Lowe, to mention just a few.
Terri and Norman recently celebrated one year of marriage and are thrilled to present their first country music duet in the tradition of Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, “I’ll Never Let You Go”!