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Ken Wallis Chats With Finland's Blues Rocker Erja Lyytinen



Erja Lyytinen hails from Helsinki, Finland, and she is a whirlwind on slide guitar. She has toured the world, thrilling audiences whenever she straps on a guitar. Carlos Santana called her the future of the blues and gave her the nickname “Lightning”. She’s released an impressive catalogue of albums, and her latest hears her soar with powerful vocals and phenomenal guitar work.


Ken Wallis interviewed Erya Lyytinen for the radio show, BluesSource International, which can be heard as a podcast here on The Sound Cafe. The following are edited excerpts from that interview.




Ken Wallis

Erja Lyytinen has got a brand-new album out. It’s called Waiting For The Daylight and joining us, we are thrilled to have Erja Lyytinen here from Finland. Thanks for coming on the show.


Erja Lyytinen

My pleasure, thanks for having me.


Ken Wallis

The album is fantastic, and I love the title, Waiting For The Daylight. What's the significance of that?


Erja Lyytinen

It tells us a bit about this pandemic time where we were waiting for when we'll be able to go out and play for live audiences again. But, at the same token, it's kind of like a chivalry romantic song about this beautiful death coming to you and relieving you from your earthy pains. I've lost a couple of friends to long-term illnesses, so this track came very passionate in many ways. There's a lot of feelings to it.


Ken Wallis

And I understand what you were really trying to do was make a band album. You wanted a lot of musicians involved.


Erja Lyytinen

Well, I wanted my band to be involved in this whole album, and really, it's a very tight album. Once I had finished my pre-production, we started to play these songs and rehearse them in the rehearsal studio before entering this recording studio. The actual recording session at Hollywood House Studios was easy-going. Probably the easiest I ever have had during my whole career, maybe because I was so ready with the whole project, and I was doing the pre-production. So, I kind of already heard the songs and how they would sound when we finished.


Ken Wallis

And the album is filled with some of my favourite guitar licks, boy it's a guitar driven album.


Erja Lyytinen

Yeah, there's a lot of guitar. I played electric guitar on every song and I'm a guitar player and I enjoy it very much. I was pushing myself to kind of play differently, so I wasn't just gonna be satisfied with my old usual. I was trying to bring something new to the table, and so I was pushing myself quite a bit on this one, but I think it was all worthwhile.


Ken Wallis

I saw you at the Southside Shuffle, in Port Credit, Canada a couple of months ago and you looked like you just love being on stage. The energy flowing out from you towards the audience was amazing.


Erja Lyytinen

I simply love playing live. It's a unique experience each night. All the audiences are different, and you feel differently each night. It's very fascinating what happens between the audience and the artist or the band, and I just simply like that interaction we create together. I started to perform live when I was 15 years old. I joined my parents dance music band here in Finland and I learned a lot just by watching them perform.


Ken Wallis

Do you feel there's a difference between audiences in Europe and in North America? Canada specifically as you toured with Downchild for quite a while.


Erja Lyytinen

I simply love Canada and I cannot wait to come back next year for some festivals again. I think everywhere in the world, the music is really universal. Blues and Blues Rock is very universal, there's always people who really enjoy that. In Canada I feel like you really appreciate this kind of music, and you can feel it on stage.


Ken Wallis

And all of us were faced with the lockdown. It was a tough time, no music, no live music. What did you do during the pandemic?


Erja Lyytinen

Well, it kind of changed the schedules and we had to rearrange all these shows. I think we had to postpone like 80 or 100 shows. It was just nuts, but meanwhile we were trying to do streaming gigs and I also created my own tea brand. So nowadays I'm a tea ambassador, so to speak. We sell it on my web shop at erjalyytinen.com/store, and then I also came up with tutorial books of my songs for guitar players. We published this biography, a book of my career and it's in English now, so we were keeping busy trying to do bits and pieces here and there.


Ken Wallis

They're calling you The Queen Of The Slide Guitar over in Europe. Is there one guitarist that you admire the most?


Erja Lyytinen

Well of course I need to say my father. Daughters always admire their fathers, and my father is a great guitar player, but if I have to take somebody else, I would say Eric Gale. He's amazing and we played the same festival this summer in Sweden, and I got to meet him. His playing is amazing, and he has so much soul and heart in his playing, and that's the same thing I want to do when I'm on stage. I'm trying to be there like 110 percent and just give out whatever I'm feeling at that moment.


Ken Wallis

Eric is going to be on the Buddy Guy farewell tour, which will be fantastic to see. I understand that Carlos Santana gave you a bit of a nickname.


Erja Lyytinen

He did. I had a great honour to open for him here in Helsinki in front of 20, 000 people and he was watching my show and came to me after the show and talked very beautiful things to me. Later on, I was invited on stage with him in front of that huge audience, and it was just an amazing experience. It felt so natural at the same time when I when I was like “oh my God what's happening”, it just felt really easy going and natural at the same time.


Ken Wallis

Most importantly, where can fans get a hold of your album?


Erja Lyytinen

It's digitally available on streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple Music. You can also get it from my website at erjalyytinen.com. And of course, we have a YouTube channel where you can go and have a look at my music videos. We’ve made three music videos for this album.


Ken Wallis

Erja thank you so much for your time. I really enjoyed meeting you and I hope to see you in Canada soon


Erja Lyytinen

Thank you so much Ken





Website: erjalyytinen.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/erjalyytinen

Twitter: twitter.com/erjalyytinen