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Interview : Mia Simanainen from Ahava


When and how was your band created?
Ahava was put together when rehearsing for our first concert in March 1999.
I collected the musicians.

Was the choice to become professional difficult to make?
After beginning to study singing and music, it has been quite clear to me to become a professional singer and musician. Of course there must be enough talent and courage behind that choice.. basically, I always thought I will manage.

What musicians or artists did have a major influence in your life / work?
There are so many different influences and they have varied from time to time. First, I think, it was mainly classical music that inspired me, then some pop singers and as I became more familiar with jazz I first listened to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Keith Jarrett.

What are the positive and negative aspects of being a musician / singer (in Finland)?
Same than almost everywhere if you represent "minority music". In Finland we just don't have enough people to listen to different styles of jazz and new music. In others, music-making can happen at very intimate stages, which is nice.

How could you qualify your style of music?
Today's music inspired by jazz, Finnish folk and other ethnic styles.
Improvisation. Timeless stories, symbolism. Classical dynamics, modern harmonies, breathing rhythm. Some would say shortly: nordic jazz, I could say: Finnish jazz.

Have you ever considered the possibilty to change totally your style of music? If so, what style of music would you choose?
There is no possibility for that, because I am creating music which reflects my own personality -it's not easily changeable. But I love e.g. soul music which is very different from my own style.

What are stories/topics you tell/treat in your songs?
The stories are often symbolic expressions, almost dream-like stories and visions about nature and people (and other living forms in fairytales).

What is your favorite song in your repertoire and why?
To me there is not a favorite song forever, it depends on the situation, time and place. Any song from my repertoire (cd) could be the favorite one.

Do you tour regularly? Do you actually prefer performing your music live or in a studio?
I love to work in a studio and I love to perform. the possibilities for both are rare. So I would not say I tour regularly but as often as possible.

During the process of making an album, what is the moment that you prefer?
I love every moment, it really is a dream coming true, when I have a possibility to sing, perform and record my own music.

What kind of music / What artists do you currently listen?
Many styles from jazz to classical music. Like nancy Wilson, Joni mitchell, Betty Carter, Keith Jarrett, Chet Baker, David Liebman, Maurice Ravel, Rachmaninov etc.etc.

What are your actual and future projects?
Arranging a tour for Ahava, recording with an a cappella jazz vocal group and to perform Ahava music with a small chamber-orchestra.

A stupid question but... what is among all the songs you've been listening in your life the BEST song?
There is not such as the best song. But ten years ago I would have named Keith Jarrett's My Song to be probably the best. Today it could be a Vince Mendoza-arrangement of Maurice Ravel's Pavane recorded by the WDR orchestra, solos played by David Liebman and Charlie Mariano!

Internet is something interesting for musicians because it gives them the opportunity to touch a larger audience but it is also a threat for them (regarding the copyrights). What is your opinion regarding this medium?
Well, I just hope it could give more than take. I am not much interested in computers and the possibilites of the internet, but still hope that somebody would find the website of Fiasko Records and Ahava, www.fiaskorecords.com, and perhaps would listen to the tracks of Ahava and then order a cd via internet or book us to perform at a festival somewhere and so on.

Do you use computers or home studios during the process of making an album or a song?
I use computer only for working out texts. For composing I need a real piano.

Interview by Vincent Lefrançois - 2002




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