Erja Lyytinen – 20 Questions

Our favourite Finn is back in the UK to tour and she very kindly provided these responses to one of Pete’s question sets. Good luck with the tour, Erja and thanks from us: 

  • Which song of yours do you find yourself explaining the most?  Why might that be?

Grip Of The Blues. I have been always good pickin´ up others emotions, and I´m very emotional myself too. This song is about how betraying people can be, and how treating someone mean can put he/she really in to a dark place, and give you the bad blues. But in the end, we all pay for our deeds.

  • Best film intro music? Who by? Was it better than the actual film?

Twin Peaks soundtrack really got me back in the 90´s. Music was mystic and interesting. Recently I´ve been watching Shaun the Sheep with my twin boys. The songs are well selected, and are entertaining for an adult too. And it´s also damn well done animation!

  • Favoured stage guitar(s)?  Why this choice?

G&L Asat Semi-hollow Z-3 Blue metal flake. It´s my favourite slide guitar and I´ve played almost all of my shows with it. The microphones are strong so they are well suited for distorted sound.

  • Is there a book or novel that you would love to be asked to contribute music or a score to?

I really like Caitlin Moran´s style of writing, she´s very funny! It would be fun to write music to “How to be a woman”. Caitlin, call me if you´re ever gonna do films!

  • Your favourite track on your latest recording? And why?

From “Live In London” I would choose Let It Shine. I wrote it years ago, inspired by Campbell Brothers and Robert Randolph. There´s a bit of gospel feel in it. It´s also  fun to play crazy wah-wah slide to it.

  • Nominate a favourite live album?  Which cuts should we make a point of hearing?

“These Songs For You, Live!” from Donny Hathaway. It´s a compilation CD of his some previously unreleased songs. “I Love You More Than You´ll Ever Know” is a deep track. There is so much feeling in his voice, it´s amazing. And knowing that he killed himself, it breaks my heart to listen the songs and thinking what was going on in his head.

  •  What determines your choice of stage attire? Any favoured colours or materials? Do you ever take advice from anyone, if so who?

I sometimes use stylists, but usually pick the pieces myself. When doing The Sky is Crying –  tribute tour for Elmore, I had a suite, a tie and a hat, like the blues men used to. I´ve tried a lot of different stage outfits, big skirts and glittery dresses. Black is my favourite colour. Some high quality leather clothes have been made for me by Pirjo Savolainen at Boutigue Bigarre, Helsinki.

  •  Tell us about a show you attended with low or no great expectations but were glad you attended…..when and where was this ?

I took my God daughter to see her favourite K-pop band called Led Apple in Helsinki Gloria. I had a little expectation, but it really was a good band and they sang well. What really amazed me was that how fanatic the young girls were about them.

  • Name three great recordings (track/artist/source album) with these words in the title  a/  Dark    b/  Summer   c/  Sky

a)    Dark Was The Night Cold Was The Ground by Blind Willie Johnson b)  Summer In The City by Lovin Spoonful

c) The Sky Is Crying by Elmore James

  • Tell us a great keyboard break we may never have heard  –  track / artist / source album please

There´s many we´ve already have heard..  there´s a Phil Collins style of a keyboard break in one of my songs “Jealousy”, in the album Forbidden Fruit, played by a world class keyboardist Harri Taittonen. As I don´t usually have keyboards with me, we don´t hear it live though.

  • The radio is on – what would you cross the room to turn up ? and what would you run across the room to turn off ?

Everybody Wants to Rule The World by Tears For Fears. Nostalgic! I love the 80´s!

And if it´d be Britney Spears, or something light pop, I would turn it down, it´s just not my thing.

  •  Can you dance? Do you dance?

I did Dancing With Stars in Finland in 2012 and I got to learn waltz, jive, foxtrot, latin etc. I kept on going to dancing lessons after the show, but after having twins, dancing was put on hold. But I´d like to start dancing soon again.

  •   Which recordings of yours show you at your most a/ aggressive  and b/ mellow?

Most aggressive live version of “The Sky Is Crying”. The song just keeps on growing. Most mellow I´d say “Voyager´s Tale”.  It´s based on a true story.

  •   Have you ever watched an entire TV series?  Which one? And was the music any good?

Sex and The City. Well the music was ok, but I liked the fact that women were having a great time, in every way! I think the serie really helped women globally to be themselves and be more demanding, and celebrate the femininity. It was a good thing in that way.

  • Skip James, Elmore James or Homesick James?  Say something about each if you wish…

Elmore James is one of my favourites. He had a raw, sharp voice, and a distinctive guitar sound. He played slide guitar that so many have tried to imitate. He recorded many blues songs which are kept as classics nowadays. Homesick James was Elmore´s cousin and they must have learned a lot from each other. Skip James knew how to play the most saddest country blues. Just listen to “Devil Got My Woman”!

  • Your favourite record label and why? I loved Elektra for its class and range

Stax Records.  They put out some great soul music that is still hot! And some great  blues too, like Albert King.

  • You get to duet with Michael McDonald on a song neither of you have recorded before…what is that song and who is in the band?

Heartbreaking ballad “Please Send Me Someone To Love” by Percy Mayfield. Band would be Willie Weeks, Steve Jordan and Chris Stainton. They all can play blues in an old school – and modern style.

  • Name a track by any artist that fades too early for you…..

Dire Straits “On Every Street”. It just gets going and then it´s gone. Beautiful guitar work!

  • Best wah wah guitar solo  ( barring Voodoo Chile!) by anyone

White Room, solo by Eric Clapton. And then everything that Wah Wah Watson does! I saw him play in LA, when I was studying in the Musician´s Institute, just great!

  • What three things do you aim to achieve in a live performance?

Great energy, interaction with the audience and a musical flow.

Pete Sargeant

Erja Lyytinen’s new live album ‘Live in London is out now on Tuohi Records in the following formats: CD/ DVD 2-disc set (DVD features the entire live set at the famous 100 Club in London, United Kingdom) and digital download. In addition, Erja and her band will be touring the UK in October 2015 at the following venues: 


Friday 2 OCTOBER

Box Office: 01325 363135 Book Online:

The Forum Music Centre, Borough Road, Darlington, Co. Durham, DL1 1SG


Saturday 3 October Book Online:

24a Guildford Street, Mill Yard, Luton LU1 2NR


Tuesday 6th October 2015    Book Online: Church Street, Grimsby, NE Lincs DN32 7DD


Wednesday 7 October

Box Office: 01902 401211 Book Online:

20-28 Mount Pleasant, Bilston, West Midlands WV14 7LJ


Thursday 8 October

Box Office: 0131 556 7060 Book Online:

19a West Register Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AA


Friday 9 October

Box Office: 01535 600310 Book Online:

Hall Of Fame Bar, Royd Ings Avenue, Keighley, BD21 3RF


Saturday 10 October

Box Office: 01263 741666

Book Online:


Monday 12 October

Box Office: 01865 244516 Book Online: www.wegottickets

Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1UE


Wednesday 14 October

Box Office: 07831338277 Book Online: www.wegottickets

The Railway Hotel, 140 High Street, WR114EJ


Thursday 15 October

Box Office: 0208 761 9078 Book Online:

Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6HF


Friday 16 October

Box Office: 0208 761 9078 Book Online:

Sutton, Surrey SM1 2EY


Saturday 17 October

Box Office: 01472 349222 Book Online:

1 Station Road, Chester, Cheshire West and Chester CH1 3DR


Sunday 18 October

Box Office: 01472 349222 Book Online:

Market Yard, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BE

For more information visit: 

(Thanks to Erja and Peter)