Saarnaja is a Helsinki-based band that, after a few rehearsals, came about in the summer of 2009. Most of the band members have had long careers as musicians, and the idea was to create something new and liberating in the music scene. The band’s music has been described as Spiritual Punk.

Originally, the band’s name was Kypsat Miehet (Kypsa has a double meaning: ripe or bored, Miehet means men) and the band members set out to play HC punky stuff. However, in the studio, the songs became more off-beat. Rähjä had brought some of his poems with him, which he mainly read and sometimes screamed, while the band created the sound of Saarnaja.

Saarnaja was initially Timo Kiiskinen and Seppo “Sidi” Vainio’s idea. They met in Oulu, Finland, where Sidi lives. Sidi played drums in the first Finnish punk record with Briard (Pete “Raka” Malmi: vocals, Andy McCoy: guitar, Sidi: drums) in 1977. Timo is an awardwinning songwriter and has produced a number of solo albums.

Timo and Sidi wanted to play old-school punk with new energy and asked Petri “Rähjä” Räisänen, Timo’s old friend and co-singer in their band, Korpivaara, to sing for Saarnaja. Sidi asked his old friend, Hannu Vikki, from Toolo, Helsinki, to play bass. Hannu had played in many bands in the past and used to hang out in Lepakko (a squat house where punks gathered in the 80s).

The band had their first few rehearsals in April, 2009 and made four songs. The nature of the lyrics, which are spiritual, yet twisted, and the music create a sound that brings a punky shaman to the imagination, leading some to label the music as Spiritual Punk. Rähjä’s style of singing is also a combination of 60s Beat poetry and HC-punk screaming, which makes it sound quite novel when compared to typical punk groups.

14 tracks were recorded live at Era Mikkola’s studio in Lauttasaari, Helsinki over a period of two three-day sessions.

Saarnaja members:

Vocals: Petri “Rähjä” Räisänen. Rähjä also sings in a punk band called A-Olut in Helsinki, but he is better known for his long career as a yoga teacher.
Guitar: Kiisken Timo. Timo has released many solo albums, and has composed and written numerous songs for popular Finnish artists. He also sings in the orchestra called Chet.
Bass: Hande Virkki. Hande is an old Lepakko veteran, and was involved in Shadowplay and Maukka Perusjatka, popular 80s bands.
Drums: Seppo “Sidi” Vainio. Sidi played drums for the legendary first punk record with Briard in Finland, at the end of the 70s.

Bukowski – mp3
Fossiilit – mp3
Luulevat sitä elämäksi – mp3

Saarnaja info:

Petri “Rähjä” Räisänen
Ratakatu 5B 19
00120 Helsinki
+358 40 57 25 113