Raoul Björkenheim

guitarist/ composer

Kuva/ Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

Raoul Björkenheim, born in L.A. in 1956, belongs to the group of the best jazzguitarists in Finland though he has spent all his life between two continents travelling between Helsinki and New York all the time. Björkenheim studied guitar first at the Conservatory of Helsinki and continued later at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, U.S.. In 1981 he returned to Helsinki and has since worked actively on the field of Finnish music and developed his brave guitarism even further.

Björkenheim has been an important founder in several groups, such as in Sound and Fury formed with Edward Vesala and in Krakatau, one of the most long-living bands of Björkenheim. Several significant recordings for the German record label ECM with Edward Vesala and Krakatau guaranteed for Björkenheim the attention of the international audience and collaboration with the leading jazzmusicians.

Today Björkenheim performs mostly with the Scorch Trio, Ecstasy Quartet, Hamid Drake and the trios of William Parker and as a sologuitarist with different productions. Besides the work with the jazz ensembles, Björkenheim has worked as a soloist for several orchestras, such as Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra, UMO Jazz Orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic.

Björkenheim has been awarded with i.a. Georgie Award as the Jazz Musician of the Year in 1984, the Emma Prize for the Jazz Composition of the Year and the Young Finland Award in 1996.