Photo: Sami Mannerheimo
Jarmo Saari Republic is a supergroup built on the praised solo project Jarmo Saari Solu and branching out its experimental, lyrical and hypnotic soundscapes. Saari is a musician, composer and producer, and his CV includes shows in more than 30 different countries and appearances on well over 100 albums. Saari dreamed about this dream team for ten years, before it finally came into being in 2012, and it was Tampere Jazz Happening in November 2013 that saw the first gig of these “soldiers of light”.
Miles Davis and Jimi Hendrix never had a chance to realise their ideas about collaboration, but luckily Jarmo Saari Republic has come forth to prevent such wrongs from occurring in the Finnish scale. The essence of the band lies in its versatile musicians, dynamic communication and unusual instrumentation. Each of the members has been working in the field of Finnish music already for two decades and with an exceptionally wide scope.
Jarmo Saari (b. 1970) is one of the most original guitarists of his generation. His musical visions have found an outlet in both his solo work and the bands Trubamolli, Filmtet, ZataBoo and XL. Saari is known for his visual compositional style and layered sound collages made with guitar and vocals, but also with a number of more unlikely instruments, such as theremin, baroque cello, trombone and glass harp. He has collaborated as a musician and composer with the following artists, for example: Jukka Perko, Tero Saarinen Company, Anna-Mari Kähärä, Trilok Gurtu, The Tapiola Choir, Pekka Kuusisto, Nils Landgren, Emma Salokoski, Felix Zenger, Meta4 String Quartet, UMO Jazz Orchestra, Mika Kaurismäki Pepe Deluxe and Tuomari Nurmio. In 2012, Saari was awarded with a Finland Prize by the Ministry of Education and Culture for artistic activity.
Sami Kuoppamäki, Olavi Louhivuori and Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa have earlier worked with such bands and artists as Kingston Wall, Oddarrang, Giant Robot, Kimmo Pohjonen, Fat Beat Sound System, Ilmiliekki Quartet, Tomasz Stanko, Nuspirit Helsinki, Tuomo, Anssi Tikanmäki’s Film Orchestra and Von Hertzen Brothers.
Why these three drummers, Jarmo Saari? – We have an abundance of skilled drummers in Finland, but it was this dream line-up with whom we finally got to try out the mad concept. I was given a Versoul baritone guitar by a number of friends for my 40th birthday, and I was honoured to hear Kuoppis and Mamba play in two sets in my birthday jam session. It was incredible to see it click between them! The rootsy and virtuosic Kuoppis and the intensely unpredictable Olavi play together with a wonderful flow, while Mamba seasons this soulful cake with earthy spices.
The debut album was released in 2014 by the label Rockadillo Records, and it was well-reviwed. The new album is set to release in the beginning of 2019 and the EP will be realeased at the Pori Jazz Festival this summer.