Before releasing any albums, Jätkäjätkät did live gigs for nearly five years with the name Asa & Jätkäjätkät performing songs by rapper Asa and playing as his live band both in Finland as well as abroad. The eclectic group fuses several genres together with Balkan influences and has commented that their original aim was to create modern day spelman music, where the Finnish roots and the local approach are essential. Thus, stylistyically Jätkäjätkät fits fluently into the world music context as well.
The lineup consists of rapper Asa (real name Matti Salo), singer and guitarist Puppa J (real name Janne Siro), percussionist and accordionist Rasmus Pailos, trombonist and flutist Erno Haukkala, keyboard and piano player Kim Rantala, drummer Ville Väätäinen, bassist Antti Kivimäki and percussionist Pekka Varmo. Earlier members include at least guitarist-bouzoukist Joska Josafat, drummer Jocke Bachmann and bassist Kari Hulkkonen. Besides Asa and Puppa J, some of the other members also occasionally do vocals in their songs.
Jätkäjätkät has released three well-acknowledged and respected albums. The debut Ykstoist ykstoist was issued on May 19th in 2010 soon after the band had headlined for example the Funky Elephant Festival in April. The sophomore effort Jatkojatkot was published the next year and the third, more heavy-hearted album Marian sairaala in 2013. Lately Jätkäjätkät has been working on their fourth album, which Puppa J has described to be more empowering than their last effort and focusing on the themes of friendship and cooperation. The release is scheduled for 2022.
Besides Asa, also Puppa J has a respected solo career with many albums under his belt. Members of Jätkäjätkät are also familiar from numerous well-establisehed groups and lineups, such as Asa & Band, Soul Captain Band, Paukkumaissi, The Soul Investigators, Laulurastas, Puppa J & Tasottavat, Liljan Loisto, Dalindèo, Astro Can Caravan, Laineen Kasperi & Palava Kaupunki, Dashing Waves, Giant Robot, Nuspirit Helsinki and The Five Corners Quintet.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland