Tuomo aka. Tuomo Prättälä (known also by artist name Pratt) is a Finnish soul singer, keyboard player and jazz musician, who has played an active role in the local funky scene during the last decades but moving into a more international approach and audience through the years. Originally he made his reputation in the end of the 2000’s as part of the neo soul group Quintessence as well as the funk outfit The Q-Continuum, which was based on the aforementioned, before launching his solo career.
The year 2007 debut My Thing is one of the Finnish soul classics and it is still the most succesful album of Tuomo. After the release, his effort spent 15 weeks altogether on the official Finnish album chart peaking at the #8 position at its best. It was published just before the international retro soul boom, and the sound inspired by the 60’s and 70’s was received with lots of love both by audience and critics. Very soon after the release, there was also another album drawing public attention as the self-titled debut album of Huba, led by singer and composer Tuomas Kaila, was issued. Tuomo had a remarkable role in this outfit as well as a keyboard player and co-vocalist.
The first two solo albums by Tuomo were reissued in Japan, where he has also been touring twice. On his next efforts, which have equally all rose to the official Finnish album chart and received critical acclaim, Tuomo’s style has evolved step by step more into electronic soul. Most clearly this can be heard on his most recent productions on his own Polygamy Records label, such as the Quarantine Music project released on Bandcamp in 2020 and his series of digital singles/EPs in 2021. He is currently working on his next album.
In 2016, Tuomo collaborated singer-songwriter Markus Nordenstreng for the album Dead Circles, which was released under the name Tuomo & Markus and recorded in Arizona. Their Americana-styled music combines folk rock psychedelia with soul, blues, rhythm’n’blues and other forms of so called roots music. In 2018, the duo performed live on the famous Seattle-based KEXP media channel. They’ve also collaborated with Timmion Records as Pratt & Moody on a side project that has been received well among followers of the Californian “low rider soul” scene.
Prättälä has had remarkable roles also in the bands Paleface & Räjähtävä Nyrkki, The Northern Governors, Emma Salokoski Ensemble, Huba, Ilmiliekki Quartet and MP4. He also composes and produces other acts. Sony Finland and Jazz Finland awarded him in March 2007 with the Sony Jazz Award. Among the many lineups, which he has been part of, he has often been one of the candidates for the EMMA Award (similar to Grammys) as well as been granted the Teosto Prize by the Finnish copyright society, The Young Artist of the Year by Finland Festivals and the Ted Curson Prize by Pori Jazz Festival. Prättälä has also been one of the musicians on albums by Olavi Uusivirta, Scandinavian Music Group, Vesa-Matti Loiri ja Pepe Ahlqvist to name a few.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland
Main photo: Tero Ahonen