Raoul Björkenheim

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Raoul Bjorkenheim at Moers Festival 2006, Germany

Raoul Björkenheim (born 1956, Los Angeles) is a Finnish-American jazz guitarist. He was born to Finnish parents. His mother is actress/singer/ballet teacher Taina Elg (half Russian). He lived in the U.S. until he was 15 years old, when his family returned to Finland. He lived in Finland until 2001 when he moved to New York City.

Björkenheim had his breakthrough experience working with Finnish jazz, drummer Edward Vesala.[1] In the 1980s he played on three records under Vesala's leadership, including the first by Vesala's group Sound And Fury, Lumi (on ECM Records).

In the late 1980s Björkenheim left Vesala to start his own group, Krakatau. After two recordings issued initially only in Finland, Björkenheim reformed the group with all new personnel (other than himself). In the early 1990s the new Krakatau issued two recordings on ECM, after which it dissolved.

Subsequent projects have included the international group Phantom City, led by Paul Schütze; a collaborative recording with New York guitarist Nicky Skopelitis; and arranging and playing the music of Miles Davis's electric period with Finland's UMO Jazz Orchestra.

His recent collaborations include a Finnish Triad trio with Ilmari Heikinheimo (drums) and Ville Rauhala (double bass) and Ecstacy quartet with Pauli Lyytinen (saxophones), Jori Huhtala (bass) and Markku Ounaskari (drums). Before this, he had Scorch Trio many years with Norwegians Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums). In 2007 he recorded under the title Box with Trevor Dunn (bass), Ståle Storløkken (keyboards, electronics), Morgan Ågren (drums).The project was initiated by film-maker Philip Mullarkey to record and play live as part of the art/film project Box. Since then he has continued collaboration with local Finnish musicians UMO Jazz Orchestra, Kalle Kalima and Markus Holkko), as well as maintaining productive contacts with old New York colleagues William Parker and Hamid Drake.


  1. ^ Dorsch, Jim. "Raoul Björkenheim: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-22.

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