KAMA Kollektiv is a multinational, jazzahead! showcase nominated group around young Finnish singer and trumpet player Kirsi-Marja “Kiki” Harju. The word „KAMA“ is Finnish for “things” or “stuff”, and it describes what the band’s music is about: the small things in life that are often so easily overlooked. Kiki tells stories – some in Finnish, some in English – about love and transformation, forests and animals, small everyday pleasures, and a mystical, romantic view of nature.
The music is a mesmerizing mixture of jazz, Nordic folk and indie pop. It takes you on a journey to fabulous lands and intense emotions. The band is based in Amsterdam, but Kiki’s songs are full of memories of the beautiful landscapes, dark forests and the icy frost of her homeland, Finland.
KOTI is the title of KAMA Kollektiv’s first album, which is a Finnish word for “home.” The group’s four musicians grew up in Finland, Israel, Germany and South-Korea, but they now all chose Amsterdam as their haven. Life experience has taught Kiki that home is more than a physical location. It is a feeling, a conception and most importantly, trust. And, after all, the band mates’ friendship also creates a feeling of being home, away from home. The album was released in March 2019 and since then the group has been touring in The Netherlands, Germany and Finland with full venues, great responses and have sold a great amount of albums.
In October 2020 KAMA Kollektiv recorded their second album TOIVO (meaning “hope” in Finnish) fully analog in The Lullabye Factory– studio in Amsterdam. The music on this second album is bringing together the confusion of the current international situation, desire for unity and hope in a musical tapestry expressing influences from melancholic Nordic atmospheres landscapes, minimalism, folk and indie pop. Half of the tunes are written by Kiki, and the other half by the bass player Jonathan. This variety will bring a good composition for the album. In our music the soaring and poetic trumpet melodies become one with the atmospherical, yet punchy vocal melodies, and messages that display different perspectives on the world we live in. At times groovy and quirky, at other times melancholic and sentimental, the songs reflect on the confusions and challenges of our world. We need to remember; even if things sometimes appear troublesome, there is always hope. The group will release the new album on 25th of June 2021 on BERTHOLD records. They already have release concerts booked in Germany for spring and summer 2021, and they are hoping those plans will go through, and to play also in The Netherlands, Finland and elsewhere in Europe.
Europe’s biggest jazz conference and networking event jazzahead! chose KAMA Kollektiv as one of the Dutch showcase artists for European Jazz Meeting- showcase category for 2020. That was postponed till this year, and the conference happened digitally. Their showcase was was live-streamed from ÖVB-Arena in Bremen on May 1st 2021.
Kirsi-Marja „Kiki“ Harju
Kirsi-Marja „Kiki“ Harju (born on January 27th 1993) is a Finnish trumpet player, singer, composer, lyricist, band leader and producer. From 2015 till 2019 this multitalent had her main focus in her Bachelor of Music studies in Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA), jazz trumpet as her main subject and Jarmo Hoogendijk, Ruud Breuls, Jan Wessels and Jan Oosthof as her teachers. Harju ended up in Amsterdam after starting trumpet playing in 2002 and doing music studies in Porvoo area music institute, Sibelius high school and Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki.
Her previous teachers have been Reijo Ruokonen, Leo Kylätasku, Tero Lindberg, Mikko Karjalainen, Raimo Korhonen and Tero Saarti. In Amsterdam Harju has enjoyed masterclasses and private lessons from world famous trumpet players like Terrell Stafford, Ambrose Akinmusire and Alex Sipiagin. Also, Metropole Orchestra Academy projects & masterclasses kept Harju busy during her studies in Amsterdam. Singing has always been like a second nature for Harju, and it has been as big part of her life as trumpet playing. She has performed and recorded trumpet and vocals with different kinds of ensembles in big variety of occasions and also has experience in leading her own bands Kiki-O and KAMA Kollektiv, so as in being a side man and featuring artist (Karina, Waris, Mikko Sarvanne Hip Company).
Harju is feeling like home working as a duo with jazz and pop repertoire, but basically anything unique and new is close to her heart. She has studied singing with Sanni Orasmaa, Tuula Kulhua, Mikko Jokinen, Antti Koivula, Tiia Marjanen (Pop & Jazz Conservatory & PopJazz camps), Esther Kuiper and with Humphrey Campbell (in Conservatorium van Amsterdam), and attended masterclasses, for example from Sheila Jordan (during Oslo Jazz Festival Nordic Showcase 2015 that she was attending with Mikko Sarvanne Hip Company).
Harju has gained major amount of performing experience both as a trumpet player and as a singer, from small and intimate venues for duo performances to big festivals and clubs for big band concerts. Some of the most memorable performances have been in Pori Jazz Festival, Oslo Jazz Festival (Mikko Sarvanne Hip Company), Kaustinen Folk Music Festival (Viskain, Waris), Close Encounters Festival (Kiki-O), Bryssels Jazz Festival (BREXIT Choir), RAI Amsterdam and Dutch tv-program “De Wereld Draait Door” (Amsterdam Funk Orchestra). Longer international tours have also become familiar for Harju via the performances of her group KAMA Kollektiv (in The Netherlands, Germany, and Finland). Harju has played in many recordings both in Finland and in the Netherlands, one of them being an EP of her own group Kiki-O in 2015.
My artistry is kindled by a craving to convey emotions and tell stories. Continuously I seek to abandon the borders between genres, striving to merely rely on whatever means it takes to create a certain image or feeling. My artistic practice includes music, poetry, physical theater, performance art, and dance.
Formerly trained as a jazz contrabass player, I have been questioning art education for years during my studies at Universität der Künste (Berlin, DE), Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium (Copenhagen, DK), University of the Arts (Philadelphia, USA), Prins Claus Conservatorium (Groningen, NL). Eventually
I graduated as master of music from the European Jazz Master program at Conservatorium van Amsterdam (Amsterdam, NL) in 2018. I have worked with internationally esteemed performing artists such as Katie Duck, Sharon Smith, Julyen Hamilton, Axel Dörner, Tristan Honsinger, Simon Rose, Vincent van Schlippenbach, Richard Scott, and many others. Currently I live and work in Amsterdam (NL) and Berlin (DE).
Jetse de Jong
Some think that pianist and composer Jetse de Jong fell into a big pot of New Orleans’ Gumbo as a child. After a few days he climbed out and hasn’t stopped playing the piano ever since. In reality he found his calling after hearing the music of rock ‘n roll legend Fats Domino.
With different groups he toured and performed the last years in the Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, France, Finland, Estonia and Slovenia. Multiple albums have appeared and the single ‘Benjamin Lucas’ on which Grammy-award winner John Scofield appeared as a guest soloist. In 2019 he graduated from the Conservatory of Amsterdam. His debut album ‘Intercities’ received critical acclaim in different reviews and blogs.
As the regular pianist of Sven Ratzke he is touring internationally, together with his father, vibraphonist Hein de Jong, he recently recorded an album with the music of Horace Silver. Next to performing and composing Jetse is preparing a book on the New Orleans Piano tradition.
Chaerin Im (1999) is a South Korean jazz pianist, educator and composer based in Amsterdam and Seoul. Chaerin’s fascination for music started naturally from her earliest memories, influenced by her dad who is a big rock music fan.
In 2012, Chaerin was accepted to Sunhwa Art Middle School, and began to learn the classical piano in earnest. By playing and winning a lot of music competitions, Chaerin has gained a lot of performing experiences.While spending countless hours learning diverse music styles, she has discovered her love in jazz and rock music and started to feel the desire of making her own music.
In the year after the graduation from middle school, she got accepted and started studying in Seoul Institute of Arts to focus on contemporary jazz music. She continued her jazz piano major in 2017 at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Dutch jazz piano giants such as Karel Boehlee, Harmen France, Rob van Bavel. Currently, she is leading Chaerin & Horim project(Duo,Quartet) with guitarist Horim Choi after releasing their debut album „Florescent“. She is participating in a lot of different projects not only as a pianist, but also as an arranger and a composer based in Amsterdam and Seoul. Chaerin lets audience experience dramatic, emotional, warm-hearted sound from her sensitive touch on the piano and unique stories behind her music. A positive, proactive, and hardworking young pianist with infinite potentials is making valuable experiences through her music everyday to become a better person and good influencer in the world.
Joe Korach is a 30 years old, Amsterdam based, Tel-Avivian drummer/composer/arranger. In the past decade, he took part in countless different projects, always trying to keep his musical activity as diverse as possible. That way, he became an all-round musician, recording and performing around Europe and Israel with bands such as: “Kama Kollektiv”, “The Hi-Stakes”, “The Crotches”, “Roaring Cats”, “Sons of Freud’s Wife”, “Doctor Velvet”, “Melqui”, and many more.