Kirsi-Marja Harju
Bio

Bio

Kirsi-Marja “Kiki” Harju (27.01.1993) is a Finnish trumpet player, singer and composer based in Amsterdam. “I didn’t choose the trumpet, the trumpet chose me,” she recalls. “I wanted to play everything else, particularly violin, but as a kid I made mistakes in the music school exam, I was so nervous.” She was put into the wind department, given a pocket trumpet and soon found she could play beautiful melodies. She also sang. “My friends said I was too loud but I loved it. I was in choirs and vocal groups at school. Later I heard Chet Baker and realised I could combine the two.”

Harju has studied music both in Finland and in The Netherlands, and lastly she graduated as Bachelor of Music from the jazz department of Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2019. There her teachers in trumpet were Jan Wessels, Ruud Breuls, Jarmo Hoogendijk and Jan Oosthof. She also got to study with quest teachers like Alex Sipiagin, Ambrose Akinmusire, Terrell Stafford and Mathias Eick. Vocals she has studied for example with Humphrey Campbell and Sanni Orasmaa, and once get to join a masterclass of legendary Sheila Jordan.

Since 2011 she has worked with a wide range of groups and music styles, from orchestras and big bands to duos and pop-groups, performing in large variety of venues and festivals around Europe, for example Oslo Jazz Festival (NO), Pori Jazz (FI), St.Petersburg Filharmonic Hall (RU), De Doelen (NL), Moods Zürich (CH), King Georg Cologne (DE) and Roma Antwerp (BE). In 2013 she founded her first own group, Kiki-O, and started writing her own music. With this quintet she released her first own release in 2015, EP called “Pienet asiat”.

Currently in Amsterdam, she composes, teaches, performs and leads her group KAMA Kollektiv. In 2019 Harju produced and released their first album “KOTI” (which means “home” in Finnish) and in June 2021 the group’s 2nd album “TOIVO” (meaning “hope” in Finnish) was released on the German label BERTHOLD records. KAMA Kollektiv has toured excessively in The Netherlands, Germany and Finland, and in spring 2021 they showcased at the “European Jazz Meeting” – category at the international jazz conference jazzahead! in Bremen, Germany. Their 3rd album “As If I Lived A Different Life” will be released May 10th 2024 with a Dutch label SONNA Records.                                                                                                                              

She is also involved in other original, aspiring groups like KMH (with Juho Myllylä & Apollonio Maiello), Kurkuma (led by Irene Sorozabal), puntjudith and Barmy57, and has a duo-project with composer/multi-instrumentalist Christiaan de Jong.                                                                             

In 2023 Harju was selected as one of the participants of saxophonist Nicole Johänntgenn’s international SOFIA (Support Of Female Improvising Artists) – project in Zürich, Switzerland.                                   

Harju’s work has been supported by Finnish Cultural Foundation and Arts Promotion Centre Finland, amongst others.

 

“To me it sounds like you can f****** play the trumpet!” – Ambrose Akinmusire

“Great sound!” – Alex Sipiagin

”Harju is an original and accomplished trumpeter and singer. She excels at both.” – Ian Bild

”You are very musical and nobody can ever take that away from you.” – Jan Wessels

“You are a performer!” – Katie Duck

 

Photos by Beatriz Lerer Castelo

All cover photos by Beatriz Lerer Castelo

except “Projects” cover photo by Melanja Palitta BalansLaB