Iiris Viljanen is a young swedish/finnish artist. She has two different solo projects coming this year and each of them shines. She used to have a pop duo called Vasas flora och fauna. But when their critically acclaimed debut album was released last year, she decided to leave the duo and focus on her own projects. A single (”Årstavikens strand”) ,with an unique mix of Iiris rapping and singing in her swedish/finnish accent to her bare and sublime piano playing, turned up instead and was quickly praised and started a buzz around her in Sweden. And a solo album full of her vocal compositions will be released later this year. But this is something completely else. Karl Jonas Winqvist (artist, producer and founder of the new record label sing a song fighter) asked Iiris if she would consider making an instrumental solo piano album for him, since he has been a long time admirer and deeply touched by her inventive and adventurous piano playing and compositions. And Iiris, being an exploring musician, decided to take on the challenge.
Iiris Viljanen is 28 years old and was born and raised in Korsholms Kommun in Finland. She is now living in Stockholm, Sweden since many years back. She started playing piano at the age of 7 and is equally trained in classical music and jazz as much as in avantgarde and pop music. So, alone by her grand piano, Iiris have composed, played and recorded these 8 pieces in 2015 and 2016. Though the mood and atmosphere differs the tracks there is an unpretentious and deeply moving emotional tone which holds the album tracks together. There might be traces that reminds you of the great Ethiopian pianist (and nun) Emahoy Tsegue Maryam Gebrou, Shai Maestro or even Chilly Gonzales solo piano albums. But there is no doubt that Iiris is walking on her own spiritual path here. With melodies simple, yet technically advanced, there is a closeness and highly personal atmosphere that speaks right to you. From the opening title track ”Kiss me, stupid”, with it’s ”pouring like water melody” to the ending track ”Umbria” with it’s endless sadness there are moments of pure joy, happiness, beauty as well on this album which forms an album debut that is both non-predictable and deeply inspiring.