|Extraordinary Bossa Nova expert from unexpected source
The Finnish Bossa Nova guitarist Jarkko Toivonen
( b. 1969 ) studied classical guitar for twelve years among other things at the Sibelius-Academy ( youth department ) in Helsinki.
Jarkko Toivonen started guitar studies at the age of nine after having heard José Feliciano´s playing.
José Feliciano was Toivonen´s first idol and is still today one of his big influences.
As one of the most remarkable events Toivonen regards his performance in Feliciano's concert at Tampere-Hall in the city of Tampere, Finland, August 17, 1990.
In this concert Toivonen had an opportunity to play together with his idol.
As biggest Brazilian idols Toivonen regards guitarists Luiz Bonfá, Joao Gilberto, Paulinho Nogueira, Bola Sete, Baden Powell, pianist Sergio Mendes and organist Walter Wanderley.
Jarkko Toivonen has been recognised for example by The Guitar Player Magazine, famous Argentinian-born guitarist-composer Jorge Morel, and two world-famous Brazilian musicians, accordionist-multi-instrumentalist Sivuca, and guitarist-vocalist Toninho Horta.
Toivonen´s CDs " Here, There and Everywhere " ( 1996 ) and "Growth" ( 1997 ) have been excellently reviewed by The 20th Century Guitar Magazine, an appreciated American publication in the branch.
Since the mid 90's Toivonen's production has been played on two big Brazilian radio stations in Sao Paulo, Radio Cultura and Radio Morena.
In March, 2001 Toivonen performed with great success together with vocalist-flutist Danilo Caymmi, guitarist Sebastião Tapajós and percussionist Marcelo Salazar in " Frutas Tropicales " festival at Martinus concerthall , in Finland.
All these musicians belong to the most remarkable musicians at the moment in Brazil.
At the end of 2001 Jarkko Toivonen went on tour in Rio de Janeiro performing as a special guest, among others, in Danilo Caymmi´s and Sebastião Tapajós´ concerts and as a soloist at the famous club Vinicius Piano Bar.
The biggest record shop in Rio, Modern Sound and Toca do Vinicius, specialized in bossa nova, took Toivonen´s CDs for sale.
On March 15, 2003 Jarkko Toivonen performed together as a special guest star with Ithamara Koorax, one of the most remarkable Brazilian vocalists, at Frutas Tropicales Festival at Martinus concerthall. This sold-out concert is regarded as one of the best ones during the eighteen year history of Frutas Tropicales event (1998-2015).
Toivonen formed his first own group in 1989 " Jarkko Toivonen Jacaranda Trio ". At the moment his group includes percussionist Sami Koskela and vocalist Sari Ann. Koskela started to work with Toivonen in 2003 and Sari Ann in 2006.
In addition to own concerts and club-performances Jarkko Toivonen has performed in many domestic festivals, such as Scandinavian Guitar Festival ( Tammisaari ), Jyväskylä Summer Jazz, Tyykijazz ( Forssa ), Ylläs Jazz Blues, Runnin Rapujatsit ( Iisalmi ), Turku Jazz Festival, Ikaalisten Kitarakesä, Kuhmon Kamarimusiikki Festival, Frutas Tropicales ( Vantaa ),
Kajaanin Runoviikko, Elijazz (Sammatti) and Pori Jazz Festival.