I BECAME familiar with Cuban son music already in my
early childhood due to family connection - my father
Heikki Lajunen was the singer of the first ever Finnish son band, the Septeto Son. At age six I played the clave
rhythm and sang in Spanish on TV with my father.
Since 2001 I have travelled to Cuba seven times to study music. These trips have been an inspiration for several bands I have set up together with my brother, Tero Rantanen. Each of the bands has specialized in a certain style of Cuban music: Los Elementos in Cuban rumba, Los Fabulosos in son and Batácinco
performed the ritual music of the Santería religion. In 2006 Tero and I founded our own music school:
The Rumba Academy.
In addition to my studies in Cuba I have studied singing with Aija Puurtinen, Ritva Eerola and Eero Turkka during the years 2009–2012.
In 2007 I graduated from the University of Helsinki with a Bachelor´s degree in Arts. The title of my thesis was "Rumba as a form of communication".
SCHOOL TOURING AND CIRCUS MUSIC
I received my first grant for composing in 2008, and the following year my band Kuukumina released its first album, Siempre Pa´lante. The debut brought about important gigs at some of the most prestigious festivals in Finland that year (Helsingin Juhlaviikot, Pori Jazz).
Kuukumina also played more than 150 concerts in schools all over Finland during the years 2009–2010 for the Konserttikeskus. In 2010 Kuukumina composed and performed live music for the circus "Talvisirkus Sika" of the Dance Theater Hurjaruuth. The show was presented 78 times.
With Konserttikeskus I have toured Finnish schools with two more shows in addition to Kuukumina:
Rumba - The Language of the Drums (2011-2014) and
The Count of the Bouncy Castle (2015 - ).
NEW WORLD MUSIC
In addition to Cuban rhythms, Kuukumina´s third
album Kámina (Rockadillo, 2012) was strongly
influenced by flamenco, and Brazilian and Andean music, among others. Kámina´s music reflects my desire to freely mix elements from different styles and cultures.
From 2012 onwards I have written music in
Finnish. I founded my children´s music band The Count of the Bouncy Castle released my first song by the name Vili Mustalampi in a solidarity CD Saman taivaan alla.
school in fall 2014. I have already been able to put my new skills into practice with my new show for children, Ristorante Gustoso, entirely made up of Italian music.
Soon after arriving in Rome, I found my place in the Cuban music scene, setting up the son trio Los Tresoneros and becoming a member of the rumba band Guaguanco del Mamey. I have also permormed as a guest artist with other local bands (La Llave, Septeto Naborí).
During my stay in Rome I have been active also in the Finnish music scene. In addition to regular visits to Finland to play with my groups Kuukumina and Los Fabulosos, I produced a solidarity album The Same Sky, released 18th December 2015, which brought together 17 artists representing different musical styles.