A sisterhood of four voices and a double bass, Signe have captured audiences at Finnish festivals and Northern European jazz events. Their works draw from poetry and the unmapped paths of improvisation. Sonically, the group flows and meanders through contemporary classical, folk music and Nordic jazz.
In their new Onomatopoesia trilogy, Signe explores the uncharted territories of the human voice. The three-album composition is a human-voice study on sensitisation as well as the need for attachment and settlement in our ever-changing environment. Can we strengthen the feeling of belonging by vocally mirroring sounds around us? Conceptually, the albums evolve from phonemes, the smallest units of speech, into syllables, words and eventually stories.
'Phonemes' was published in November 2021 by Eclipse Music and consists of three commissioned works by Tytti Arola, Mikko Sarvanne and Sampo Kasurinen. Whereas the first part of the trilogy got Signe's Selma Savolainen, Josefiina Vannesluoma and Riikka Keränen to meet with guest artists Meriheini Luoto and Mika Kallio, the trilogy continued with the original quartet, New York -based vocalizing bassist Kaisa Mäensivu. In the sequel 'Morphemes' (2022) phones evolved to syllabi and quasi-words that reach to traditions of jazz. This album with hearty harmonies and ardent solos also gained nomination for "the Finnish Jazz Grammy" in the spring of 2023. 'Syntax' completes the trilogy with lyrics to compositions by Vannesluoma and Savolainen.
Signe's first full-lenght album 'To Sappho' (Eclipse Music 2019) gained an honourable mention for Teosto Prize 2020 (Finnish Composers' Copyright Society Prize) as well a nomination for the Finnish Jazz album of the Year 2020. The album draws influences from the poetry fragments that have survived from the pen of Sappho, the archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos.
A sought-after quartet on the Finnish jazz scene and a frequent guest for contemporary music and literary events, Signe has performed at jazz festivals in London, Oslo and Germany. The group represented Finnish jazz at the Nordic Jazz Comets showcase at EFG London Jazz Festival in November 2018 and in Oslo Jazz Festival's Nordic Showcase in August 2017. Vocalists Selma Savolainen, Riikka Keränen, Josefiina Vannesluoma and double-bassist Kaisa Mäensivu are solo artists and composers to watch respectively.
"Kontrabassolla rytmitetyt raidat kulkevat jazzista taidemusiikkiin kujeillen, joten matkan varrelle putoaa viettelevää näkemystä."
Juha Seitz,Ilkka-Pohjalainen 5.9.2022
"Kiehtovaa kuulla, mihin Riikka Keränen, Selma Savolainen ja Josefiina Vannesluoma tällä
kunnianhimoisella ja kantaaottavalla ihmisäänisellä matkallaan päätyvät."
".. kyseessä on kiinnostava, kunnianhimoinen ja tässä ajassa kiinni oleva projekti.
Jo se yksistään tekee yhtyeestä ja tästäkin julkaisusta tarpeellisen."
"Het Finse Signe is een fenomeen!"
"Poised, relaxed and radiant"
"These tautly-connected quartet of vocalists—one being bassist-vocalist Kaisa Mäensivu,[...] —conjured up a compelling and malleable ensemble identity, moving between folk music links to classical and jazz sonorities, and more experimental touches. The sum effect was quite stunning, and ear/mind-opening."
"To Sappho laajentaa kuvaamme siitä mihin moderni lauluyhtye pystyy."