THIRD CULTURE MUSICIAN third culture individual: a person born into the cultural environment of his/her/their parents but raised in (an)other(s), consequently forming a non-binary third culture of his/her/their own. cultural hybrid; cultural chameleon; global nomad.
Born in Rovaniemi, a small town on the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland, fretted/fretless guitarist and oud player Jussi Reijonen is truly the product of a world without frontiers.
Having grown up in Finnish Lapland, the Middle East and East Africa, and currently living in Boston MA, USA, Jussi has spent his life soaking up the sounds, sights, scents and shades of Nordic, Middle Eastern, African and American culture, all of which are reflected in his handwriting as composer and performer.
Reijonen draws from this wide pool of influences and experiences in his work: in his original music, the open spaces and silences of the Finnish Arctic converse with the maqamat of the Arab world, the rhythmic richness of Africa and India and the improvisatory spirit of American jazz, seeking a new third culture musical syntax that challenges cultural binaries by exploring the commonalities between cultures while also acknowledging the differences at play. As an educator, Jussi continues to promote and provoke transcultural dialogue and conversation across boundaries and disciplines beyond mere identity politics.
Along his path, Jussi has worked as bandleader, sideman, composer or arranger with numerous front row artists, and has performed extensively in the United States at prestigious festivals and venues like Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress, as well as in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Switzerland, Germany, France, Lebanon and Canada. He has had the honor of collaborating with Jack DeJohnette, Pepe de Lucía, Javier Limón, David Fiuczynski, Simon Shaheen, Bassam Saba, Arto Tunçboyacıyan, Dave Weckl, Louis de Mieulle / Matt Garstka (of Animals as Leaders), Hüsnu Şenlendirici and the New York Gypsy All-Stars, Bruno Råberg, The New York Arabic Orchestra, Finnish Idol winner Ari Koivunen, and multi-platinum-selling Finnish-Portuguese vocalist Anna Abreu, among others.
Jussi’s Independent Music Award-nominated debut album "un" was released to great critical acclaim in early 2013 on his unmusic label.
He is currently composing his next album as a leader, co-leads world music quintet Sawaari, collaborates with Swiss vocalist Gabriela Martina, Southern Italian folk ensemble Newpoli and various others, and continues his work as an educator in the US and Europe.
“I believe that sound itself defies cultural boundaries: its natural physicality connects with a primal humanity in all of us, and in doing so, transcends culture.