SOUL WHAT? – history

Years 2008-2009

Soul What? is a soul/jazz band from Ostrobothnia in Finland. Bass player Eevalotta Matikainen founded the band in 2008 and has been the bandleader since then. The band started out playing soul/jazz cover songs with every musician’s personality has a central role in influencing the music. Ever since day one of Soul What?, highly energetic, inventive and explosive drummer Toni Porthén has been the first choice of drummer for Eevalotta Matikainen. Porthén is originally from Kokkola, and Matikainen first met him there when she moved to Kokkola to continue her music studies. The original lineup for Soul What? included singers Riikka Elisabet Hertteli and Anders Sjöberg, guitarist Jussi “Duubi” Turpeinen, percussionist Timo Roiko-Jokela, keyboard player Tommi Peltola and Sami Ihajoki on trumpet. Peltola and Ihajoki played one concert with Soul What? and were later on succeeded by Mika Mylläri on trumpet and keyboards.

Years 2010-2012

In 2010 Soul What? experienced some major changes in their lineup and repertoire. Bassist Eevalotta Matikainen, drummer Toni Porthén and singer Riikka Elisabet Hertteli were the only three members left from the original lineup. New members included singer/keyboard player Mikael Svarvar and guitarist Martin Söderbacka, whom Matikainen had played with in the Swedish-Finnish music scene in Ostrobothnia. This was the beginning of the new Soul What? which performed their own original songs. Until the end of 2012 all songwriting was done by Eevalotta Matikainen, Martin Söderbacka and Riikka Elisabet Hertteli although all arrangements were made as a collaboration with the musicians of Soul What?. Estonian saxophone player Siim Aimla featured on some of the Soul What? concerts during this time.

Year 2013

Soul What? released their debut album ”The Silver Lining” in the spring of 2013 on a tour endorsed by The Finnish Jazz Federation, Svenska Kulturfonden and ESEK. The five-man band can be heard on the record along with guest musicians Mika Mylläri on trumpet and Siim Aimla (EST) on saxophone. Soul What? started working with Finnish saxophone player Joonatan Rautio and he was a featuring musician throughout the entire album releasetour. Saxophone players Joonatan Rautio and Siim Aimla became somewhat regular guest musicians for Soul What? during concerts.

Years 2014-2015

In 2014, changes in linup were made when singer Riikka Elisabet Hertteli had to take a break from Soul What? due to health issues. Soul What? now became a quartet with very soulful and experienced soul- and gospelmusician Mikael Svarvar as lead singer and keyboardist. Changes in songwriting were made with Eevalotta Matikainen and Martin Söderbacka doing the main part of writing music and lyrics for Soul What? since early 2013. This resulted in more instrumental pieces and now the repertoire consists equally by vocal and instrumental pieces. Even if the core of Soul What? still was a quartet, the band played concerts with featuring saxophone players.

Years 2016-2017

In April 2016 Soul What? records their second album with featuring musician Joonatan Rautio. The decision is now made that the group’s name will change from Soul What? to Soul What? Feat. Joonatan Rautio when the album ”What Lies Ahead” is released in august 2016. The band begins their album release tour ”What Lies Ahead Tour 2016” which continues until mid October 2016.

Year 2017

New music was written for this quintet and Soul What? Feat. Joonatan Rautio played at Jazz-Espa in Helsinki in July 2017.

Year 2018

Soul What? celebrate their 10th year anniversary! Concerts in Kokkola, Vaasa and Turku. Click to see the dates in our concert calendar.


SOUL WHAT? Feat. Joonatan Rautio
Joonatan Rautio – saxophone (from year 2013)
Mikael Svarvar – vocals, wurlizer, grand piano (from year 2010)
Martin Söderbacka – guitar (from year 2010)
Toni Porthén – drums (from year 2008)
Eevalotta Matikainen – bass, band leader

Past members:
Riikka Elisabet Hertteli – vocals, songwriting (2008-2014)
Jussi “Duubi” Turpeinen – guitar (2008-2009)
Timo Roiko-Jokela – percussions (2008-2009)
Anders Sjöberg – vocals (2008-2009)
Mika Mylläri – trumpet and keyboards (2009 + trumpet on ”The Silver Lining” album)
Tommi Peltola – keyboards (2008)
Sami Ihajoki – trumpet (2008)

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