Aili Ikonen is a versatile Helsinki-based vocalist. She has been touring over Europe and Finland, performing in various venues from significant jazz festivals to TV-shows and has been featured as a soloist for UMO Jazz Orchestra and the prestigious Norrbotten Big Band.
Aili leads her own group Aili Ikonen Ensemble. She works as a composer and a lyricist in such groups as Kvalda, Korpi Ensemble, and Hereä in addition to being a member in the following: Aili Ikonen & Tribute to Ella, Panu Savolainen Proprius, and Aili Ikonen & HERD: Jazzbasilli. Aili Ikonen & Tribute to Ella released their debut album in april 2013 with critical acclaim. Ikonen’s cooperation with HERD has continued recently with a concert series and an album titled “Jazzbasilli” where the group explores jazzy Finnish popular songs.
Aili received with jazz quartet Kvalda the first prize at the inter-Scandinavian Young Nordic Jazz Comets contest in 2004. In 2009 Ikonen performed one of the main roles in a contemporary virtual opera “Lovers of mankind” which brought together jazz elements and modern classical music. In december 2010 she toured with vocal group Rajaton, substituting soprano Essi Wuorela. In 2010 Aili and UMO Jazz Orchestra performed “Into the Woodland silence”, a composition by Outi Tarkiainen tailored specially for Aili´s voice. In 2011 she toured with Norrbotten Big Band in Sweden and performed in the opening concert of the Helsinki Music Center together with the jazz trio HERD.
Aili grew up in Korpilahti, Central Finland. From the early years Aili´s life was surrounded by music and all sorts of musical instruments. Her musical travel started with violin at the age of five. In high school years Aili found herself being increasingly drawn into singing and that is the road she’s still on. Year 2001 she started jazz and pop music studies in Finnish Music Conservatory in Jyväskylä. After graduating in 2004 Aili moved to Helsinki to study jazz and folk music at the Sibelius Academy. She completed her Master of Music degree in 2014.
Aili has worked in the Swedish Theater in Helsinki in the musical Kristina från Duvemåla, composed by the ABBA frontmen Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, where she worked in the ensemble and performed the main role of Kristina few times.