Angster, Moonhead, Big Deal, Letku Leroy and Gladiator met in a familiar bar in Helsinki. It was 2002. The bandmates, who had known each other for a long time, decided to make their dream come true: form a band that would play danceable, sweet and smoky rhythms from the small island of Jamaica. The first gig was at the birthday party of parties involved. Ska, rocksteady, reggae, 2tone and punk classics got the hot crowd dancing. The gig was a great success and the party succeeded beyond expectations. The Valkyrians was born.
Their debut album ”High And Mighty” (2006) reached #26 on the national Finnish album chart and got a lot of air play on dozens of radio stations all over Finland. It was also released in Germany, Benelux countries and Spain in 2007.
The band's second album The Beat of Our Street was released in 2009. It reached number 29 in the charts. The band spent most of 2009 on tour: Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Holland, Belgium and Sweden all received the gospel of skanking to the beat.
Come late 2010 and the band started thinking about album number three. They wanted to try something different and decided to approach the songs they’d loved in their youth from a different perspective. A Valkyrian perspective. Eventually it boiled down to covering punk and new wave classics from the late-70s and the early-80s and infusing them with some rhythmic Caribbean magic. After some fairly brutal arranging sessions, the band retired to Seawolf Studios on the fortress island of Suomenlinna. It was a very snowy and cold December. The Valkyrians, mixing engineer Petri Majuri and recording engineer Pasi Hartikainen worked until June of 2011.
It’s all about punk dressed in rudeboy garb, with rocksteady, ska and reggae rhythms.
The album is a tribute to the artists of the past decades, who have had a great influence on The Valkyrians' musical and spiritual development. The roots of The Valkyrians lie in punk. The bands and artists on the album include: The Clash, Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello, 999, Devo, The Only Ones, Misfits, Sham 69, Wire.
In 2013, Big Deal was officially replaced by Junior, who had already been in the band's concert line-up since 2009 and stylishly took over his place as the band's groovesmith.
The Valkyrians had been working on new material throughout 2014. As soon as the first songs were composed, the band noticed that they had taken a step out of their comfort zone, boldly bringing influences from outside of ska, rocksteady and reggae into their music. The new songs are influenced by soul, funk and Manchester pop - not forgetting rock'n'roll!
With the new material, it also became relevant to get a producer who could still develop the band's sound. Lauri Eloranta felt like the right person for that, and Lauri enthusiastically joined the project.
In early autumn 2014, the recording of the album started in Lauri's studio in Malminkartano. Lauri and the band worked closely together from recording to mixing.
Aptly named Rock My Soul, the album was released on April 15, 2015. As part of the album, the band toured in Finland, Europe and Russia.
The band played memorable concerts between 2015 and 2017, such as the first ever in Russia in Moscow and at the Stereoleto festival in St. Petersburg. A clip from the Rock Against Racism concert from 2016 ended up in a documentary about Tavastia in 2022. At the Ultrash festival in Potsdam, they marched with the party crowd in a torchlight procession from the football stadium to the festival area. At the Mighty Sounds festival, the equipment was damaged by the airline, the band was not remembered to be picked up from the airport at first, but the gig in the slot that ended the evening had a feeling of a sports event with waving Finnish flags. The first Napue Fest in Isokyrö was held in the distillery yard as the closing concert of the hot summer of 2016. In Germany, the band shared the stage several times with the legendary Symarip singer Roy Ellis.
2018 Letku-Leroy decided to step down and concentrate on his solo project. The band considered its future and agreed that it still had music to offer its listeners. The search for a new bass player became relevant and when it became clear that John Building, who spread the good news of reggae from Finland to the rest of the world via Holland, had returned to Finland, the number one choice was clear.
The health problems that started during the recording of the Rock My Soul album forced Gladiator to take a sick leave in the summer of 2019. Skenga, one of reggae's messengers in Finland, was chosen as Gladiator's fill-in. However, Skenga only played one concert before he fell ill too. With two guitarists in down for the count it felt like some kind of voodoo or curse was involved. Despite everything, the band decided to look for a replacement for Skenga as well.
In the end, the choice was easy. Mr. Wasp, experienced in syncopated guitar and dealing with curses, was alerted in an emergency. In December 2019, both guitarists were heard for the first time on stage at the same time, albeit only for one song. At that moment the band knew there was no going back, the second guitar added so much musically.
As new material had been created over the years and inspired by the new line-up, the band decided to schedule a studio weekend for February 2020 to record the next LP. E-Studio served as an inspiring recording location. The legendary Brother Shubie was hired for percussion and mixing duties. The weekend was productive and warm. The tracks for the album were created.
Then came the pandemic.
However, the biggest tragedy struck on March 24, 2020 when Gladiator lost his long battle against cancer. The loss was huge in the form of a close friend as well as a great musician and composer.
While Corona was raging, the band worked on the new album in complete peace.
2022 finally the world opened up and the band got on the road again. The beginning of the summer was kicked off by the traditional German This is Ska festival, which was the band's 101st gig in Germany, and at the end of the summer, the band offered punks some softer rhythms at the Ruhrpott Rodeo festival. At the same time, the album was being finished and a music video was also shot at the end of the summer.
The new album will see the light of day on 21.10. The single will be released on September 30. and The Valkyrians is going to tour Germany once again. Record release party will be held at Ääniwalli on 11.11. The Valkyrians have played in 21 countries so far and the conquest continues...
It's time to enjoy life and music again.