MICKE & LEFTY feat. Chef
Electrifyin´ acoustic blues -
Entertainment with a capital E!!!
Micke & Lefty feat.Chef is a Finnish acoustic blues & roots trio, formed 2000. The trio comprises bandleader Micke Bjorklof (vocals, percussion, harmonica, guitar), Lefty Leppänen (vocals, slide- and acoustic guitars, harmonica and various string instruments), Chef (vocals, acoustic bass).
Bjorklof & Leppänen have been musical partners since 1997 when this slide guitar virtuoso Leppänen joined award winning bluesrock group Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip (formed 1991). With the new upcoming album they have collaborated together on 9 albums.
Micke Bjorklof with his bands are a well-established name in their native Finland and throughout Scandinavia where they have been Ambassadors of Blues music for almost 30 years. To date they have toured in to closer 20 countries all from Japan, USA and Europe.
Story of this acoustic combo began as a spin-off from Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip on a festival in Finland. Micke & Lefty was asked to do acoustic duo set due a cancellation. That was the kick off for this acoustic ensemble and the story continues. Mr.Chef joined the band 2004 during recordings of the first album. This talented young came along just a little bit before sessions for the critically acclaimed debut album “Big Bag” (Bluelight Records).
Micke & Lefty feat.Chef are known for their hard work, humble attitude, and passionate dedication and commitment to their music. It´s said that they are forming one of the most exciting acoustic blues and roots bands in European blues scene today. One of their strongest trademarks is the powerful three-part harmony vocals as well as strong lead vocals sung by all band members. The band also stands out with their original material. It´s a rich mix of American blues & roots music with influences from early delta- and country blues, spiced up with some gospel, bluegrass, rock, soul and even Hawaiian flavors. Willie Dixon´s Big Three Trio has definitely been one big influence for the band. Especially in the beginning when developing their own sound. All these key elements backed up with world class, explosive slide guitar, suitcase drum set, tight acoustic bass and harmonica together make the band sound distinctive and authentic in the blues scene.
When hearing the words ‘three-part harmony’, what types of music come to mind? Gospel might be first and foremost, with soul and country close behind. How about blues? Most of the harmony there typically comes via instrumentation, especially guitar and keyboards.
Micke & Lefty feat. Chef aim to bring this vocal specialization back to the blues.
-Blues Blast Magazine, USA
Through the years they have stirred up audiences with their entertaining and energetic live shows wherever they play, from small club stages to big festival arenas. Trio has toured internationally since 2005. They have performed all from Memphis to Svalbard Dark Season Blues, the Worlds Northernmost blues festival! One of the career highlights has definitely been when they opened for ZZ Top at 2010 with an audience with over 15000 people.
Micke & Lefty feat. Chef has released two studio albums: Big Bag (2004) and Up The Wall (2010). In 2020 Micke & Lefty feat.Chef releases their third album to coincide with their 20th anniversary as a band. The album is named Let The Fire Lead. It refers to believe in what you do, dare to dream and aim high. Even though there´s some obsticles on the way.
The album was recorded at Sound Aces Studio, Seinäjoki, Finland
A BIT OF HISTORY
These two gentlemen started their musical collaboration in 1997. Lead singer, harmonica player and bandleader Micke Bjorklof (born –65) was looking for a new guitarist for his band, Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip (formed 1991) and asked Lefty Leppänen (born –66) to join. This world-class slide guitar virtuoso is also known from his previous work with Keystone Cops.
Also later from his pedal steel instrumental band Southpaw Steel & Twang. After playing few years together, they started talking´ about doing some acoustic duo shows while band wasn’t touring. They both shared a passion and love for older acoustic delta and country blues music; this would be great opportunity to play the music they both had strongly been influenced by.
The first show was on when Micke and Lefty were asked by the festival organizer to fill up with an acoustic show due some cancellations. But a real kick-start came little later when they got a chance to open the show for Robert Plant and B.B King on the main stage at Puistoblues, the biggest blues festival in Finland, with audience over 10 000. In the beginning this was a just side project to the band, playing acoustic versions of that material. Through the years it has developed to totally own band with original material and own repertoire. In the fall 2003 Micke & Lefty started to work on their forthcoming debut album. “We thought it would be nice to hear some upright bass on various tracks so we asked Mr. Chef (born -75) to join us in the recording sessions”, says Bjorklof. Those sessions were a blast! This talented young man has been cooking´ his bass rhythms and singing with Micke & Lefty since then. Nowadays Micke & Lefty perform mostly as trio with Chef but are still doing some duo performances every now and then. Their critically acclaimed debut album “Big Bag” was released 2004 by Bluelight Records. The album introduced strong original material among couple of unique performances of classic tracks.
2010 Micke & Lefty feat.Chef celebrated their 10th anniversary with releasing a new album “Up the Wall” (Hokahey Records!). With the follow up to “Big Bag” they took a huge step forward; hundreds of live shows had improved their unique band sound and made this trio very tight and groovy, which you really can hear on the album. The album was mainly recorded live in studio just to get as close as possible of the magic of a live show. Now also Chef has got his space as lead vocalist. Chef is also known from his band Lumberjacks.
Micke & Lefty feat.Chef represented Finland at the first European Blues Challenge in Berlin 2011 and at IBC in Memphis, USA 2012.