Ultra Bra was a Finnish band, formed in 1994 by Olli Virtaperko and Kerkko Koskinen, and disbanded in 2001. Throughout the 1990s, the band was very popular in Finland, but never spread to other countries.
In 1994, Olli Virtaperko heard about a political song contest and decided to enter it with his friend Kerkko Koskinen. Koskinen composed several songs based on lyrics from his friends. A group of singers and musicians was assembled and this brand-new band won the contest with their song Ampukaa komissaarit, nuo hullut koirat (Shoot the commissioners, those mad dogs).
In the summer of 1995, they released their first single, Houkutusten kiihottava maku. Over the course of the recording sessions, they also came up with a name for the band: Ultra Bra. During 1995, many new people joined the band, while others left. However, the lineup started to become fixed towards the end of the year. By the end of the year Anni Sinnem?ki, Koskinen's wife who was to become the most celebrated of all UB's lyricists, began writing lyrics, starting with Sankaritar and Ken Saro-Wiwa on kuollut. (The latter song refers to Nigerian environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the circumstances surrounding his execution. The statement he made before his execution is specifically referenced.)
Their first real album, Vapaaherran el?m??, came out in the autumn of 1996. All the while, they had been doing a lot of touring and their live reputation had become substantial. In 1997, the second album Kroketti came out. With the release of this album Ultra Bra really started to gain fame. Kroketti sold very well, remains their best selling album and contains some of their biggest hits, namely Sin? l?hdit pois (You Went Away) and Min? suojelen sinua kaikelta (I Shall Protect You From Everything).
In 1998, they participated in the contest for a song to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Ultra Bra didn't win, but their entry, Tytt?jen v?lisest? yst?vyydest? (About Friendship Between Girls), became a hit song. The third album, Kalifornia, was released in the spring of 1999. At the start of 2000, Ultra Bra again participated in the Finnish Eurovision song selection process, with Kaikki on hetken t?ss? (In This Moment, Everything's here). Unfortunately, they did not reach the final round. In the spring, they also released several new singles. The song Heikko valo (The Weak Light) also featured in the Finnish movie Levottomat ("The Restless").
Their fourth album, Vesireittej?, came out on . The week before it was released, all of Finland was focused on Ultra Bra. Numerous magazines and newspapers wrote articles about them, and they appeared on TV and on the radio. Vesireittej? went number one ? and gold ? on its first week in the Finnish charts.
The end of Ultra Bra
In the summer before the release of Vesireittej?, Ultra Bra decided they would continue for only about a year and then quit and start doing something else. In October 2001, they released a compilation album, Sin? p?iv?n? kun synnyin, that contained a few new songs and many rarities, along with a music video tape and music book. After this they did a small tour of seven gigs, quitting on , 2001, with maximum media coverage, surrounded by thousands of fans.
Kerkko Koskinen ? piano, main composer and quasi-leader
Vuokko Hovatta ? vocals
Terhi Kokkonen ? vocals
Arto Talme ? vocals
Olli Virtaperko ? vocals
Antti Lehtinen ? drums
Joel Melasniemi ? guitar
Marko Portin ? saxophone
Tommi Saarikivi ? bass
Jan Pethman ? percussion
Kari Pelttari ? trumpet
Ilmari Pohjola ? trombone
Anna Tulusto ? vocals (until summer 1998)
In many orchestral pieces Ultra Bra also had an additional string section and a chorus.
Where are they now
Kerkko Koskinen is a solo artist. He composes and sings his own songs and has his own band. Anni Sinnem?ki, Erpo Pakkala and Juhana Rossi have written lyrics for him. Kerkko released an album on , 2002, called Rakkaus viilt??. He has also written music for Finnish movies. His second album Lolita was released in August 2005.
Terhi, Joel, Tommi and Antti have joined together to form a new band called Scandinavian Music Group. Terhi writes the lyrics and Joel makes the music for their songs. Tommi quit the band in 2003 to concentrate on family life and a career as a lawyer. The band has released four albums, Onnelliset kohtaa (2002), Nimikirjaimet (2004), H?lm? rakkaus, ylpe? syd?n (2006) and Miss? olet Laila? (2007). Joel has also played in an Iron Maiden tribute band called Mauron Maiden
Vuokko Hovatta has a new band, called Tekniikan ihmelapset. Vuokko is also an actress and continues to play many roles in Finnish theaters. She does many other things as well, such as Finnish movie dubbing and TV roles.
Antti Lehtinen became the new drummer of Don Huonot, a popular Finnish band, until the band broke up in 2003. He plays percussion in Kerkko's band and has been involved in producing Kerkko's album. Antti also participates in numerous other music projects.
Jan Pethman continues to play in the band of Maija Vilkkumaa, a Finnish singer-songwriter.
Olli Virtaperko continues to make music with his band Ensemble Ambrosius.
Ilmari Pohjola is a member of the bands Gourmet and Silvio. He also plays for the experimental jazz group Oddarang.
Anni Sinnem?ki is Minister of Labour and a member of the Finnish parliament.
All Ultra Bra lyrics
- Ampukaa Komissaarit, Nuo Hullut Koirat!
- Avaruuden Lapsia
- Ent�s Nyt?
- He K��nt�v�t Tyynyns�
- Hei Kuule Suomi
- Heikko Valo
- Houkutusten Kiihottava Maku
- Itket Ja Kuuntelet
- Jos Haluatte
- Kaikki On Hetken T�ss�
- Kalifornian Ruosteiset Kukkulat
- Kalpeat Kasvot
- Kaunis Ja Ylpee
- Ken Saro-Wiwa On Kuollut
- Kuka Haluaa?
- Kun N�en Sinut Kaukaa
- Kun Vaihtuu Vuosituhat
- �l� Soita T�nne En�� Koskaan
- Lapsuus Loppui
- Laulu Asioista
- Laulu Marsalkka Mannerheimista
- L�hett�k�� Minulle Kirjoja
- Me Yhten�ist�mme
- Min� Suojelen Sinua Kaikelta
- Mit� On Taivas?
- Musta, Niljaisten Lehtien Kaupunki
- Nainen, Joka El�� Vapaaherran El�m��
- Pikku Kissa
- Pinnan Alla
- Poika Vuoden Takaa
- Rubikin Kuutio
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.