Ultra Bra biography
Ultra Bra was a Finnish band, formed in 1994 by Olli Virtaperko and Kerkko Koskinen and disbanded in 2001. Originally they formed for a political song contest, which the band won, and got some studio time to record a demo tape. On the tape performed, among others, Maija Vilkkumaa who later became a succesful solo artist. It was no one's intention to create a band, but after winning the contest, some of the members decided to continue creating music together.
Ultra Bra was a rather large band, consisting of three female (Terhi Kokkonen, Vuokko Hovatta and Anna Tulusto who left after 'Kroketti') and two male singers (Arto Talme and Olli Virtaperko), a pianist (Kerkko Koskinen), a drummer (Antti Lehtinen), a guitarist (Joel Melasniemi), a bass player (Tommi Saarikoski), a percussionist (Jan Pethman), a saxophonist (Marko Portin), a trombone player (Ilmari Pohjola) and a trumpet player (Kari Pelttari). Thus the band's sound is quite massive at times, strings and choral parts also appearing in many songs. As years went by, the band's sound evolved into a much more straight-forward rock sound, especially during Vesireittejä.
Ultra Bra's first release was a EP, called Houkutusten kiihottava maku (The Exciting Taste of Temptations), released in the summer of 1995. Their first album, Vapaaherran elämää (The Life of A Baron) was released in 1996 and was selected as the album of the year by a respected Finnish music magazine Rumba. Of all their albums, the debut has significantly the most political messages within, including lyrics about the late Ken Saro-Wiwa (Ken Saro-Wiwa on Kuollut), the second world war, the situation with the newly founded European Union, etcetera.
Their second album, Kroketti (Croquet), is considered as Ultra Bra's breakthrough album. It was released in 1997 and has sold double platinum in Finland since the release. Third album Kalifornia (California) was released in the spring of 1999. The band played a highly successful live gig on the show Jyrki Live in the national television upon its release, catapulting both it and Kroketti into the national Top 10 in sales.
In the year 2000, before releasing their fourth and for now the last album Vesireittejä (Water Routes), the members decided that they had reached the point where they didn't want to continue with the band. They toured with the new album and announced their decision half a year later. The band then released a compilation, Sinä päivänä kun synnyin (On The Day I Was Born). They held seven goodbye shows and withdrew on the 20th of October 2001.
Officially Ultra Bra is not yet disbanded, but on an extended break. It is thought to be quite unlikely for them to reunite for a new album. Many of the former members are now in other bands or solo projects; most notably Scandinavian Music Group with Kokkonen, Melasniemi, and Lehtinen; and Kerkko Koskinen with his succesful solo releases.