Erik Hokkanen

Biography by

Virtuosic violinist's playing displays traditional folk, gypsy music, bluegrass, swing, jazz and country influences.
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

b. c.1960, Clearwater, Florida, USA. Born into a family of Finnish origin, Hokkanen was raised in Orlando and showed considerable musical promise from an early age. He played piano from the age of four but it was his skilful violin playing allied to his ability on guitar, mandolin and bass that helped make him a much admired and well-respected instrumentalist. His playing displays many musical source influences ranging through traditional folk songs, gypsy music and bluegrass to swing era small group jazz by way of traditional country. Hokkanen also has an effective singing voice and in his composing draws inspiration from many sources, including the spiritual legends of Native Americans.

Since the early 80s Hokkanen has been based in Austin, Texas, where his band, the Offbeats, became very popular. He has toured extensively throughout the USA and Mexico and has also visited the UK, Europe and Scandinavia. In particular, he has made successful visits to Finland since 1987, recording there as well as playing concerts and club dates. In Finland, he formed Lumisudet (Snow Wolves) an all-star orchestra featuring leading Finnish musicians and back home in Austin, he also formed a local version of Snow Wolves. His connections with Finland were enhanced in 1998 when he was appointed to the faculty of Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department. Hokkanen has also appeared in duo with singer Erik Moll, as Erik And Erik, and with Danny Barnes and Mark Rubin of Bad Livers as the Mad Cat Trio. He has also played in Rubin’s Rubinchik’s Orkestyr.

In the late 90s, and back in Texas, Hokkanen teamed up with the Tosca String Quartet to form Erik And The She Wolves. In the early 00s, he was leading a new band, Hip Replacements, performing a kaleidoscopic repertoire of exciting music. Among other musicians with whom he has worked are Lynn Daniel, Billy Dee, Jeff Haley, Elias Haslanger, Freddie Mendoza, Phil Ritchie, Steve Schwelling, Chris Searles, Stanley Smith, and, in Finland, Perti Hakala, Arto and Manno Jarvela, and Tampani Varis. Hokkanen has been heard on the soundtrack of motion pictures, including D.O.A. (1988), Michael (1996), and The Newton Boys (1998).