A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is coming to Finn Fest: guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jorma Kaukonen. Best known as co-founder of the legendary rock band Jefferson Airplane, he’s lasted over 40 years and 40 albums. His Finn Fest concert will be held August 9 at 7:30 pm in Marquette’s Kaufman Auditorium. The 790 seats are priced at $15.00.
Born in Washington, DC, Kaukonen grew up overseas as his father was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. After returning stateside, he teamed with Jack Casady to form a rock band while still in high school. In the early 1960s, he played backup to singer Janis Joplin, and then in 1965 co-founded Jefferson Airplane with Casady, Paul Kantner and Marty Balin (he also gave the band its name). Kaukonen's distinctive guitar sound was crucial to its success. With Grace Slick as lead singer, the group gained superstardom in 1967 with hits like "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit." In 1995, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
With bassist Casady, Kaukonen formed Hot Tuna in 1970. They sometimes opened shows as Hot Tuna, then joined the Airplane for the main show. Hot Tuna became his primary group after the Airplane split in 1973 (he did join the band’s 1989 reunion). He has continued his work with Hot Tuna, recorded rural blues and country songs from the 1920s and 1930s, performed solo and on festival tours such as a brief Grateful Dead revival. Critics rate Jorma Kaukonen as a consummate artist, one of the most important guitarists of our time. His brilliant playing and songwriting spans a compelling blend of rock, blues, folk and country, from dizzying electric guitar gymnastics to breathtaking solo acoustic work.
Kaukonen has a big fan in Marquette’s Jon Teichman: “This is a huge deal for the area,” said Teichman. “He has a large following. His music holds up well over time. When word gets out, I think many people will come long distances to see him in an intimate venue like Kaufman.”
Finn Grand Fest 2005 announced that his concert will be held the night before the official opening of the Festival because his guitar camp in Ohio requires his attendance later in the week.
Although Kaukonen feels that his work has always been distinctly American, he also values his Finnish heritage.“I am an American, and yet the Finnish soil calls to me,” he said. “I answer with my guitar.”
For information on how to get tickets, please visit our web site, www.finngrandfest2005.com.