A native of Tampere since his early twenties, Ville Rauhala was born in the neighbouring rural municipality of Kangasala in 1976. He has taken double bass lessons at the Pirkanmaa Music Institute and studied ethnomusicology at the University of Tampere for a period of ten years at the turn of the Millennium.

One of his most long-standing collaborators is saxophonist Masa Orpana, another Kangasala-based musician and a prominent figure of the North Tavastia jazz and rhythm & blues scene. The men have performed and recorded together in line-ups such as Olmarin Unioni ever since the early 1990s.

Rauhala’s path to fully-fledged professional musicianship commenced in the mid-1990s in the ranks of various roots bands. Session dates and work with theater groups followed, word started to spread and gradually this versatile musician became the first-call double bass player of the entire Tampere region.

Over the years, Rauhala has worked with such top Finnish singers and songwriters as Pauli Hanhiniemi, Pate Mustajärvi and Janne Laurila. In addition, he has been featured in well-received music theater productions based on the lives and times of Finnish tango and schlager icons Unto Mononen and Olavi Virta.

Ville’s bold debut album Freedom – Eight Episodes came out in November 2010. This critically acclaimed disc consists of original solo bass works that chart the no-man’s land in between composition and improvisation.

As a composer, Rauhala is also documented on albums by saxophonist Masa Orpana (Brothers – Music of Rauhala, Tikanmäki & Vuorinen, 2010) and jazz groups like Olmarin Unioni (Olmarin Unioni, 2004 and Peaceful Means, 2005) and Rakka (Soutu, 2012 and Mykorritsan valtakunta, 2014).

A most important page was turned in January 2005 as Ville Rauhala co-founded the robust free jazz band Black Motor with saxophonist Sami Sippola and drummer Simo Laihonen.

2013 saw Rauhala appear in two new line-ups featuring comrades-in-arms from Black Motor. The rejuvenated edition of Jorma Tapio & Kaski consists of Rauhala, Laihonen and saxophonist/flautist Jorma Tapio. Hannibal & Musta Moottori, on the other hand, features Rauhala, Sippola, rapper Hannibal Stark and drummer Janne Tuomi.

And still in 2013, Ville Rauhala joined guitarist Raoul Björkenheim and drummer Ilmari Heikinheimo in the rough and ready improv group Raoul Björkenheim Triad.

In 2014, the bassist and composer began organizing and hosting his own ”Vapaalla jalalla” evenings of improvised music at Pub Huurupiilo in Tampere. Later on in the year, following Sippola’s amicable exit from Black Motor, Hannibal & Musta Moottori changed their name to Hannibal & Hot Heros. Apart from the original four-piece line-up, the band will also appear in the future as instrumental trio Hot Heros consisting of Ville Rauhala, Sami Sippola and Janne Tuomi. Their debut album Fill Up with the Old Time Salvation is coming out in early 2016.

Petri Silas, October 2015

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