Pianist, musician, composer | Finland
Hillel Tokazier was born December 3, 1946; He is third generation Finnish of Jewish descent.
His career started with a first recording in 1967. He lived in Israel from 1970 to 1975 and has worked as a professional musician and composer after returning to Finland. He has played in several top rock-ensembles e.g. THE BOYS, BALL, HELP etc. and composed many songs for Finnish major artists such as Tapani Kansa, Marion Rung, Satu Pentikäinen etc. He has also accompanied these singers in big concerts. Hillel has also worked in recording sessions, radio and TV programs both as musician and band leader. He also has composed music for many TV-commercials, plays and concerts. Outside Finland he has performed in Denmark, Island, Holland, Germany, Austria, France, Israel, Russia, U.S.A. and Sweden.
Hillel started his career as a Rock'n Roll and Boogie Woogie pianist which still is his speciality. He has many years of expierience in playing and entertaining in private parties, clubs and pianobars. During the last ten years he has put much effort to improve himself as a singer and now mainly performs as a solo artist. Hillel sings mainly in English, Finnish and Swedish, sometimes also in Hebrew and Yiddish.
The latest record released in 2003 with songs in Finnish ( Lauluja elämästä = Songs about life) shows his talents as a singer & songwriter. He has also recorded four piano-solo albums (1982, 84, 87, 92) and three albums of Jewish music (The tree of life = Etz Chajim 1989 , Milk and Honey = Chalav Udvash 1996 and Shorashim = Roots 2003). Also three music books have been published.
Hillel´s compositions have succeeded even in song contests. In 1983 he was a finalist in the Finnish television song contest with a "jazzy" piano instrumental and in 1993 his song YIGDAL made it to the final top ten in The Jewish Song Contest in Los Angeles. In Israel Hillel played in local combos Jewish klezmer music and folksongs.
His three song albums have taken him around Finland and Europe lecturing and playing for big audiences. He has also performed in schools.
The lyrics of the three Jewish song collections are based on the Jewish prayer book (The Siddur) and the music has it´s origin in the Jewish folk tradition but the music is predominantly composed by Hillel. Hillel was also a member of the Hazamir(a Jewish choir) in Finland. Hillel has worked a lot with Finnish Gospel musicians who have eagerly participated in Jewish musical events.
Hillel's and singer Eero Raittinen's LP:s and EP:S Good Rockin Tonight, Boxcar & Ball were newly released in CD format.
2007 Hillel has performed all the years 2007 - 2016 both solo and with different bands but has lately concentrated on composing new material for his own projects.
2009 Hillel released his first Finnish Gospel album ”LÄÄKE” ( Medicin ). The record included also a few tracks of KLEZMER music as people also expect to hear him play and sing Jewish songs.This record opened a new scene and Hillel was invited to many festivals and to give concerts in churches and congregations. In addition to this Hillel is a member of the BACK TO THE SIXTIES organization in Finland. BTS organizes many yearly events where Hillel enjoys playing rock and boogie woogie piano in different bands.
In 2014 Hillel released his second Finnish Gospel CD ” Kiitos Herralleni ” (Thank you Lord ) with his own songs. These songs were highly appreciated by the audience and he toured playing concerts all over Finland.
In 2015 the work ”My Jewish Landscape”, a piano improvisation of Jewish music was released. This record is a solo piano work with different Jewish folk songs and own compositions freely improvised. Hillel says this record was his dream for many years. The cover is a part of a picture painted by the well known Jewish artist (painter) Rafael Wardi.
Turning towards his 70's Hillel still likes live performances where he can both entertain and communicate with the audience.
He has been awarded several prices ( scholarships ) by both the Finnish Swedish and the Finnish cultural funds. The latest price was given in 2015. An EMINENTIA scholarship for writing about his career as a rhythm musician and the Jewish music scene in general.