Désirée Saarela – singer-songwriter, folk singer

Désirée Saarela is a Finland-Swedish singer-songwriter and folk singer whose vocal expression is strongly rooted in the folk tradition. The lyrics, the stories and the mood they convey are at the core of her music. Désirée is inspired by her surroundings, by people, relations, the forest, sea, open landscapes, nature itself – and all of this becomes songs. The experience of having moved several times between city and countryside has left its mark on Désirée’s life and also influenced her songs and lyrics.

Singer – Songwriter

Désirées path as a singer-songwriter started in her home city Helsinki, Finland in the 1990s. The Irish music boom sparked her interest in folk music, and the folk rock band Jane Raven was born. The band did many live gigs performing their own music, and released an album called Circles. Désirée’s characteristic songs have been compared to those of the likes of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Ulf Lundell.

Folk singer

As a folk singer, Désirée’s work has centered on the Finland-Swedish folk music and folk song traditions. She carries the songs and stories of bygone times into our present day with her own interpretation as a storyteller. The traditional songs and Désirées own voice meet at a crossroads between traditional folk singing and newly written songs.


Désirée has qualified as a music pedagogue with folk song as her major (Novia University of Applied Sciences, Jakobstad, Finland, 2010). Désirée also has a masters degree from the Sibelius Academy at the University of Arts Helsinki, where she majored in folk music in December 2013. Désirée was born in Helsinki but currently lives in Pedersöre in Ostrobothnia on the west coast of Finland.

Désirée Saarela performs both solo and in various ensembles, such as Désirée Saarela & Triskel and Désirée Saarela & Maria Kalaniemi, and with Marianne Maans as the children’s music duo Skrubiluttan Å Skrubilej.

Désirée Saarela, Foto: Andreas Haals

Désirée Saarela, Photo: Andreas Haals

Désirée has released and produced several albums of her own material

  • Circles (with the band Jane Raven 2009)
  • This place and coming home (solo album 2011)
  • Som Folk (with the folk music Som Folk 2011)
  • Tidsemigranten (with the ensamble Désirée Saarela & Triskel, 2013)
  • Morgon över Helsingfors (Désirée Saarela & Triskel, single 2014)
  • Återkommanden (Désirée Saarela & Maria Kalaniemi, single 2015)
  • Mellan Världar (Désirée Saarela & Triskel, 2016) album i book format. The “book album” consists of 14 songs with illustrations by the songpainter Malin Skinnar.
  • Folkmusik från Fantásien (Skrubiluttan Å Skrubilej, 2017), children´s music.
  • MoD (Désirée Saarela & Maria Kalaniemi, 2018)
  • VIDARE (Désirée Saarela, 2019)
  • Brandliljor och Eldsjälar (Désirée Saarela & Triskel, 2021)
  • Allt finns här (Désirée Saarela & Luca Bordonaro, 2022)