Okra Playground at RWMF 2017

We have highlighted two of our favorite performances for the 2017 Rainforest World Music Festival, Ilu Leto and At Adau. Here we want to highlight one more band that caught our attention the most during that festival, the Okra Playground. This band originated from Helsinki, Finland. They call their band an electro-folk band and they play traditional instruments fused with a modern way. Their music is so unique and very melodic.

Their songs, each and every one of them have their own story and theme infused into it. From telling a journey of person to expressing somebody’s feeling, their songs gives us goosebumps in a very good way. There are a lot of emotions from their performance, from sad to happy, from melancholic to uplifting, they make the crowd feel every emotions they bring out of their music. It was so intriguing and touching. It goes straight into the heart.

Their main instruments are Kantele and bowed Lyre, both are ancient folk instruments. They play them together with modern instruments, fusing the tunes from both worlds and creating a very unique sounds that vibrate in its own way. Not sure if this is a correct way to describe it but when we closed our eyes, listening to their songs, it caused us to be in some kind of trance at one point of time. It’s so good that we feel so calm inside but yet so energetic outside. Although we might not understand the lyric but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying their songs the whole of their performance.

Their unique tunes combined with the strong voice of their singers really caught our attention, it got us hypnotized. At one point, all of us just put our cameras and phones away, close our eyes, wave our hands up high and just dance to their songs. Their performance during the RWMF 2017 was so good. One of our friends that have been going to the festival many times said he never felt that way before.

This band consist of 6 members, Päivi Hirvonen (vocals, fiddle, bowed harp jouhikko), Maija Kauhanen (vocals, kantele), Essi Muikku (vocals, kantele), Sami Kujala (electric bass), Veikko Muikku (accordion, synthesizer) and Tatu Viitala (percussion).

We would like to quote a paragraph from their website. It’s an interesting words about them and we felt like those words are a lyric to a song on its own.

“Helsinki based electro-folk band Okra Playground was originally formed in 2010 from a shared wish to bring together excellent people and musician to play around traditional Finnish music with a fresh approach. The band became almost literally a musical playground for its musicians. On this playground the kantele and bowed lyre, both ancient folk instruments, coexist in a new, exciting symbiosis with modern instruments and soundscapes. The music resulting from the quite unusual interesting combination has roots deep in the Finnish soil, but its tallest branches spread out towards the furthest shores of world music. The strong voices of the three female singers, as well as the age-old lyrics, simultaneously take the listener to far-off places and close to home. Okra Playground’s fresh music captivates the listener with its hypnotic beat and mystic energy.”

We couldn’t agree more, especially on the last sentence.

Thank you Okra Playground for the awesome performance during the 2017 Rainforest World Music Festival. You definitely brought something different to the festival for us to enjoy. We appreciate your unique musics and the songs that you sang for us. It excite and touch us in one way or another. Thank you, again.

If you want to know more about Okra Playground go to their website at https://okraplayground.fi/.


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