Okra Playground – contemporary electro folk
Okra Playground from Finland, starred by Maija Kauhanen and Päivi Hirvonen is about strong vocal harmonies, big sound, age-old lyrics, hypnotic beats and mystical energy. The kantele and bowed lyre, both ancient folk instruments, coexist in a new, exciting symbiosis with modern electronic 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.
“This is one of the most exciting bands to come out of Finland in recent times.” (Songlines Magazine UK 122/2016)
(Video by Alisa Javits)
Okra Playground’s debut album Turmio (2015, Nordic Notes) has ever since been warmly received gaining praises in the new and old mediums – for instance receiving a five star review in Songlines Magazine. Turmio also made it to few listings of best albums of 2015 The debut also took Okra Playground to perform as the only Finnish band on the official showcase program of World Music Expo WOMEX in 2016.
Second album Ääneni yli Vesien (My Voice Over Waters) was published in March 2018 by Nordic Notes and it gained great reviews and reached top 10 at Transglobal World Music Chart and top 3 at World Music Chart Europe.
The musicians of this groundbreaking group are well known in the fields of folk and pop music – both in Finland and abroad. Okra Playground has previously captivated and charmed audiences at festivals such as The Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia, Brosella Folk & Jazz Festival in Belgium, Nordsjøfestivalen in Norway and Flow Festival and Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in Finland. In 2018 the band toured in Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Norway.
Maija Kauhanen – vocals, kantele
Päivi Hirvonen – vocals, fiddle, bowed harp jouhikko
Essi Muikku – vocals, kantele
Sami Kujala – electric bass
Veikko Muikku – accordion, synthesizer
Oskari Lehtonen – percussion