Finland’s ‘Okra Playground’ takes over Minot during World Fest

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 11:02 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Music has the power to bridge social and cultural gaps in our world.

That’s the goal of a program that brought a band from Finland all the way to the Magic City.

Your News Leader caught up with members of Okra Playground as they share their music with Minot during World Fest.

This band’s name may be Okra Playground, but this week, Minot is their playground.

It’s part of the World Fest program through Arts Midwest that tours international musicians throughout midwestern communities.

“From Finland, you usually travel to New York, or Chicago, or the big cities, so it’s really, really interesting to see other parts of the U.S. and meet the people, and actually, then we have this connection, we can realize that we’re all the same,” said Maija Kauhanen, band member.

The Helsinki-based group says their country’s music has an appeal to the outside world.

“We’re not a very big country, but I think that Finnish folk music has always been very interesting for people outside of Finland,” said Päivi Hirvonen, band member.

Their unique electro-folk tune transcends any language barriers.

“With art and music, you don’t have any boundaries, so even though we are singing in Finnish, people don’t understand the lyrics, we can make a strong connection,” said Kauhanen.

On this day they’re performing at the Northwest Arts Center at Minot State, but they’ve been playing for demographics, from schools to assisted living homes.

“It’s really important to show all ages of people what kind of music can you do, and what kind of life can you live, and follow your dreams, so it can take you anywhere in the world,” said Hirvonen.

Bridging the gap, through the majesty of song.

The group will appear for “artists after hours” this Saturday at the Carnegie Center in Minot at 7 p.m.

They’ll put on a free public concert this Sunday at 4 p.m. at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall.

You can find learn more on the World Fest website and the Okra Playground website.