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It was a pleasure witnessing the legend of Afro-funk, Orlando Julius, 72, the Nigerian vocalist and saxophonist – the man who helped shape artists like Fela Kuti in the ’60s – to perform with his wife Latoya and the London-based ensemble at the World Village Festival at the Kaisaniemi park late on Sunday afternoon.
The sun played peek-a-boo along the second day of the festival. Occasional rain showers kept the air fresh and the infrequent rays of the sun seemed to light up the crowd at the precise crescendos of the blood-stirring beat.
There was something . . . in the sound of the bass. The bass line pierced your body and made your feet move in madness.
Like everybody else, the hippies felt it too, but they were not afraid to express it by dancing wildly in a circle, sand flying, their eyes in a trance-like state.
When the beat got tougher, Orlando rode along with savage sax solos, fingers limber as those of a 10-year-old boy.
Orlando was just as limber during the night at the after party at Tavastia club, when he performed to a full house while featuring along a fellow Nigerian, Babatunde Akerele, in an ensemble called Aiyekooto & Afrobeat. Shit was sweet, as the expression goes.
Other highlights of the Sunday setting were the Finnish reggae artist Aurora, and the taboo-breaking Lebanese melodic rock group, Mashrou’ Leila. Leila is known to discuss homosexuality in their songs.
In total, about 77,000 people visited the festival of peace and multiculturalism.
About 450 exhibitors, 60 food vendors and 300 different organisations joined the event. There were also dozens of panel discussions.
“Due to the rain, the turnover of the visitors was not as frequent as during the previous year, when people were more prepared for a picnic,” said Johanna Eloranta, the communications and fundraising manager of the festival.
However, the occasional sun kept the visitors in a good mood and the organising, according to Eloranta, was conducted without problems.