You are reading an article from the archives. In recent years, we have gone through major updates. Minor quirks in layout are possible when perusing older articles. 



Orlando Julius, the Nigerian Afro-funk legend, playing at the World Village Festival at Kaisaniemi park in Helsinki, Finland on May 24 2015. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

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.


Latoya Julius dancing to the sound of his husband’s sax. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

There was something . . . in the sound of the bass. The bass line pierced your body and made your feet move in madness.


A woman surrenders to the sun and African rhythms. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

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.

Read also:  Selah Sue Proves in Helsinki Why Following Prince's Advice Was a Good Idea

When the beat got tougher, Orlando rode along with savage sax solos, fingers limber as those of a 10-year-old boy.


Orlando Julius is one of th most skilled saxophonists in the world. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

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.


Aurora, the Finnish reggae artist, charming the audience with her soft tunes on Sunday morning. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today


Read also:  Finland's 99th Independence Day in Pictures

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.



Families with small children enjoying the performance of Aurora. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today



Hamed Sinno, the vocalist of the Lebanese rock group Mashrou’ Leila. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today



A rumour has it that Mashrou’ Leila (trans. One Night Project) was formed to collect money for a poor girl in need. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today



A band enjoying the acoustics of the tunnel connecting the railway station to Kaisaniemi park. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today