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Contemporary Finnish Folk Band "Hohka"
Contemporary folk band Hohka mixes Finnish tradition, catchy pop tunes, and global atmospheres in a unique, energetic blend. Founded in 2006, Hohka has played venues ranging from outdoor festivals to intimate acoustic clubs. In November 2011, the band won the Nordic folk music band competition, NORD11.
Hohka's musicians-Meriheini Luoto (violin), Valtteri Lehto (kantele), Veikko Muikku (accordion) and Maksim Purovaara (bass)-formed the ensemble while all of them were attending the Sibelius High School.
In an article about Hohka on the website of Suomen Kansanmusiikkiliitto (Finnish Folk Music Association), Pauliina Pajala, in a translation by Hanna-Mari Lathan, writes:
"The music of Hohka sounds fresh and incorporates small vignettes and stories, like traces from other musical cultures. The players compose all of their material themselves. Realizing that their repertoire consisted exclusively of original compositions was an important milestone for the identity of the band. The way they work is that someone brings a melody and a few chords to the rehearsal and the whole group then starts to work with that material together. Some ideas evolve faster than others. Every now and then, the group also revisits their older arrangements, giving them a new twist. ‘That's the nature of the process, you never find the perfect arrangement,' says Maksim.
"According to Valtteri, ‘Hohka' was an interim name that stuck for the lack of a better option. ‘It's kind of a generic contemporary folk music title,' says Maksim. ‘Hohka can mean different things to different people,' Veikko explains. ‘One meaning is a type of rock that is used in the construction of fireplaces. But it can also refer to a certain glow, the movement of energy,' muses Maksim.
This ensemble certainly has a lot of glowing qualities.
"The music of Hohka is not based on any of the Nordic traditions in particular, and the group prefers to avoid definitions altogether. According to Veikko, each player is constantly absorbing influences from different directions. The group can quite unabashedly borrow from other cultures or from the depths of history. ‘The greater your awareness of tradition, the less you have to invent the wheel all over again,' continues Maksim. ‘There are fantastic things that people do all over the world.'
"Most people on this planet have only heard a fraction of the world's music. By incorporating a small element from a foreign culture into your own, you can create a whole new outlook. On the other hand, sticking strictly to tradition and creating your own interpretations can also be very fruitful.
"The players break into a smile when talking about winning the best ensemble award at the NORD11 competition. ‘The contest was full of great ensembles and it feels really good to think that the jury liked us the best,' Valtteri sums it up. ‘Our energetic and crazy stage performance must have been our trump card,' Maksim continues.
"Hohka has seen the whole range of performance venues, all the way from acoustic arenas to amplified venues, from libraries to pubs, from traditional dances at the local Youth Society to a ship's cabinet that was too low for the double bass to stand upright. Hohka is prepared for anything, even to conquer the world."
Hohka released their first album, "Puutarhautuminen," in December 2011. The tracks on the album were selected from the ensemble's output from the past five years. Visit Hohka's website at www.hohka.net.