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Suomeksi - in Finnish

Free Okapi
was founded 1990 of desire to improvise and to play together. Since then it has become a laboratory, where the members may freely experiment their wildest musical ideas and dreams. Therefore most of the basematerial of the improvisational compositions is composed by the members of Free Okapi.

The musical roots of Free Okapi are deep in the soil of contemporary music, but in the "okapistic" soundworld one can clearly hear also the influences of free jazz and etnomusic. Also the visual elements have occassionally existed strongly in the group's concerts. Some of projects have even approached music theatre with dramatizations and directive touch by the visiting director Pekka Milonoff.

I n the focus is the sound in a space - no matter whether it is produced electronically or with an aqoustic instrument. The development of the playing techniques and the process of creating new soundworlds and structures are also important aspects in the musical scene of Free Okapi.

But first of all: the strong musical expression of Okapi comes from the improvisation, from this living "now"-moment.

When improvising a musician travels through the jungles of mind to the sources of emotions and creativity. The heart of the free improvisation is the moment when you step over the border of the learnt and start to explore the deep.

And the music carries the Okapi, a sensitive animal, which picks green fruits from the trees with its long tongue. As a free animal the Okapi wanders over the borders.


Free Okapi was rewarded (together with the Nada group) with Finnish Broadcasting Company's (YLE Tv 1 ) Vuoden Valopilkku diploma 1999.

Vuoden Valopilkku prizes and diplomas are granted for cultural acts, that have nationally or locally shaken, changed, promoted or exhilarated Finnish cultural life.

"Nada ja Free Okapi –groups have revived the tradition of improvisation in the composing tradition of the concert music. In the music of these groups meet the different genres of music, mostly contemporary music and jazz. Top musicians come together in these groups and create music which is not forced cross-over, but new, living music which actually crosses the musical borders."


Free Okapi members:

Heikki Nikula , bass clarinet
Jorma Valjakka , oboe
Timo Tuovinen, live electronics and sound
Karri Koivukoski, viola
Markus Fagerudd , piano
Juhani Liimatainen, period instruments
Sampo Lassila , double bass
Markus Ketola , drums