It might not an “all-about-jazz” kind of festival, but Helsinki’s Flow Festival is the perfect event to catch some of the world’s finest jazz acts. What is becoming a more and more internationally-renowned music happening now presents contemporary rock, pop, alternative and electro artists.
And for cool jazz cats, it also showcases local and international high-profile performers.
Everyone in Helsinki knows that for a few days in August, the former energy-production area of Suvilahti becomes the setting of the vibrant urban music celebration Flow Festival.
This summer, Flow is back from 8 to 10 August with a lineup that is set to make happy music fans of pretty much every kind of music.
Flow Festival 2014: Helsinki’s Vibrant Festival
The programme is filled with local and international acts, as well as promising Finnish and European young bands and DJs.
The list of headliners of Flow Festival 2014 includes iconic band Manic Street Preachers, indie rock heroes The National, eclectic South African band Die Antwoord, hip-hop stars OutKast and Mos Def – now going by the name Yasiin Bey – and soul/R&B singer Janaelle Monáe.
Just like in previous years, Flow blends together mainstream and alternative music acts with world sounds and jazz artists.
On 9 August, for instance, the festival will welcome legendary Malinese supergroup Les Ambassadeurs. Led by the “Golden Voice of Africa” Salif Keita along with Amadou Bagayoko (also known for being a member of the duo Amadou & Mariam) and Cheick Tidiane Seck, the band will bring the warm rhythms of West Africa to Helsinki.
As for jazz, Flow will continue its tradition of showcasing some of the very best jazzmen around. After the success of jazz shows of the likes of Ravi Coltrane and Jason Moran over the last two years, it will time – on 8 August – for another icon of contemporary American jazz: Roy Hargrove.
The two-time Grammy Award winning trumpeter has put together a group of talented members of the new generation of jazz: Justin Robinson on sax, pianist Sullivan Fortner, Ameen Saleem on bass and Quincy Phillips on drums.
After having created sounds for the likes of Erykah Badu and D’Angelo and having shared the stage with jazz icons Herbie Hancock and Wynton Marsalis, Hargrove went on to carry out his own projects.
Also known for his role as bandleader of progressive band the RH Factor, Roy Hargrove has continued his successful career by developing his jazz styles, which combine Afro-Cuban rhythms and hard bop, even further.
The appearence of the Roy Hargrove, one of the most influential trumpeters of his generation, and his Roy Hargrove Quintet at Flow Festival 2014 represents an event every jazz aficionado in Southern Finland shouldn’t miss.
Finnish Jazz Talents, Visual Arts and Delicious Food
Jazz enthusiasts in Finland will probably be happy to hear that the popular trio Mopo will be back at Flow (on 9 August). After really exploding last year, Mopo is now considered the hottest trio of the Finnish jazz scene.
Following a very impressive performance during the last edition of Flow, when they were still sort of a “hidden gem”, the band returns to the festival from the main door.
Linda Fredriksson (saxophon, glockenspiel, willow flute), Eero Tikkanen (double bass, harmonica, rubber chicken) and Eeti Nieminen (reindeer beel, jew’s harp), will bring their jazz repertoire, which takes inspirations from jazz, ’70s punk music and Finnish nature, to Helsinki for an exciting gig.
And on Sunday, it will be time for the Antti Lötjönen Quartet East. Double bass player Antti Lötjönen is the only person to have played at every edition of Flow Festival from 2004.
This summer, he brings his fresh new jazz quartet to Suvilahti to perform Lötjönen’s compositions, as well as carefully selected covers and some unmissable solo bass improvisation!
For those interested in experimental music, Flow presents The Other Sound. The space, increased in size due to the rising attendance numbers, will welcome a lineup of local and international acts such as Hopeajärvi (FI), Monopoly Child Star Searchers (US), Nuslux (FI), MIAUX (BE), Tomoko Sauvage (JP/FR) and Nicolas Kivilinna (FI).
In a visual arts mood? No problem! Flow Festival will also host visual arts exhibitions by festival’s Artist of the Year Adel Abidin. And fans of the good cuisine will definitely be happy to hear that there’ll be pleny of good food at Flow with 30 of Helsinki’s coolest restaurants.
For action-takers and curious Flow visitors, there’ll be an interesting series Flow Talks Lunch Sessions.
No doubts, it’s going to be a great edition of Flow Festival!