OKA spreads Australian culture to large fan base

From Australia, OKA blends aboriginal roots and contemporary beats to push dance floors all over the globe.

AUSTRALIAN BAND OKA plays Feb. 4 at the Waverley Hotel in Cumberland.

AUSTRALIAN BAND OKA plays Feb. 4 at the Waverley Hotel in Cumberland.

From Australia, OKA blends aboriginal roots and contemporary beats to push dance floors all over the globe.

OKA has toured extensively, building a loyal fanbase and gaining an unforgettable reputation as crowd-pullers wherever they perform. They were voted one of the Top Five memorable festival performances alongside festival headliners Sting and Kiss at last year’s Quebec Summer Festival.

Past Canadian festivals also include the Montreal Jazz Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Montreal’s DiversCité and Shambhala, Evolve, Komasket and Calgary Stampede. They have successfully completed a huge summer at home, with standout mainstage performances at festivals including Woodford, Island Vibe, Peats Ridge, The Dreaming, Earthfreq, Mullum Music Festival and Rainbow Serpent.

OKA consists of Stu Boga Fergie (aka Didgeristu, nicknamed by his Yakin Andu elders), the big man behind the beats, and raw didgeridoo rhythms and vocals; Chris Lane, on slide guitar and woodwinds, including bansuri (Indian bamboo), Chinese bamboo, silver flute and soprano sax; and OKA’s newest member, Charles Wall (aka Zappa), brings an energetic urban Pacific roots rhythm, with strobe-like moving drumsticks and his own unique hybrid drum setup blending the traditional drumkit with native percussion and drums.

Following four previous album releases, their latest release, OKA Love, shines an optimistic light on the beauty of indigenous cultures in a progressive style — phatt, organic earth rhythms in a smooth, high-fidelity sound full of uplifting melodies, tones and textures, all cooked over raw didgeridoo rhythms and dance-driven grooves. The album, recorded by Fergie and Lane in their own studio in Coolum, came to life after the songs evolved from the band’s touring.

OKA Love is a celebration of Australian cultures, sinking deep into the roots of the Asia Pacific region. The OKA sound is deeply rooted in the laidback coastal style of their home. A live collective where no two gigs are the same, the OKA flavour is their own hybrid of feel-good roots, reggae, dub and jazz, marinated in electronica and served on island time.

They have independently sold more than 60,000 albums worldwide, a true testament to their ever-growing appeal to people of all ages and cultures. It’s the kind of sound you spread the news about with an almost missionary fervour.

OKA’s hypnotic, high-energy live performances are a spontaneous exploration into the sublime. They consistently set themselves apart as a festival crowd favourite with their originality, honesty and passion. They were runaway mainstage festival favourites at Montreal and Winnipeg last year.

Catch them at the Waverley on Friday, Feb 4.

For more information, visit waverleyhotel.ca or call Vig at 250-898-1056.

— Cumberland

Village Works