With a signature sound and unforgettable live reputation, OKA is still serving their Progressive Roots music. Electrified Digeridoo, heavy slide guitar, soaring flutes and juju rhythms are some of the many ingredients in this Australian sound that’s matured over a decade. Humble beginnings busking on street corners have led to global tripping & independent CD sales in excess of 100 000 albums. Their past is unique and reflects a sun-drenched coastal lifestyle they call home. Here we find them with their 6th studio album ‘Milk & Honey’ that hints to be the most exciting yet.
Incorporating flavours of Dub, Electronica, Hip-hop, Jazz and many forms of world music, for years people have tried to define the OKA sound. Instead, perhaps look at the line-up - Three characters with varying influences, backgrounds and talents. Stu Boga Fergie (Didgeristu), the big man behind the electronic beats & keys brings raw didgeridoo & vocals inspired by his aboriginal heritage. Chris lane plays captivating melody on Slide Guitar, Harmonica & Woodwinds including Bamboo Flute and Sax. Making up the trio is Samoan-Australian Charlie Zappa – a rhythm specialist with beats of Polynesian fire and deep pocket. Together they blend many pieces that is the OKA puzzle - A sound & force that touches the heart & feeds the soul.
OKA has showcased their musical flavour throughout Australia, Asia and North America at countless festivals including Earthdance and Joshua Tree in California, Montreal Jazz and Winnipeg Folk in Canada, Green Room Festival Japan & Woodford Folk Australia. In these arenas OKA has sent unsuspecting crowds into hypnotic frenzies, from moments of sonic purity and positive uprising, to high energy release. Having such a versatile sound, blending electronica, indigenous, contemporary and roots means they have thrived at the top World, Jazz, Folk and Electronic festivals.
Almost solely known through word of mouth, the un-conventional growth of these Aussie boys defies the norm. Relying on instinct, they have let their music and love for performing dictate direction. Each gig has a large element of jamming as well as album favourites. OKA gigs create a real time soundtrack, and an empowering vibe leaving listeners hungry for more.
‘Oka’s a trip man, you will find yourself at some point during their performance a little disorientated and wondering if someone has slipped something into your drink.’
‘Imagine Bob Marley Meets Stevie Wonder via the Chemical Brothers in a steaming rainforest – then you start to get the idea’
The much anticipated 2011 album ‘Milk & Honey’ brings a fresh and exciting addition to the OKA catalogue. It was created from on-stage jamming & relaxed sessions at their home Coolum beach on the Sunshine Coast. While keeping true to their indigenous roots the 14 track journey touches on new territory with vocal tracks & a soup of synth tones & beats not straying too far from the classic OKA feel.
Stu Fergie - Didgeridoo, Vocals/Keyboards, Traditional Instruments
Chris Lane - slide guitar, flutes, Soprano Sax, and Harmonica
Charles Wall - Drums & Percussion, log drum
Milk & Honey (2011) Oka Love (2009) Half Lazy Half Crazy (2008) Music Makes Me Happy (2006) One Talk (2004) Elements (2003)
Montreal Jazz Festival
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Object: OKA To whom it may concern, As the Vice-President of Programming for the ...Object: OKA
To whom it may concern,
As the Vice-President of Programming for the Montreal International Jazz Festival, I had
the pleasure to book the band OKA for an outdoor concert for the 2007 edition of the
OKA gave an excellent performance deeply appreciated by the audience. I can
recommend them without any reservations for any activities or festivals.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
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WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL To whom it may concern, We have been fortunate to have OKA play at Th...WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL
To whom it may concern,
We have been fortunate to have OKA play at The Woodford Folk Festival, The Planting Festival and The Dreaming Festival (Australia’s International Indigenous Festival) over the past 3 years. Over this time we have watched them evolve into a very tight and professional late night party band. They have always been very easy to work with and our audiences have always given us great feedback.
Last year at Woodford OKA played 4 gigs, in both the venue’s they played it was full with people dancing, they also received an encore. We wish them all the best in the future and look forward to having them at Woodford or The Dreaming in the future.
Bill Hauritz AM
Festival Director: Woodford Folk Festival
Executive Director: Queensland Folk Federation Inc
ph: +61 7 54961066 fax: 54963196
e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: www.woodfordfolkfestival.com
to view original document paste the following into your broswer: http://okamusic.com/WoodfordFestivalreference.doc
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26 Jan 2009 MYSPACE REVIEW OKA consist of Chris Lane & DidgeriStu. Chris plays slide acoustic gui...26 Jan 2009 MYSPACE REVIEW
OKA consist of Chris Lane & DidgeriStu. Chris plays slide acoustic guitar, across his lap wired up through various guitar effects which gives the band a spacey, dreamy vibe. Stu plays, guess what? The didgeridoo of course but this is not the didgeridoo of Rolf Harris. This is didgeridoo from the planet Zog! Played through amplification and guitar effects pedals. Today they had a keyboard player and a drummer which created an incredible, dreamy, laid back sound. Try to imagine Bob Marley meets Stevie Wonder via the chemical brothers, on acid, playing in a steaming rainforest with a didgeridoo and you are getting close. I only caught two or three of their songs but this was sufficient to knock me out. They are off on a three month tour of Canada soon. Check out their tunes on Myspace and pray they come to England.
Lil’T – London.
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"There were so many highlights over the six days, but some of the best were: The Black Seeds' uniqu..."There were so many highlights over the six days, but some of the best were:
The Black Seeds' unique reggae 'n' roots music drew 20,000 to the amphitheatre and hot new things, the Glaswegians Frightened Rabbitwere a suprise hit on both the Grande stage and in the amphitheatre. Kate Miller Heidke's sound was huge and drew an adoring crowd. Sunny Coast sensations, OKA, were a crowd favourite and got people moving despite the lethargy-inducing 40 degree heat..."
Montreal Just For Laughs
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Montreal, November 14, 2008 Dear Sir or Madam, I had the great opportunity of presen...Montreal, November 14, 2008
Dear Sir or Madam,
I had the great opportunity of presenting the beautiful Australian group OKA within last year’s Street Arts Component of Montreal’s Just For Laughs – The International Comedy Festival. This was not their debut, as the members performed here a few years ago as well, and they are consistently an absolute hit with festivalgoers. This year, the Festival welcomed 8 million visitors and many of them had the chance to discover and enjoy OKA’s act.
I greatly appreciated the group’s passion and professionalism. It is such a pleasure to collaborate with artists who understand the complexity of a large event such as ours, and who can work so well within it. I would highly recommend OKA to any other festival or event.
Should you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Arts de la rue
Festival Juste pour rire
Tel.: (514) 845-3155 ext.:2251
Fax: (514) 845-4140
2101, boul. Saint-Laurent
Montreal H2X 2T5
Koori Mail Article (March 11, 2009)
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Oka music makes me happy By PETER PURDON OKA are making a name for themselves, not just in Aust...Oka music makes me happy
By PETER PURDON
OKA are making a name for themselves, not just in Australia but also overseas.
And it's a name that says 'ochre', not 'ocker'.
So far, it's been a word-of-mouth, underground thing: The lucky ones who catch them live or hear the music through other means can't help but pass the word on.
They've been a crowd-pleaser at the Murri Tent at Woodford Festival for a few years and last year's performance was good enough to get them signed up early for this year's festival.
Although Oka's line-up might change from performance to performance, its core is always Stu Boga Fergie and Chris Lane.
Stu Boga Fergie comes from the Yakin Andu people from Eastern Cape York. His parents were missionaries so Stu's childhood involved travel all over Torres Strait and the Pacific.
He grew up with music 'all round him' and when you hear him blowing hard and full, it isn't hard to understand how he got his nickname 'DidgeriStu'.
His didge is telescopic; it slides in and out to vary the key, something like a trombone, and he also plays keyboard.
Chris Lane is from a very different background, having studied jazz in Melbourne and classical bamboo flute in India. He plays four kinds of flute, a saxophone and a very cool slide guitar. It may be impossible but sometimes it seems like he's playing both slide guitar and flute at the same time. Chris also has a bit of saltwater in his blood - he's an avid surfer.
In fact, there's a lot of saltwater and country in their music so it is no real surprise that last year the pair worked on the sound track for a radical new surf movie 'Life Like Liquid'. There's spirituality there too, with Stu's didge and Chris's flute(s) soaring around each other, weaving and meshing like wedge-tails in flight.
Describing Oka's music is hard because there are so many elements; they're simply outside all the boxes. Keen listeners will hear Indigenous (didge/yidaki), jazz, electronic, Indian, reggae, feral, folk, hip hop, world music and a lot more that it is hard to put a name to.
So when the opportunity came up, this writer went straight to the source and asked them to describe their music.
The opportunity arose at the Mullumbimby RSL in Northern NSW at the end of February. The band had impressed when they played at the Mullum Music Fest in November 2008 and the place was crowded.
"We just call it Oka Music: It's a fusion of us as individuals," said Stu.
"We've come from different backgrounds so our music's an eclectic combination. "It's our journey of life. We've gone into so many different places, cultures and countries that have influenced the music.
"Ultimately for Oka, we just try to keep it close to our heartspace at the time and the place, keeping it fresh and improvising in the moment. We don't really have anything completely planned; our tracks are skeletons that we improvise on.
"The idea is that it picks up the energy that's there and that's the journey, a musical journey. It's being able to breathe in music. Everybody moves together in the journey, that's the most important thing, I reckon."
Chris added that Oka's music all went back to 'those ancient cultures - the one from Australia and then there's the one from India - where all the wisdom is brought through'.
"They're bound to mesh when you let the music do its thing. It just seems to work somehow," he said.
Both of the fellas were happy with their reception at Woodford, especially the Murri Tent and the warm welcome from the Elders.
"They've invited us back to play three years in a row," said Chris. "It was good to be sort of giving something back in getting all those people into the venue - sharing something with all the Elders there.
"It was like sending back all the joy that is the essence of indigenous people, not the other stuff which is all mixed up or messed up with Western culture, trying to live in a way that is not suited to a lot of people in their cultural ways.
"It's good to be able to sing without bringing politics into it even though there are issues that need to be addressed or need to be worked on, stuff to be done there.
"But to forget about all that for an hour or an hour and a half and just to celebrate, to get back to the essence, to the joy where everything came from - That's straight up. There's reconciliation through that joy."
Oka spend time around Queensland's Sunshine Coast but Stu said he and Chris were essentially 'nomads, basically travelling to the next spot.
"A big thing in our music has been the simplicity of things, your simple connection with the water or the sunrise or something like that- they're the things that inspire you when you're creating music," he said.
"With our music we haven't wanted a front person necessarily. It's equal music where you create textures and layers over each other."
Until Woodford, Oka are working on recording a new CD. There have been four so far: Half lazy half crazy, Music makes me happy; One talk ('Wantok') and the seminal elements released in 2002. Stu's artwork features on the covers.
Oka have a website where new fans can get a taste of their music, at www.okamusic.com.
Oh, in case you want to know, my favourite track is Music makes me happy. I hope it does the same for you.
One, Time Clock, Don't Stop, Totem, Music Makes Me Happy, Island Time, Unit 67, Freedom, Do It Like That, Exodus, Pandanus, Kingston, Free Me Dub, Oka Gets Ya High, Kap Kar
Festival set typically 45-60 mins depending on slot given
Gig set 90-120 mins
There are no upcoming dates at this time.