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Meeting of art for the eye and art for the ear at Turku Music Festival November concert



The main event of the Turku Music Festival this year is held from 8 to 31 August. Beyond that, the Festival runs a series of concerts the year around and now introduces a new event for the autumn: titled Echo of Calla, it brings together music and design by the CALLA vocal ensemble and the KALLARY design label, respectively.

The Turku Music Festival brings together the CALLA vocal ensemble and the KALLARY design label at the House of the Arts to create a unique feast for the ear and the eye, celebrating Finnish art and design and modern a cappella music, i.e. vocal music not accompanied with instruments. At this concert, titled Echo of Calla, guests enjoy an exhibition of the aesthetic creations of KALLARY and the vocal harmonies of CALLA. The project is an essay in bringing together visual and aural art forms in a combination greater than the sum of its parts.

Born out of a love for sculptural flowers

KALLARY emerged out of the life’s work of visual artist Johanna Oras and her passion for sculptural flowers, in this case the calla. Over more than a decade of exploring the structures of the plant, she created a pattern based on it, having developed a burning desire to establish a start-up business. KALLARY is rooted in both fashion and design. Its principal products are handmade premium accessories – a line of bags in the dynamic KALLARY pattern. This is to be launched later in 2024. The values of KALLARY include sustainable development, and accordingly all its products from accessories to textiles are made in Finland. The current year is one of multiple launches for KALLARY.

“Both design and music combine rhythm and movement. Dialogues between branches of the arts are vital mental nourishment. The more we can immerse ourselves in various cultural experiences, the more we will improve our wellbeing. The new KALLARY products are also a way of bringing a bit of design luxury to your life,” says Johanna Oras of the merger of design and music.

A new name in a cappella

CALLA are a virtuoso women’s vocal ensemble from Helsinki, focusing on popular music. A recent arrival on the scene, founded in 2023, the group was formed by professional musicians intending to bring a fresh artistry and unique sound to the field of a cappella music. Their repertoire includes original songs written by the group members and custom arrangements of current Finnish and foreign hits. The members of CALLA are Vilja Wahlbom, Siina Suutarinen, Jenny Jalkanen, Helmi Antila, Olivia Ainali and Aino Priha, the latter replaced at this concert by Hilla Hannonen. CALLA have attained a following on social media in particular and are releasing their first single this Friday.

“We are excited about our début single, to be released on Friday 7 June. The song is Tivolit by [Finnish singer-songwriter] Behm, as we are particularly fascinated by its lyrics and melodic lines! It was arranged for us by our singers Aino Priha and Jenny Jalkanen, and creating a customised version for us was effortless and quick. This single is only the first taste of what CALLA are capable of and the many facets of our sound!

“This joint event with Johanna Oras and the Turku Music Festival is an inspiring and unique opportunity. We are particularly intrigued by the weaving together of a cappella music and visual art. CALLA will be performing in Turku for the first time in November, and this collaborative début is an excellent way of introducing us to the city! Our concert will feature both original songs and custom arrangements of current hits,” the members of CALLA explain.

It all happened by chance

Eveliina Salminen, Sales and Marketing Manager of the Turku Music Festival, describes how all this came to pass: “The Turku Music Festival has been working with Johanna Oras and KALLARY for years. When we were contacted by CALLA, we hit on this great idea to combine these two artistic pursuits – similar in name but completely different otherwise. Specifically, we thought about how these two different art forms could support each other and blend into a unique experience. We have other collaborations with visual artists going on this year, such as the Ballet exhibition with Jaska Poikonen at the Concert Hall.”

Echo of Calla concert at the House of the Arts, Nunnankatu 4, 20700 Turku, on Wednesday 6 November 2024 at 18.00.

Further information and interview requests:

Eveliina Salminen, Head of Sales and Marketing, Turku Music Festival / +358 (0)40 524 5531