Oiro Pena is a Finnish jazz collective helmed by prolific composer Antti Vauhkonen. Released on the We Are Busy Bodies label, Puna was recorded in bedrooms, studios and other locations around Helsinki during 2022, is a mix of lo-fi spiritual jazz, experimental, and avant-garde music forms. It includes four vocal tracks recorded with Merikukka Kiviharju, which feature both original lyrics and those sourced from traditional Finnish folk songs.
Vauhkonen launched Oiro Pena as solo multi-instrumentalist with two self-titled, astral, outsider jazz 10” EPs, released by Ultraääni in 2019, limited to 200 copies, since repressed three times and seriously in demand.
With a background in electronic music, Vauhkonen explains his transition into avant-garde / spiritual jazz: “It came from Krautrock first, I started listening to Can, and searched through all the psychedelic German rock bands. There was a lot of jazzier elements there, horns and saxophones, I think it came from there, and then I found Miles Davis and John Coltrane (and) started listening to the early Sun Ra material.”
Puna features the interplay of vocalist Merikukka Kiviharju (Fat Chance, Jazzgangsters) on tracks ‘Puna’, Kaiju Kaiija’, ‘Kuinka Kukaan‘ and ‘Calamity Caravan’, matching with the intensity of Johannes Sarjasto’s saxophone, and Staffan Södergård’s piano. The album, like previous releases is built around Vauhkonen’s propulsive drumming and Philip Holm’s upright bass that provides the band with its forward momentum. Johannes Sarjasto’s flute also features on this release.