Dashing Waves, founded in 1997, play their thrilling version of urban multi-ethnic world groove and were well ahead of their time during the millennium changeover period. While the musical genres, musicians from different backgrounds and unrestricted influences today constantly find new ways to be fused, Congolese-Finnish Cheka Kalupala along with the band based on three sibling pairs did all that already more than two decades ago. That was in times before the internet breakthrough and general globalization when all this kind of fusion was still on its way to where we are now.
Their trademark sound boiling in the mixture of afro reggae, ska, funk, jazz, rock, disco and electronic music and performed in three different languages was enthusiastically received in Finland from the very beginning. The band very soon got acknowledged for their energetic and diverse live shows. The wider conspicuousness was reached with their respected and critically acclaimed debut album Rockers International, which was mainly recorded live and released in 2003. Unfortunately the spell was broken and the story ended suddenly already the next year when the group split up and disappeared completely off the map after Cheka dropped music out of his life for several years.
The most exciting aspect is that even their old material really sounds incredibly fresh and current today in the field of modern rhythm music. And maybe that’s why it’s the perfect time for Dashing Waves to make their comeback. The band reactivated during the Covid-19 pandemic and has thus been passionately working on new material as well already conquered live audiences. The next steps include a new single titled “Rivier”, EP and an album. When performing live, they are eight to eleven members on stage.
Singer Cheka writes songs in English, French and Lingala, and often comments on social and global topics. But Dashing Waves is also a bunch of talented and experienced musicians, of which many of them have been creating their careers along with well-known Finnish acts, including Ashimba, The Soul Investigators, The Valkyrians and Aiyekooto & Afrobeat International to name a few of them. Not completely limited to the Finnish artists neither as some of them have been performing also together with afrobeat legends Tony Allen and Orlando Julius as well!
When performing live, the band is led by Susanna Hakulinen, also one of the original vocalists. And if we talk about the three sibling pairs, guitarist Janec and drummer Joakim Bachman, guitarist Shigeki and bass player Yoshiki Tamura are all still there in the lineup as well as singer Tuuli Saksala with only her sister Helmi being replaced today by the well-acknowledged and reputed Kim Rantala on keyboards. Erno Haukkala and Eero Savela, widely respected in the Finnish scene by the moniker Baabelin Torvet (= Horns of Babylon), form the horn section these days. Aki Lahtinen has also been assigned for percussions. With this kind of lineup it’s easy to say that their comeback has been already well planned and built, maybe better than ever before!
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland