The Funky Sound Foundation plays rough and groovy funk and afrobeat of the late 60’s mixing it with old school hip hop elements and Helsinki state of mind. Ten-piece orchestra, founded by saxophonist Joose Kyyrö in 2015, can be considered part of the larger retrospirited get back and response to the clinically clean production style dominating modern sound these days. There’s still a lot more to their funky rhythm-driven songs with flamboyant horn lines as many of them are based on personal stories, no matter the shades. And they do it with such a streetwise hip hop twist that it has generated numerous dedicated fans among the local b-boys and girls, most of all because of their blazing live shows.
The band has so far released two albums. The latter, brilliant Don’t Be Afraid Of What Is Easy (2018), was also issued digitally as an EP release, which excluded the three instrumental versions of the vinyl edition. The self-titled debut in 2016 was already a promising sign of where The Funky Sound Foundation’s path has since led and where they stand today. The third album Night Shift was released through a crowd-funding project in June 2022. The band describes that it tells the story of a group of workers in the night, whose mission is to bring experiences to those looking for the hypnotic pulse of funk in the twilight of a nocturnal city.
Even if still a moderately young act, the The Funky Sound Foundation can music-wise easily stand comparison with many more widely acknowledged artists in the international scene. Reaching more to the global audience, they have been able to raise incipient excitement elsewhere in Europe but also in the United States and Asia. In Finland, they are a well-known act most of all in the local funky scene. Besides club events, “The Foundation” has performed for example at Provinssi 2019 festival in Seinäjoki, Liveblast hip hop festival (2017) as well as at the Funky Elephant (2017) and other events organized by Funky Amigos in the last years.
The Funky Sound Foundation draw their inspiration from the longing for past organic time as part of the worldwide retro boom, which funk, soul and afrobeat pushed a lot ahead in the early 2000’s. They say their goal is to find a world of sound that conveys organicity, strong rhythms, and raw energy — a force that has been partially overwhelmed by the turmoil of digitalization in recent decades. They create their music from their Helsinki-based background but at the same time showing all the respect to the Afro-American cultural heritage. A prime example of this is the video song “Dirika” (from their second album), where Joose Kyyrö exceptionally gets on the mic as an MC to rap in the local slang of Helsinki.
The frontman Joose Kyyrö plays tenor and baritone saxophone himself. He is surrounded with a bunch of musicians who haven’t yet made it to the spotlight on their career, but indisputably have enough soul, back beat and real talent in them. The lineup, which has gone through some changes during the years, consists of vocalist Elina Kyyrö, horn section Mari Vuolahti (trumpet), Severi Hietala (tenor sax) ja Tuomas Pajari (trombone), drummer Benjamin Nylund, guitarist Jussi Nykänen, keyboard player Jaakko Jokela-Bergström, bassist Joona Pirilä and percussionist Aku Tervakangas.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland
Main photo: Aaro Keipi
2nd photo: Sami Mannerheimo