Pics: Antti Kokkola
A powerfully expressive voice, deep-rooted kantele and inventive percussion: fleet-fingered virtuoso and one-woman band Maija Kauhanen specializes in Finnish Saarijärvi kantele and the old and rare technique of playing kantele using a tiny wooden stick as a plectrum. Weaving this together with poly-rhythms and organic beats, she creates unique soundscapes and compelling grooves.
Maija is a composer and a versatile multi-instrumentalist as well as a charismatic performer with an entrancing stage presence. The rural music traditions of Finland and Karelia are her main influence and inspiration and she deftly gives their time-honoured melodies a new life.
Maija's first solo album will be released on 17 March 2017 by the German label, Nordic Notes. The album is produced by Colin Bass from Wales UK, an award-winning producer and musician from the legendary band, Camel.
Over the past few years Maija has toured solo in China, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland and Germany. She won the International Solo Kantele Competition in Helsinki 2011 and during the same year she shared the second prize of Nord´11 Competition in Sälen, Sweden. She is also member of the world-music groups Okra Playground (FI) (Womex'16 Official Selection), Rönsy (FI), award-nominated Mari Kalkun & Runorun (FI/EE/AU) and Folk'Avant (SE/FI) and she is also a lead vocalist in Finnish pop band Malmö.
Maija's first solo album, ‘Raivopyörä / The Whirl of Rage’, invokes powerful atmospheres that get under the listener’s skin. Some of the songs deal with the fates of various women; stories of challenging relationships, domestic violence or child-brides are unflinchingly portrayed, but there is also joy, consolation, hope and the mystery of young love to be celebrated.
Visually, the album cover features Maija enveloped by the generous folds of a full-skirted black dress. The dress symbolizes the different layers of life – it raises up, underlines and conceals, changing its shape with the motion of life. Different layers of fabric and tiny decorative details symbolize happenings and memories, like bright stars in the dark night sky.
Maija Kauhanen – voice, Saarijärvi kantele, percussion
Katalognummer: NN085 / NN085LP