Mari Kalkun

Mari Kalkun

Photo: Ruudu Rahumaru

The soundscapes of Runorun grow from inner rhythms into the wild roar of voices and strings. Led by Estonian folk singer Mari Kalkun, their music relies on the powerful South Estonian song tradition. In close dialogue with contemporary poetry and songs in several Fennic languages, “Tii ilo” celebrates the beauty of moving and being on the road. “For me, being on the road involves something magical, unexpected, and rhythmic”, Mari explains. Fantasy, adventure and improvisation takes the listener to a musical journey on which they can follow and sing along.

Mari Kalkun started her Helsinki-based international group Runorun in 2012. Improvisation is a big part of the ensemble’s working process allowing the band to be playful and innovative. Although only a quartet, all the members equally stand out for mastering multiple instruments,deep knowledge of traditions and fruitful fantasy. Runorun’s particular sound stems from two female voices and two neighbour-area kanteles supported by double bass and percussions. Their album “Tii ilo” was released in spring 2015 by reputable Finnish label Rockadillo Records, followed by a Japanese release by Afterhours.

Mari Kalkun & Runorun:

Mari Kalkun, vocals, 12-string kannel, kantele
Maija Kauhanen, vocals, Saarijärvi kantele
Nathan Riki Thomson, double bass, rattle
Tatu Viitala, percussions


Mari Kalkun is a singer, musician and a composer relying on her Southern Estonian roots and song tradition. Kalkun is most well known for her powerful voice, memorable storytelling and the ability to create warm and spontaneous mood at her concerts. The flowing sound of Estonian and small Fennic languages create a meditative atmosphere in her music sometimes intertwined with the traditional singing – regilaul. Fortunately, no language skill is necessary to be affected, though. Mari Kalkun’s approach towards traditional music is very personal and with every song she tells a story. This makes music alive pulsating with energy and emotion, here and now. She was voted Best Singer at Estonia's 2013 Ethno Music Awards and her international group Mari Kalkun & Runorun’s album “Tii ilo” was nominated for Album of the Year 2016 both in Estonian and Finnish music awards.

Her first solo album “Üü tulõk” (‘Arrival of the Night’) released in 2007 gained remarkable recognition among Estonian music audience and critics. Followed by more minimalistic and sound-experimenting “Dear Rain” released in 2010, concerts have brought her to many parts of Europe. In 2015 Mari released two albums – “Tii ilo” together with her band Runorun and “Upa-upa ubinakõnõ” – songs for children and grown-ups in Võru language. By now three of her records have been released in Japan and she has toured in Japan twice.

Mari has a Master’s degree in traditional singing from Estonian Academy of Theatre and Music, part of the studytime she spent in Sibelius Academy in Finland.


06.07.- 08.07.2018 Rudolstadt Rudolstadt-Festival


  • Ilmamõtsan


    Jahr: 2017

    Katalognummer: NN103

  • Tii Ilo

    Tii Ilo

    Jahr: 2016

    Katalognummer: NN072

© 2005 – 2018 Nordic Notes | Imprint + Data Protection