Mari Boine – Hear the Voices of the Foremothers


Suorvajaure from Vakkotavare, in Stora Sjöfallet Park, northern Sweden.

I think that’s where the gods are.

I have a new favorite singer. I just saw this over at ThorNews. Mari Boine is a Norwegian folk artist, who is also Sami (what we typically call Lapp, which is something of an insult). You can read a bio of her at the ThorNews site. She sings in a traditional folk style, using the yodelling ‘yoik’ voice.


From Wikipedia:

The Sami people, also spelled Sámi or Saami, are the indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are the only indigenous people of Scandinavia recognized under the international conventions of Indigenous peoples, and hence the northernmost indigenous people of Europe.[6] Sami ancestral lands span an area of approximately 388,350 km2 (150,000 sq. mi.), which is approximately the size of Sweden, in the Nordic countries. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.

The term “Lap” or “Lapp” or “Laplander” is considered by most Sami to be pejorative.

The origin or meaning of the term is unknown, but however it came to be, the term was picked up by other countries and was the common term for the Sami. Like indigenous peoples in many other places, are a despised minority (although I hope that has lessened some). The bottom photo is from 1900.

While she’s quite prominent in the European folk music scene, I think I can safely say Mari is largely unknown here in the U.S. What a shame. Such powerful music. I’ll be listening to this a lot.

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6 thoughts on “Mari Boine – Hear the Voices of the Foremothers

  1. I actually listen to the whole thing and it was not bad at all. At first I thought it would of been a bit like Celtic, but not at all. Love the beat and her voice and it went up and faster in sync with the beat. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Actually I was delighted to find it so different from anything Celtic-sounding. Not that I don’t love Celtic music still, but I wanted to hear something different, something from another culture and close to my other half 😉 (I’m half-Norwegian, but I don’t know that I have any Sami ancestors) I love this so much, and I loved watching them perform. They all seem to be enjoying themselves throughout.

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  3. Love her voice and style. This approach to playing the guitar produces such an otherworldly sound and makes a great pairing with her singing style. Great video.

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