Mari Boine - Artist Page
Mari Boine
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Photo courtesy of Northside

Norway's Mari Boine (aka Mari Boine Persen), is probably the most famous Sami in the world. This extraordinary singer has been an articulate spokesperson for S?mi culture, both in her music and in interviews. As she explained: "I used to think men oppressing women or governments oppressing people realized what they were doing and were just cynical. But then I realized that often they are unaware and are filled with fear. I feel I have to find my way to their hearts to let them know what they are doing. It's the only way to change things. That's why I feel my music is important."

"Our first relationship is to nature. You are part of nature, not the master of nature. This also gives us a strong sense of solidarity - you are about other people. Money is not important and power is not important. It's more your personality, the human being that is important."

Mari Boine's music is dominated by her strong and urgent voice, plus a few carefully selected instruments from people all over the world, notably the native South Americans, chosen in part due to their history of even harsher colonization. Most distinctive is her drum. She uses an African drum, but the combination of drum and voice goes back to ancient Sami culture and pre-Christian shamanism.

"The colonizers brought Christianity and told the Sami they had to forget their primitive religion - and music was part of that religion. A lot of people of my parent's generation don't accept the music, they say it's devil's music and what you sing when you're drunk - the colonizers also brought alcohol. When I started to use a drum some people got worried and said, 'Is she a Shaman?' So I decided I couldn't use a Sami drum."

"I think your voice is a mirror of your soul and how you feel inside. When I began I was singing pop songs and ballads and didn't sing from the heart. Over the last ten years I've been fighting this feeling of being inferior to Norwegian or western people and my voice got stronger as I decided I wouldn't let anyone oppress me and that I have a value as Sami. Western culture makes a distance between you and your body or heart. In Sami culture you think of everything as a whole."

Mari Boine's discography includes collaborations with famed saxophonist Jan Garbarek in the albums Twelve Moons (ECM, 1992)  and Visible World (ECM, 1995); and with Russian musicians in Winter in Moscow.


Jaskatvuođa maŋŋá / Etter stillheten / After the Silence (1985)
Gula Gula / Hør stammødrenes stemme / Hear the Voices of the Foremothers (1989)
Goaskinviellja / Ørnebror / Eagle Brother (1993)
Eight Seasons (NorthSide, 2003)
Leahkastin / Unfolding (1994)
Radiant Warmth, compilation (1996)
Eallin (1996)
Bálvvoslatjna / Room of Worship (1998)
Winter in Moscow, with Inna Zhelannaya and Sergey Starostin (2001)
Gávcci Jahkejuogu / Eight Seasons (2002)
Remixed (NorthSide, 2003)
Idjagieđas / I Nattens Hand / In the Hand of the Night (2006)
Kautokeino-opprøret, Soundtrack (2008)
It Ain't Necessarily Evil, remix album (2008)
Čuovgga Áirras / Sterna Paradisea (2009)

Similar Music:
Norwegian, Sami, World Music, Electronic, Vocals