Maija Kauhanen – one woman folk orchestra
A powerfully expressive voice, deep-rooted kantele and inventive percussion: fleet-fingered virtuoso and one-woman band Maija Kauhanen specializes in Finnish kantele and its old and rare playing techniques. Weaving together polyrhythms and organic beats she creates unique soundscapes and compelling grooves.
Maija Kauhanen is a composer and multi-instrumentalist as well as a charismatic performer with an entrancing stage presence. The rural music traditions of Finland and Karelia are her main inspiration and she deftly gives their time-honoured melodies a new life.
Maija’s first solo album Raivopyörä (The Whirl of Rage, Nordic Notes 2017) invokes powerful atmospheres. The songs deal with the fates of various women: challenging relationships, domestic violence and child-brides are unflinchingly portrayed, but there is also joy, consolation, hope and the mystery of young love to be celebrated. The album has received great reviews internationally.
In 2017 Maija Kauhanen performed at WOMEX among the Official Showcase Selection. She has won several significant prizes: Critics’ Spurs prize by the The Finnish Critics’ Association for “the best artistic breakthrough of the year”, “The newcomer of the year” prize in Finnish Ethnogala and the prestigious Emma Award for best ethno album of the year.
In 2018 Maija Kauhanen has performed at Tallinn Music Week, The Folk Alliance ExChange in Gothenburg, Rudolstadt Festival, Festival in the Streets in Czechia, Cordas Festival at Azores and Festival Boreal in Spain to name a few.
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).