7 - 10 June 2023


8 June • National Opera & Ballet, 20:00

MARI KALKUN vocals, kannel, piano live-looping, footbells

Mari Kalkun’s music, though sung by the artist in a language few people understand, creates a meditative and intriguing atmosphere affecting many emotions. Her spare musical arrangements are mostly based on the sound of kannel – a traditional Estonian zither. In that, what remains in the foreground is Kalkun’s voice, which is melancholic and joyful, delicate and composed at the same time. Mari admits that it is crucial for her who and what she sings about – many of her songs are dedicated to people close to her or life milestones such as birth, death or wedding. They also celebrate a pure beauty of everyday life, that is why she frequently uses the texts of local poets describing rural life, stories and landscapes. These stories mesh with contemporary times, as it was done in the song ”Mõtsavele mäng” describing the importance of the forest in the history of Estonia: it was used as a hiding place during the war but it was also a bolthole for many people during the pandemic. Mari Kalkun has performed in most of the European countries and in the United States and Japan. She has released five albums and one EP, of which the most acknowledged one was her solo album Ilmamõtsan (2018), that was included in the list of 10 best world music albums of the year 2018 by „The Guardian”. Her latest album contains theatrical music for the play Petserimaa igatsus (2022), which refers to the difficult history of Pechory, a region divided between Russia and Estonia. This year she will release her long-awaited new solo album “Stories of Stonia”. The forthcoming album ties together ancient myths, runo songs and contemporary poetry written in one of the oldest languages in the world - Võro.