Mari Kalkun
Mari Kalkun
Mari Kalkun & Runorun
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016, Nathan Riki Thomson (Double bass)
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016, Tatu Viitala (Drums)
Runorun live at Tallinn Music Week 2016


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Line up

  • Maija Kauhanen (kantele, vocals)
  • Mari Kalkun (vocals, kannel)
  • Nathan Riki Thomson (double bass)
  • Tatu Viitala (percussion)


"A few years back, it was obvious – within moments of seeing her on stage in Tallinn – that Mari Kalkun was something special, transcending what might be thought of as folk. Her connection was supremely atmospheric music and her channeling of it for the audience set her apart."
---Kieron Tyler, 2013 (MOJO,, Billboard)---

"The world should see more of Mari Kalkun. She is an exceptional talent and her strong vocal presence during her song contribution, showed her big stage capability. She would be well suited to playing world music festivals across the continent and she also has a firm commitment, knowledge and understanding of the folk music tradition."
---BalticBriefing, live concert review by Steve Rackett 2011----

"The musicians fit together perfectly: each member has a special sounding and a very loving touch to their instrument."
---Helsingin Sanomat 2015, album review by Mari Koppinen---

Runorun is a highly agile unit on stage /-/. Both vocalists move freely (with their cithers) on stage, challenge each other and act in different positions during their vocal duetting. It is a reflection of the group’s free run through, in and out different songs. The group’s action is witness of the coolness and power of ancient sources. /-/ In stupefying ways she connects the wisdom of her ancient sources with troubles of everyday life nowadays. That also means that the group improvises its way from one song into the next. Especially the two singers switch easily between rune singings, beat boxing, narrating and vocal battles.
---London Jazz, 04.2016 concert review from Tallinn Music Week by Henning Bolte---

- Deeprooted personal music channeled by a warm voice and atmospheric compositions -
Mari Kalkun is a musician, singer and a composer relying on her Southern Estonian roots. The songs are largely her own compositions and traditional songs' arrangements, inspired by nature, Estonian poetry and life itself. The flowing sound of Estonian and its dialects create a meditative atmosphere in her music sometimes intertwined with the traditional singing - regilaul. She has the ability to create spontaneous mood at her concerts where improvisation plays a big role. Fortunately, no language skill is necessary to be affected - Mari Kalkun’s approach towards music is very personal and with every song she tells a story. She accompanies herself with unique traditional Estonian zither and various other instruments. Mari Kalkun was voted Best Singer at Estonia's 2013 Ethno Music Awards and her latest album “Tii ilo” was the nominee for Best Ethno Music Album a 2016 Estonian and Finnish music awards.

Her first solo album “Üü tulõk” (‘Arrival of the Night’) was released in 2007 gained remarkable recognition among Estonian music audience and critics. Followed by more minimalistic and sound-experimenting “Dear Rain” in 2010, concerts have brought her to many parts of Europe. Her newest album "Tii ilo" recorded together with her international group Mari Kalkun & Runorun was relased in 2015 by the reputable Finnish label Rockadillo Records and Japanese label Afterhours. “Tii ilo” followed a German release in 2016 by Nordic Notes. By now all her records have been released in Japan and she has toured in Japan twice. She has a Master’s degree in traditional singing from Estonian Academy of Theatre and Music.

The soundscapes of Mari Kalkun & Runorun grow from inner rhythms into a wild roar of voices and strings. Their music relies on the powerful South Estonian song tradition and is characterized by Kalkun's warm voice and ability to fill the room with deep, suggestive atmosphere. In Mari Kalkun & Runorun's music, past and future mix without hesitation—traditional lullabies become reflections of our restless world and contemporary poems mingle with rare, even extinct local languages. Although the band has only four members, all of them stand out for their versatile instrument skills and courageously discover the acoustic effects creating noise, buzz and beauty without any electronics. Their newest album "Tii ilo" celebrates the beauty of moving and being on the road, and was released in 2015 by the Finnish label Rockadillo Records and Japanese label Afterhours. These multinational musicians have a very loving touch towards their instruments and each other.