Marjo Smolander

Marjo Smolander


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  • country:Finland
  • region:Northern Europe
  • style(s):Afro, Scandinavian
  • label:not signed
  • type:Solo, Small Ensemble
  • gender:female
  • instrumentation:percussion, string, harp
  • artist posted by:SINIMUSO / Eve Crazy & Mar Yo

Line up

  • Marjo Smolander (Kantele and vocals)


Finnish musician Marjo Smolander has her musical roots in Carelian and West African musics. Marjo plays the Finnish traditional instrument called Kantele. Her way to play this instrument is certainly unique. Since 2006 she has been going for and back to Senegal, Finland and Mali. Senegalese and Malian music styles have rooted in her playing style making it more tough and rhythmic.

In January 2021 she will release her debut album “Cosmologies” where Marjo collaborates with different artists from different countries. West Africa is strongly presented. Music has been recorded in four different countries, Finland, Senegal, Denmark and Mali, from living rooms to standard studios. The driving force behind the album is to explore different ways to communicate via music and to transmit emotions and stories across cultures, different cosmologies. Music traditions of different cultures are presented as an inspiring and fluent way. Music is not just music. It talks, it comforts, it nurtures. The album is like a diary, statement and portfolio at the same time. Rough and honest stories combined with surprising and beautiful arrangements bringing you inside to Smolander’s musical cosmology. At Womex 2020 Marjo is promoting her upcoming album and looking for a record label to publish it.

Featuring artists are:

Tuareg guitarist, singer and songwriter Ahmed ag Kaedy (MALI).
Percussionist Yatma Thiam (SEN), a son of Senegal’s most celebrated tama player Assane Thiam who plays with Youssou Ndour.
Awarded kora player Dawda Jobarteh (GAM/DEN)
Mikko Hassinen (FIN) awarded jazz drummer.
Eliza Boey Mouritsen (DEN), who is specialised to West African dance and music.
Folk wind player and vocalist Jenni Hanikka (FIN).

Smolander is known also from the duo Zäpämmät and Finnish-Senegalese Sunuy xale team.