Mari Boine Bookmark and Share


8 November 1956

Mari Boine Persen was born in Finnmark, Norway and grew up amid the Laestadian Christian movement as well as amidst discrimination against her people. She started working as a teacher when she came in contact with the old Sami culture. Her people live divided throughout four Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia) and are being treated as a minority.
Her debut album 'Jaskatvuoða Maŋŋá' (1985) as well as her second 'Gula Gula' (1989/1990) were released under her full name. 'Gula Gula' was picked up by Peter Gabriel’s worldmusic label Real World which pushed her music outside the borders of Scandinavia. In 1991 she recorded an album with Norwegian singers Kari Bremnes and Ole Paus called  'Salmer på veien hjem'. It was the first time the Sami language was used in a modern pop sound and even featured a Sami translation/cover of John Lennons 'Working Class Hero'.

Later on Mari Boine would experiment more with other musicstyles like jazz with composer/saxophonist Jan Garbarek, dance with Bugge Wesseltoft, Wimme and  Odda Hámis, and funk-folk with Sergey Starostin and Inna Zhelannaya. She was asked to perform at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, but refused because she perceived the invitation as an attempt to bring a token minority to the ceremonies. She does participates and is a big influence on the yearly Sami festivals at Lowosero and the island of Kola-Habinsel.

Mari Boine is seen as a keyfigure in bringing the Sami culture, and it’s position at the world’s stage (even to the United Nations). Critics do state that what she sings is not traditional Yoik. Different to a singer like Nils-Aslak Valkeapää she reworks the tradition rather then following it blindly. In 2001 she performed at the royal wedding of Crownprince Haakon with Mette-Marit.

On the web:

- Mari's official website: http://www.mariboine.no

What do we think:

PR: Great, intriguing singer and songwriter. Certainly not to be listed as 'easy listening' and probably not even pop music. On the other hand, Mari is a very authentical and influencial artist from Scandinavia.And though her music is rooted in ancient sami folk music, she has combined it with many other influeces (electronic beats, world music, jazz, etc.). If you are into good world music and if you are prepared to take some time to really get to know Mari's voice and music, you will definitely be rewarded...

DB: Mystical, like a voice from ancient times. Mari's music evokes images of icy plains, endless forest covered with snow and herds of rayndeer. But with the evokation she goes to work, mixing with african or north american Indian culture, eluding jazz and electronic artist to remix and rework her music. Mari Boine gives an image of her traditional culture through modern eyes. She is the interpretation of what was, with the ears of now.

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts

Mitsou (Hungary)


♪♪♪ - Gula Gula - 1989

♪♪♪ - Leahkastin (Unfolding) - 1994

♪♪♪♪ - Radiant Warmth - 1996

♪♪♪ - Mari Boine Remixed - 2001

♪♪♪♪♪ - Idjagieđas (In the hand of the night) - 2006

Further listening:

Jaskatvuoða maŋŋá - 1985; Salmer på veien hjem (with Kari Bremnes & Ole Paus) - 1991; Møte i Moskva (with 'Allians') - 1992; Goaskinviellja (Eagle Brother) - 1993; Eallin (live) - 1996; Bálvvoslatjna (Room of worship) - 1998; Gávcci jahkejuogu (Eight seasons) - 2002

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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