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  • Jazzviews – Maria Magdalena
  • London Jazz News – Wolf Rune
  • På sitt nye album tolker den skogfinske kulturforvalteren Sinikka Langeland vestlandsikonet Jon Fosse. Klassekampen
  • -nok en stadfestelse av at Sinikka Langeland er ei unik stemme og for et band hun har kalt inn til tjeneste! Nettavisen

Sinikka Langeland is one of the most distinctive musicians of our time. Through research, retelling and performing, she has given the culture of Finnskogen a whole new profile. She plays the Finnish national instrument the Kantele, but is also known for her use of folk song traditions such at runic singing and kveding (ode singing.)

As a composer, Langeland explored traditional folk music and contrasted this with her own melodies and lyrics. In recent years, Langeland has worked with the relationship between religious folk songs and the choir music of Bach, an exciting match that has resulted in four CD recordings in a totally new musical landscape.
  • Sinikka Langeland vocal, kantele
  • Mathias Eick  – trumpet
  • Trygve Seim  – saxophone
  • Mats Eilertsen – bass 
  • Thomas Strønen – drums
Up to now, music to poems by Børli, Södergran, Olav H. Hauge and forest-Finnish rune songs has formed Sinikka’s core repertoire. Sinikka is fascinated by natural mysticism, and in 2023 Nobel Prize winner Jon Fosse’s poems she finds an underlying sound that resonates with her. The music is folk-based, but she also wants to bring the timeless aspect of Fosse’s poem into our own time with musicians who make use of a modern form of expression. The kantele sounds almost like an orchestra in its own right, and the musicians include some of the most distinctive and unique players the Nordic countries have to offer today.

This incredible ensemble was put together for the concerts celebrating Sinikka’s 60th birthday, and a video with photographs by Dag Alveng, created especially for this project, accompanies the music.The musicians raise the compositions to new heights with their improvisations and eminent playing, and are now ready to make a new recording and to present concerts inspired by Jon Fosse’s timeless western Norwegian landscape that features wind, sun, sea and sky.

Wolf Rune, a solo album, casts a new light on the highly personal idiom of Sinikka Langeland, kantele player and folk singer from Finnskogen, Norway’s “Finnish forest”.  Sinikka integrates her own songs among folk hymns, shamanistic rune songs and traditional dance pieces, draws texts from multiple poetic sources, and expands the expressive range of her instruments. Few artists embody the spirit of place as comprehensively as Langeland, and her music ruminates upon the wildness of the natural world and the interrelationships of its inhabitants.

It’s a very beautiful, original, thought-provoking album, played and sung by a highly accomplished musician who’s absolutely herself. London Jazz News

Wolf Rune, recorded in December 2019 in Oslo’s Rainbow Studio, is an absorbing addition to Sinikka’s ECM discography, which has featured critically acclaimed projects including Starflowers, The Land That Is Not, Maria’s Song, The Half-Finished Heaven and The Magical Forest.

The new album incorporates rune songs, spells and incantations, religious tunes and traditional folk dances, as well as verses that testify to the interlinked nature of all things. This pantheistic spirit is echoed in Sinikka’s choice of writers – from 13th century medieval mystic and philosopher Meister Eckhart (quoted and adapted on “When I was The Forest”) to contemporary playwright and poet Jon Fosse (“Row My Ocean”). Langeland’s own lyrics, too, have an almost shamanistic vibrancy as on “The Eye of the Blue Whale”: “The eye of the blue whale/It was already here/we were without a body/ swathed in sinew, flesh and blood/we were without words.”


Powerful images require appropriate musical settings and on Wolf Rune, Langeland expands the range and reach of her instruments accordingly. Ancient tones can be heard here, as well as sonorities that take the kantele toward new expressive areas. This journey, from the archaic through the worlds of Nordic folk to the experimental, has become an exploratory thread in Langeland’s work. Her earlier ECM recordings – beginning with Starflowers in 2006 – instigated collaboration with improvisers; in the process, her own playing has become emboldened.

Sinikka is playing three kanteles, of very different character and capacity, on the present recording. Her 39-string concert kantele, built by Hannu Koistinen, is heard on “Polsdance from Finnskogen”, “Row My Ocean”, “The Eye Of The Blue Whale”, “When I Was The Forest”, “Don’t Come to Me With The Entire Truth”, “The Girl In The Headlands” and “Wolf Rune”. Over the course of the album Sinikka makes full use of the instrument’s five and a half octaves. “The range is almost like an entire piano. Many people are surprised by how big and deep its bass is,” Langeland notes.

by Sinikka Langeland performed by some of the world’s leading jazz musicians is inspired by fire in various forms. The work consists of three parts where each part starts with a rune song. The firefish is a fire rune carved in 1821 on Finnskogen, the same is Ukko, while Sanervatar is a Karelian sauna song. It is often said that nature is the Norwegians church. It is in the forest, on the sea or the mountain we feel awe and contact with nature, the wholeness and the cosmos.
The Finns enter the sauna and are reborn after a few hours of heating and cooling. And there are many tasks to tackle. Slash-and-burn agriculture, also known as fire–fallow cultivation, is no longer practiced in Finnskogen, but awareness of correct forestry for binding carbon is an important part of the work to reduce the greenhouse effect. The Forest fins pantheistic view of life through the rune song expresses inspiring joy over contact with animals and nature.
It is inspiring to find traces and fragments of ideas about the world tree, axsis mundi, in Finnskogen. I have transformed these and some parallel stories into songs that are encircled by instrumental passages and improvisations by the musicians. Mircea Eliade comments on axsis mundi that, «every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a Centre; that is to say, a place that is sacred above all.»  Sinikka Langeland New folk music work with Trio Mediaeval and outstanding jazz musicians


Sinikka Langeland has worked for decades with the mythological part of the cultural heritage of Finnskogen («Forest of the Finns»). She is the country’s foremost interpreter of, and advocate for, the vocal folk music from this region of Norway. This work has resulted in several books and CD releases, most recently the disc The Half – Finished Heaven which a reviewer has described as, «Constantly developing. A world-class performer, Langeland upholds her reputation by maintaining high quality in every detail.» The CD has impressed both the Norwegian and international press.
In The Magical Forest Langeland continues to share aspects of Finnskogen’s rich musical traditions. This unique new piece was commissioned by the Finnskogen Exhibition and is performed in collaboration with some of the Nordic region’s foremost jazz musicians: Arve Henriksen on trumpet, Trygve Seim on saxophone, Anders Jormin on bass and Markku Ounaskari on drums. In addition, Langeland is joined by the renowned vocal trio, Trio Mediaeval, who will experiment with the part of the piece inspired by runic songs.