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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.)
- 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 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 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.
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.