The ancient, shamanistic, musical traditions of the Samis of northern Scandanavia, in what was once known as Lapland, are given a modern twist by vocalist and drummer Mari Boine (Persen). Although her highly rhythmic songs are rooted in the wordless, yodeling-like, vocal style of yoik (or joik), Boine's arrangements incorporate influences of jazz, rock and other ethnic elements.
Boine, part Sami, was exposed to the spiritual-like, psalm singing of the Christian "Laestadian" movement as a child. As a result of the resistance to her Sami background that she experienced as a youngster, Boine developed a lyrical approach that expressed her feelings about discrimination. Asked to perform at the 1996 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Boine refused to be treated as a "token ethnic ornament" and turned the invitation down.
Boine's debut album, Jaskatvouda Manna, was released on the independent Norwegian Iduit label. Her commercial breakthrough came with her 1989 album Gula Gula, released on Peter Gabriel's Real World label. In 1993, Boine's album Goaskinviella (Eagle Brother) was awarded the Norwegian equivalent to a Grammy. Commissioned to compose and perform new music for the Vassajazz Music Festival in 1994, Boine used the opportunity as the foundation for her album Leahkastin (Unfolding), which was released the following year. In 1996, Eagle Brother and Unfolding were combined and released as Radiant Warmth.
In addition to her own recordings, Boine's vocals were featured on saxophonist Jan Garbareks' albums Twelve Moons (1992) and Visible World (1995).
After a break, Boine returned in 2003 with two albums and a new label. Now recording for Minnesota's NorthSide imprint, Boine released the studio effort Eight Seasons, as well as Mari Boine - Remixed, which included reworkings of classic Boine material from notables like Bill Laswell and Jah Wobble. ~ Craig Harris