Marianne Maans
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Marianne Maans
Marianne Maans
Finlands svenska folkmusikinstitut (

cd cover Finnish fiddler Marianne Maans' first solo album is an excellent portrait of an open-minded musician. While many other fiddlers study old recordings and try to play like the old masters, Maans experiments with her Ostrobothnian roots and tries to find new ways of playing from them. In addition to fiddle, she sings and plays an old traditional bowed harp called jouhikko.

Eleven of the thirteen tracks are Maans' own compositions. Names like "Sunrise," "The Tree," and "Trip" reveal some of the composer's sources of inspiration. On the new tunes she often uses her voice as the melody instrument, while the fiddle or the bowed harp play chordal backing, often very staccato, almost brusque. There are several passages where the fiddle is alone, playing technically demanding parts where one can hear haunting cries, dissonant chords, and even laughter.

Her style is more old-fashioned when playing the bowed harp. The low pitched strings on the harp combined with the raunchy bowing creates a mood of old times. She can also express herself just as naturally with her voice as with the stringed instruments.

The self-titled recording (produced by Maria Kalaniemi) grows with each listen. The experimental qualities of the music might be a bit dominant for the purist, and a few more pieces executed in a more traditional fashion would not have harmed the release. It is, in fact, on some of the traditional pieces that her new approach towards the folk music is the most fascinating, as we hear completely new versions of familiar tunes, new interpretations and ways of playing them. In Marianne Maans own words: "What comes out when I create music is a sum of the traditional and the modern." - Staffan Jonsson

CD available from cdRoots

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