One-woman band and fleet-fingered virtuoso Maija Kauhanen is known for her expressive voice, deep-rooted kantele and inventive percussion.
Maija Kauhanen is a composer and a versatile multi-instrumentalist as well as a charismatic performer with an entrancing stage presence. The rural music traditions of Finland and Karelia are her main influence and inspiration and she deftly gives their time-honoured melodies a new life. She specializes in Finnish Saarijärvi kantele and the old and rare technique of playing using a tiny wooden stick as a plectrum. Weaving this together with poly-rhythms and organic beats, she creates unique soundscapes and compelling grooves.
Over the past few years Maija has toured solo in China, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland and Germany. Maija’s first solo album Raivopyörä (The Whirl of Rage) was released in March 2017 by German label Nordic Notes and produced by Colin Bass. The album has been praised and noted worldwide.
Maija Kauhanen has won several significant prizes: the International Solo Kantele Competition in Helsinki 2011, second prize of Nord´11 Competition in Sälen, Sweden. In 2017 she won a Critics’ Spurs prize by the The Finnish Critics’ Association for “the best artistic breakthrough of the year”, “The newcomer of the year” prize in Finnish Ethno Awards and the prestigious Emma Award for best ethno album of the year. She performed in Womex17 as a part of of the Official Selection.
She is also member of the world-music groups Okra Playground (FI) (Womex’16 Official Selection), Rönsy (FI), award-nominated Mari Kalkun & Runorun (FI/EE/AU) and Finnish pop band Malmö.