Mari Boine on tour in North America

Sámi singer Mari Boine to tour US and Canada

DL Media
New York, N.Y.

Photo courtesy of Gregor Hohenberg / DL Media
Mari Boine

Norwegian singer, songwriter, and activist Mari Boine returns to the United States for the first time since 2014, performing highlights from her entire catalogue. Boine is set to perform in six cities around the country: New York; Minneapolis; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Berkeley, Calif.; and Santa Fe, N.M., and will close her tour at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colo.

Almost 30 years have passed since Boine swept music lovers around the globe off their feet with her solo album Gula Gula, released internationally in 1990 on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. From the start of her career, which launched with the album After the Silence (1985) in Norway, the singer-songwriter has been a well-known figure in her own country, indisputably one of the most important voices of the Sámi, or Sápmi. Sámi culture is currently experiencing a renaissance in which Boine’s successful career played an important part. She is regarded as a renewer of the Sámi song tradition called “joik.”

Boine is revered as a unique artist whose trajectory led her to release more than a dozen solo albums and collaborations with Norwegian jazz musicians such as Jan Garbarek and multi-instrumentalist and composer Roger Ludvigsen. Ludvigsen, in the 1970s, was a member of Ivnniiguin, the first rock band to sing in a Sámi language. He has composed for theater and film and collaborated closely with Boine in the albums Gula Gula and Eight Seasons (2002).

Boine received the Spellemann, the Norwegian Grammy, in 1989, 1993, 1996, and 2017, and the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2003. In 2009, she broke new ground on Čuovgga Áirras/Sterna Paradisea, collaborating with South African musicians and adopting a lighter, more pop-like approach. After a lengthy hiatus, Boine finally returned in 2017 with See the Woman, her first album sung entirely in English. In 2018, she became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

Over the years, Boine has received many important accolades and awards not only from the music industry, but also the cultural community. Being an artist and activist, she has worked tirelessly for the recognition and preservation of the indigenous Sámi culture, inspiring younger generations to be proud of their unique roots. Boine received the Arts Council Norway Honorary Award in 2009 and was appointed Knight 1st class in the order of St. Olav in 2009 for her versatile artistic work, the highest honor a civilian in Norway can receive. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Spellemannprisen honorary award for her lifetime achievements.

Internationally, Boine is a celebrity ambassador of the project Beyond Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting causes that unite cultures in the world through music, co-founded by Tina Turner in 2007.

There are also two books published in her home country about her career: the biography Mari Boine: Fly with me (2012) by Per Lars Tonstad (in Norwegian) and the photo book Mari Moments (2017) by Susanne Hætta (bilingual edition in English and Sámi). In the village of Karasjok, there is a street named after her, Mari Boine Geaidnu, not far from the Sámi Parliament of Norway’s seat.

This article originally appeared in the September 6, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.