Maija Kauhanen

Finnish Kantele

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About Maija

A powerfully expressive voice, deep-rooted Kantele, and inventive percussion: fleet-fingered virtuoso and one-woman band Maija Kauhanen specialize in Finnish Saarijärven kantele and the old and rare technique of playing kantele using a tiny wooden stick as a plectrum. Weaving this together with poly-rhythms and organic beats, she creates unique soundscapes and compelling grooves.

Maija 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-honored melodies a new life.

Over the past few years, Maija has toured solo in China, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, and Germany. She won the International Solo Kantele Competition in Helsinki in 2011 and during the same year, she shared the second prize of Nord´11 Competition in Sälen, Sweden. She is also a member of the world-music group's Okra Playground (FI) (Womex'16 Official Selection), Rönsy (FI), award-nominated Mari Kalkun & Runorun (FI/EE/AU), and Folk'Avant (SE/FI) and she is also a lead vocalist in Finnish pop band Malmö. In 2017 Maija won a Critics’ Spurs prize by The Finnish Critics’ Association for "the best artistic breakthrough or comparable for a young artist during the year".