Estonian folk musician Mari Kalkun's new album to be released in Japan
Singer and songwriter Mari Kalkun has released her new album "Tii ilo" ("The Beauty of the Road"), set to reach record store shelves in Japan alongside Estonia and Finland. The singer has also expressed hopes to promote the new material in Japan.
"I have toured Japan twice and I hope that with this record, I will be able to give concerts over there as well. The Japanese side, at least, has expressed their interest,“ Kalkun told ERR's Vikerraadio.
Having promoted her previous albums with concerts in Japan, Kalkun enjoyed the experience - both in terms of the local food culture as well as politeness. "The Japanese are humble in not showing their emotions during the concerts, but rather listening respectfully and intently,“ Kalkun explained.
Kalkun added that she has learned to speak a few words about the songs in Japanese, having received praise from locals in doing so.
“The concerts over there have been some of the most meaningful for me, because Japan is an entirely different cultural space,“ Kalkun said.
The album is being released in Japan by Afterhours Records. According to Kalkun, "Tii ilo" made it over there thanks to a Japanese friend, who had taken a few of Kalkun's songs home with him. A few weeks later, the company got in touch with Kalkun, seeking to release the album in Japan.
Meanwhile, "Tii ilo" will see album release concerts in Estonia this weekend from May 8-10 in Tallinn, Tartu and Viljandi. The concerts will be performed with accompaniment from Kalkun's new international ensemble Runorun, with inspirations for the album deriving from Estonian song tradition, contemporary poetry and music from Finno-Ugric cultural spheres. The album is released by Finnish record label Rockadillo Records & Production.
Last week, Kalkun also unveiled a documentary music video for the song "Jakopi unõnägo" ("Jakop's Dream"), shot in Võrumaa as a collaboration with director Anna Hints.
Kalkun debuted in 2007 with “Üü tulõk” ("Arrival of the Night"). Relying on her Southern Estonian roots, the album gained recognition among Estonian music audience and critics. The songs are largely her own compositions, inspired by nature, Estonian poetry and folk music. Many of the lyrics are written around 1920s-60s by local poets carrying the feeling of rural life, the forests, the landscape. For making music and accompaning herself, she uses Estonian zither, piano, accordion, guitar but sometimes also pipes, whistles, and melodica. Since then, she has given concerts in France, Hungary, England, Scotland, Germany, Finland, Russia, Armenia and Japan.