Mari Kalkun & Runorun

The soundscapes of Runorun grow from inner rhythms into the wild roar of voices and strings. Led by Mari Kalkun, their music relies on the powerful South Estonian song tradition. In close dialogue with contemporary poetry and songs in several endangered Fennic languages, their new album celebrates the beauty of moving and being on the road. “For me, being on the road involves something magical, unexpected, and rhythmic”, Mari explains. Fantasy, adventure and improvisation takes the listener to a musical journey on which they can follow and sing along.

Their music is characterized by Kalkun’s warm voice and ability to fill the room with deep, suggestive atmosphere. In Mari Kalkun & Runorun’s music, past and future mix without hesitation—traditional lullabies become reflections of our restless world and contemporary poems mingle with rare, even extinct local languages. Although the band has only four members, all of them stand out for their versatile instrument skills and courageously discover the acoustic effects creating noise, buzz and beauty without any electronics. These multinational musicians have a very loving touch towards their instruments and each other.

Mari Kalkun & Runorun has been playing at various world music, folk and contemporary music festivals and venues in Estonia, Finland, Hungary and accompaning Estonian President mr. Toomas Hendrik Ilves at his state visit to Lithuania in 2014.

Mari Kalkun & Runorun album “Tii ilo” was released in April 2015 by well-known Finnish label Rockadillo Records, later on also by Afterhours (Japan) and in 2016 by Nordic Notes (Germany). Mari Kalkun & Runorun’s album “Tii ilo” was nominated for Album of the Year 2016 both in Estonian and Finnish music awards. More information about the album available HERE.

Watch Mari Kalkun & Runorun music video “Jakop’s Dream” in YouTube.

Find Mari Kalkun & Runorun in Facebook.

Mari Kalkun – vocals, Estonian 12-string kannel

Mari Kalkun is a composer, singer and musician. She has released two solo albums “Vihmakõnõ” (2010) and “Üü tulõk” (2007) which have been warmly received in Estonia and Japan and have brought her touring around Europe and Japan. In 2011 both of her albums were released by Japanese label Nature Bliss. Her music is a personal collection of stories and pictures deeply rooted in Estonia’s nature and poetry. Kalkun’s roots are in the southern edge of Estonia, Võrumaa.


Maija Kauhanen - vocals, Finnish Saarijärvi kantele

She has played folk music since she was a little girl and likes to find new ways to use kantele in it. She had a nice year in folkmusic solo competitions in 2011, winning the National Kantele Competition in Finland and being second in the Nord11-competition in Sweden. You can see Maija performing with many groups, for example Rönsy, Trio Aino, Essi & Maija, Sytyke and Rosa.


Nathan Riki Thomson - double bass

Nathan was born and raised in Australia where he completed undergraduate studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and later at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. He can also often be heard playing various western and non-western flutes, as well as African kalimbas. Nathan has collaborated and performed with musicians from many parts of the world, with a special interest in Africa, where he lived and worked with traditional musicians for five years.


Tatu Viitala - percussions

A percussionist from the heart. Tatu discarded the drum set years ago when he got to realize the huge variety of ethnic percussions. He finds beauty in many cultures and traditions and tends to blend all his knowledge into one unique world of rhythm.