Mari Boine

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Mari Boine
Mari Boine Riddu.jpg
Mari Boine performing at Riddu Riđđu 2006
Background information
Birth nameMari Boine
Born (1956-11-08) 8 November 1956 (age 63)
Karasjok, Finnmark, Norway
OriginSapmi, Norway
GenresYoik, Folk rock, jazz, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
LabelsReal World
Mari Boine at Kongsberg Jazz Festival 2007
Mari Boine in Warsaw, September 2007

Mari Boine, previously known as Mari Boine Persen, (born 8 November 1956) is a Norwegian Sami musician known for having added jazz and rock to the yoiks of her native people. Gula Gula (first released by Iđut, 1989, later re-released by Real World) was her breakthrough release, and she continued to record popular albums throughout the 1990s.[1] In 2008, she was appointed Professor of musicology at Nesna University College.[2]


Boine was born and raised in Gámehisnjárga, a village on the river Anarjohka in Karasjok municipality in Finnmark, in the far north of Norway.[3]

Boine's parents were Sami. They made a living from salmon fishing and farming. She grew up steeped in the region's natural environment, but also amidst the strict Laestadian Christian movement with discrimination against her people: for example, singing in the traditional Sami joik style was considered "the devil's work". The local school that Boine attended reflected a very different world from her family's. All the teaching was in Norwegian.[4]


As Boine grew up, she started to rebel against the prejudiced attitude of being an inferior "Lappish" woman in Norwegian society. For instance, the booklet accompanying the CD 'Leahkastin' (Unfolding) is illustrated with photographs with racist captions like "Lapps report for anthropological measurement", "Typical female Lapp", "A well-nourished Lapp"; and it ends with a photo of Boine herself as a girl, captioned "Mari, one of the rugged Lapp-girl types" and attributed "(Photo: Unidentified priest)".[5]

When Boine's album Gula Gula was first released on Peter Gabriel's RealWorld label in July 1990, its front cover (see illustration) showed an iconic image of the tundra of the far north, the eye of a snowy owl. The front cover curiously did not show the name of the album, or the name or face of Mari Boine herself; the back cover printed the name 'Mari Boine Persen', the Persen surname identifying her as a Norwegian rather than a Sami.[6] On the 2007 release on her own Lean label,[7] the album cover explicitly names Mari Boine with her Sami surname, and shows her (see illustration) in full Sami costume as a shamanistic dancer of her own people, while the white background, like the snowy owl of the original release, hints at the snows of the north.

Boine was asked to perform at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, but refused because she perceived the invitation as an attempt to bring a token minority to the ceremonies.[8]

Musical style[edit]

Boine's songs are strongly rooted in her experience of being in a despised minority. For example, the song 'Oppskrift for Herrefolk' (Recipe for a Master Race) on her breakthrough CD 'Gula Gula', sung in Norwegian unlike the rest of the songs which are in Sami, speaks directly of 'discrimination and hate', and recommends ways of oppressing a minority: "Use bible and booze and bayonet"; "Use articles of law against ancient rights".[9]

Boine's other songs are more positive, often singing of the beauty and wildness of Sapmi (Lapland). The title track of 'Gula Gula' asks the listener to remember 'that the earth is our mother'.[10]

Boine sings in a traditional Saami style, using the 'yoik' voice, with a range of accompanying instruments and percussion. For example, on 'Gula Gula' the instruments used are drum, guitar, electric bass clarinet, dozo n'koni, ganga, claypot, darboka, tambourine, seed rattles, cymbal, clarinet, piano, frame drum, saz, drone drum, hammered dulcimer, bosoki, overtone flute, bells, bass, quena, charango and antara.[11]


Rootsworld, interviewing Boine in 2002, described her as "an unofficial Sami cultural ambassador".[12]

The Guardian, in its 2010 F&M playlist of songs "they just can't turn off", describes My Friend of Angel Tribe with the words "Norwegian Sami singer Boine, with this soft, melancholy and utterly mesmerising song."[13]

Johnny Loftus, reviewing Boine's Eight Seasons, wrote that "Boine seems to have been inspired, collaborating with producer Bugge Wesseltoft for a collection of pieces weaving her alternately supple and intimate, angry and otherworldly vocals into moody arrangements tinged with jazz influence and electronic programming."[14] While there was a degree of cliché in that, wrote Loftus, it worked well, concluding: "Boine's voice, filtered at first behind the halting notes of a guitar, builds in strength over the brooding electronic rhythm, until her Joik overtakes the electronics completely, becoming fully responsible for the song's deep, chilly atmosphere. Let's see a keyboard's hard drive do that."[14]


In 2003, Boine was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize. She was appointed knight, first class in the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for her artistic diversity on 18 September 2009.[15] On 7 October 2012, Boine was appointed as a "statsstipendiat", an artist with national funding, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon any artist in Norway.[16]

Boine has received other awards as follows:

Preceded by
Arve Tellefsen
Recipient of the Open class Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by
No Open class award
Preceded by
Ole Edvard Antonsen
Recipient of the Open class Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by
No Open class award
Preceded by
Anne Grete Preus
Recipient of the Open class Gammleng-prisen
Succeeded by
Maj Britt Andersen
Preceded by
Arne Dagsvik
Recipient of the Nordlysprisen
Succeeded by
Bjørn Andor Drage
Preceded by
Terje Rypdal
Recipient of the Open class Spellemannprisen
Succeeded by
Nils Petter Molvær
Preceded by
Solveig Kringlebotn
Recipient of the Norsk kulturråds ærespris
Succeeded by
Tor Åge Bringsværd
Preceded by
Arve Tellefsen
Recipient of the Spellemannprisen honorary award
Succeeded by


Mari Boine 7 July 2007

See the woman (2017)

  1. Today starts now
  2. Chasing myself into reality
  3. See the woman
  4. Some sai I got Devil
  5. Happily ever after
  6. 2-4-6-7-8-9 in one
  7. Yes
  8. Teepee rom
  9. This is my heart
  10. Twin soul
  11. Adine & Isak - My treasures
  12. Crowded streets of blue
Gilve gollát – Sow Your Gold (2013)
Live album, Mari Boine featuring Norwegian Radio Orchestra
  1. Trilobihta lávlla (Song from a trilobite)
  2. Gula Gula (Hear the voices of the foremothers)
  3. Goaskinviellja (Eaglebrother)
  4. Dutnje (To you)
  5. Jearrat biekkas (To ask the wind)
  6. Boađan nuppi bealde (I come from the other side)
  7. Beaivelottáš (Butterfly)
  8. Elle
  9. Mu váibmu vádjul doppe (Hymn)
  10. Gilvve gollát (Sow your gold)
  11. Alla Hearrá guhkkin Osllos – Høye Herre langt der nede i Oslo
Čuovgga Áirras / Sterna Paradisea (2009)
  1. Lene Májjá
  2. Ipmiliin hálešteapmi (Conversation with God)
  3. Soagŋosilbbat (Courting Jewellery)
  4. Soria Moria Palássa (Soria Moria Palace)
  5. Čuovgga áirras (Sterna Paradisea)
  6. Claudiinna lávlla (Claudine's Song)
  7. Skealbma (The Mischievous)
  8. Iđitveiggodettin (Dawn)
  9. De mana, ráhkásan (For My Daughter)
  10. Lihkahusat (Entranced)
  11. Go idja nuossala (When Night Is Almost Done)
Kautokeino-opprøret (2008)

Soundtrack from the film Kautokeino-opprøret.

  1. Elen Skum
  2. Válddi vuoigna (The Spirit of Power)
  3. Deaivideapmi (Confrontation)
  4. Doaivut ja vuoimmehuvvat (Hope and Defeat)
Idjagieđas / I Nattens Hand / In the Hand of the Night (2006)
  1. Vuoi Vuoi Mu (Vuoi Vuoi Me)
  2. Idjagieđas (In the Hand of the Night)
  3. Suoivva (The Shadow)
  4. Gos Bat Munno Čiŋat Leat? (Where Did All Our Colours Go?)
  5. Mu Ustit, Eŋgeliid Sogalaš (My Friend of Angel Tribe)
  6. Davvi Bávttiin (On the Fells of the North)
  7. Lottáš (Little Bird)
  8. Diamántta Spáillit (Reindeer of Diamond)
  9. Geasuha (Irresistible)
  10. Áfruvvá (The Mermaid)
  11. Uldda Nieida (Uldda Girl)
  12. Big Medicine (Fápmodálkkas)
Gávcci Jahkejuogu / Eight Seasons (2002)
  1. Boađan Nuppi Bealde (I Come From The Other Side)
  2. Song For The Unborn (Reagákeahtes)
  3. Sáráhka Viina (Sáráhka's Wine)
  4. Guovssahasaid Ájagáttis (By The Source Of Aurora B)
  5. Sielu Dálkkas (Soul Medicine)
  6. Mu Váibmu Vádjul Doppe (Hymn)
  7. Butterfly (Beaivelottáš)
  8. Liegga Gokčas Sis' (In A Blanket Of Warmth)
  9. It Dieđe (You Never Know)
  10. Duottar Rássi (Tundra Flower)
  11. Silba Várjala (Let Silver Protect)
  12. Bottoža Dáhtun (Give Me A Break)
Winter in Moscow (2001)

(Mari Boine with Inna Zhelannaya and Sergey Starostin)

  1. Dás Áiggun Cuožžut (Here Will I Stand)
  2. Pjesna Ljesorubov (Song Of The Lumberjacks)
  3. Korridorsangen (The Corridor Song)
  4. Sjestra Maja Notsj (The Night Is My Sister)
  5. Vozlje Tvojej Ljobvi (Near Your Love)
  6. Odinotsjestvo-Sestritsa (Sister Loneliness)
  7. Roahkkadit Rohtte Luodi, Mánázan (Joik With Pride, My Child!)
  8. Balada O Gorje (Ballad Of Grief)
Bálvvoslatjna / Room of Worship (1998)
  1. Eallin (Life)
  2. Beaivvi Nieida (Daughter Of Sun)
  3. Risten
  4. Eagle Man / Changing Woman (Girdi Olmmái / Geaidi Nissun)
  5. Álddagasat Ipmilat (Gods Of Nature)
  6. Oarjjabeal Beaivvi Ja Mánu (West Of Moon And Sun)
  7. Mu Váhkar Lásse (My Youngest)
  8. Alit Go Buot Várit (Higher Than All Mountains)
  9. Don It Galgan (Thou Shalt Not)
  10. Etno Jenny (Ethno Jenny)
Eallin / Life (1996)

(recorded live)

  1. Mielahisvuohta (State of Mind Where Your Intellect Is Disconnected)
  2. Dás Áiggun Čuožžut (Within Myself)
  3. Orbina (The Orphan)
  4. Gula Gula (Hear The Voices of the Foremothers)
  5. Modjás Katrin (Katrin Who Smiles)
  6. Eco (Echo)
  7. Skádja (Reverberation)
  8. Vuolgge Mu Mielde Bassivárrái (Come with Me to the Sacred Mountain)
  9. It Šat Duolmma Mu (Free)
  10. Dutjne (To You)
Radiant Warmth (1996)

(Compilation from 'Goaskinviellja' and 'Leahkastin')

  1. Goaskinviellja (Eagle Brother)
  2. Ale Sat (No More)
  3. Cuovgi Liekkas (Radiant Warmth)
  4. Skádja (Reverberation)
  5. Cuvges Vuovttat, Duodalas Calbmi (Hair of Light, Solemn Eye)
  6. Modjás Kátrin (Katrin Who Smiles)
  7. Mielahisvuohta (Lunacy, Lunacy)
  8. Gilvve Gollát (Sow Your Gold)
  9. Gulan Du (Hearing You)
  10. Vuolgge Mu Mielde Bassivárrái (Come with Me to the Sacred Mountain)
  11. Ráhkesvuodain (Feather the World)
  12. Mu Ahkku (Grandma)
  13. Ale Ale Don (Don't Go... Not You)
Leahkastin / Unfolding (1994)
  1. Gumppet Holvot (The Wolves Howl)
  2. Ále Šat (No More)
  3. Čuovgi Liekkas (Radiant Warmth)
  4. Áhččai (To My Father)
  5. Maid Áiggot Muinna Eallin (What Do You Want Life?)
  6. Mielahisvuohta (Lunacy Lunacy)
  7. Gilvve Gollát (Sow Your Gold)
  8. Gulan Du (Hearing You)
  9. Vuolgge Mu Mielde Bassivárrái (Come with Me to the Sacred Mountain)
  10. Mun Da'han Lean Oaivámuš (Just When I Had...)
  11. Dá Lean Mun (Here I Am)
Goaskinviellja / Ørnebror / Eagle Brother (1993)
  1. Čuvges Vuovttat, Duođalaš Čalbmi (Hair of Light, Solemn Eye)
  2. Sámi Eatnan Duoddarat (Samilands Rippling Tundra)
  3. Modjás Kátrin (Katrin Who Smiles)
  4. Dás Áiggun Čuožžut (Within Myself)
  5. Dolgesuorbmagežiiguin (A Feathered Touch)
  6. Skádja (The Reverberation)
  7. Goaskinviellja (Eagle Brother)
  8. Ráhkesvuođain (Feather the World)
  9. Mu Áhkku (My Grandma)
  10. Ále Ále Don (Don't Go... Not You)
Gula Gula / Hør stammødrenes stemme / Hear the Voices of the Foremothers (1989)
  1. Gula Gula (Hear the Voices of the Foremothers)
  2. Vilges Suola (White Thief)
  3. Balu Badjel Go Vuoittán (When I Win Against Fear)
  4. Du Lahka (Near You)
  5. It Šat Duolmma Mu (Free at Last)
  6. Eadnán Bákti (To Woman)
  7. Oppskrift For Herrefolk (Recipe for a Master Race)
  8. Duinne (To You)

Bonus tracks on the 2003 remastered reissue:

  1. Oarbbis Leat
  2. Čuovgi Liekkas
  3. Gula Gula – Chilluminati Mix
Jaskatvuođa maŋŋá / Etter stillheten / After the Silence (1985)
1. Alla Hearra Guhkkin Oslos
2. Oktavuohta
3. Ceavlas Galbma Garvvuid Sis(te)
4. Mearrasapmelazzii
5. Sii Navccahuhttet Mu
6. Idja Lea Mannan
7. Anuheapmi
8. Koffor E Det Sa Stille
9. Na Darvanii Jahkku *
10. Oainnat Go Mo Cuvggoda Dal
* Mari Boine (first) lyrics, set to John Lennon's Working Class Hero music

Also appears on[edit]

With Jan Garbarek

With Future Prophecies

  • Warlords Rising (Beatservice Records, 2005)


  1. ^ Harris, Craig. "Biography: Mari Boine". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Unofficial Biography of Mari Boine, 1996. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Mari Boine, Biography, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Booklet accompanying CD 'Leahkastin', Mari Boine, Verve World (523889-2), 1994.
  6. ^ "RealWorld". Gula Gula. July 1990. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  7. ^ Erdal, Silje F. (23 March 2011). "Lean Record Label". The one and only – Mari Boine. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  8. ^ Artist Direct, Mari Boine Biography.
  9. ^ Lyrics for 25/iii 2004, Oppskrift for Herrefolk,
  10. ^ Mari Boine Persen, Gula Gula lyrics. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Booklet accompanying CD, Gula Gula, Mari Boine Persen, Real World Records (CDRW13), 1990.
  12. ^ Lipp, Marty (2002). "RootsWorld Recording Review". Looking to the future from the past. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  13. ^ Salmon, Chris (20 May 2010). "The Guardian: Playlist". F&M playlist. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  14. ^ a b Loftus, Johnny. "Review". Eight Seasons. Allmusic. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  15. ^ The announcement on
  16. ^ Nordseth, Pål (7 October 2012). "Hadia overrasket med statsstipend på døra Nå får Mari Boine 416 000 statlige kroner i året til hun blir pensjonist". Retrieved 23 February 2013.

External links[edit]