Maija Kauhanen combines modern beats with folklore elements and powerful singing

In her live shows she invites people to join her musical universe for a while.

“Kantele isn’t a typical band instrument, and at some point I realized that there’s no point in waiting for others to ask me to join their bands. So I formed my own”, Maija Kauhanen recalls the start of her solo career.

Maija Kauhanen is a Finnish one-woman band, singer, songwriter and player of kantele, the Finnish traditional chord instrument.

The Finns have a special bond to the sound of kantele: it’s in our DNA, and most of us have played the instrument in pre-school. But outside of Finland the sound is less familiar. After touring the world with her music, Kauhanen has found that after concerts people often want to take photos and touch the instrument. When asked to describe the instrument, Kauhanen often describes kantele as a mix of harp, guitar and sitra.

Maija Kauhanen’s songs require concentration from the audience as they can last up to ten of fifteen minutes.

“People are used to hearing songs that are around three minutes and are constructed in a certain way”, Kauhanen says.

“My songs are not like that, and if you’re in a very hectic state of mind you might have a hard time focusing on my music. But you just have to embrace the fact that this might take a while and let your spirit run free.”