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Sami artist Maxida Märak

CONTINUE

Mountain Songs and other Stories

While Swedish colonialists and foreign mining companies are grabbing and tearing up pieces of Sápmi, resistance is growing in northern Scandinavia. One of the strongest voices belongs to the Sami activist Maxida Märak. Together with Downhill Bluegrass Band she’s made an explosive album as a reaction to the exploitation of the land and its resources.

Maxida Märak is one of Sápmi’s most influential musicians of today. With her mix of dubstep, hip hop and club music she tours the whole of Scandinavia, telling her audiences about the Sami and the life they lead. Now she’s striking out again, this time with a full length album with Downhill Bluegrass Band – a unique collaboration between bluegrass and gritty Sami music. “The more you listen to bluegrass, the more common ground you find with Sami culture” Maxida says. “Bluegrass music is quite grim and if you don’t listen to the lyrics you’d believe they’re all quite cheerful tunes. But they sing about mining, abuse and suicide.”

Maxida Märak usually performs rap and hip hop but a few years ago she heard “The Mountain” by Steve Earle – a bluegrass tune that would take her career in a completely new direction. “It really carries a message” Maxida  says. “There’s something in that song that describes my situation as it is today.”

“”The Mountain” is about mining – something that has affected the whole of Maxida Märak’s life. A foreign company has begun prospecting for iron ore on the land where she and her family have their reindeer’s winter grazing, threatening the millennia-old industry of reindeer herding. The song was also the starting point of the collaboration between Downhill Bluegrass Band and Maxida Märak. The Sami artist sang a cover version of the Steve Earle song on her tours and after having played it with Kajsa Kjellgren Westin of Downhill Bluegrass Band they had the idea of recording more tunes together. The friends felt they wanted to develop their musical collaboration further.

That was the birth of Downhill Bluegrass Band’s new album; an album reflecting on preserving our resources, on not giving everything away to the money-grabbing men. It’s about future generation’s right to unspoilt land and clean water. Maxida Märak joiks, which means the band has had to make a detour from some of the strict bluegrass conventions: “We don’t want to accompany joik. It should all meld together.” Kajsa Kjellgren Westin says. “We want to create new material here and that has forced us to consider which characteristics can be changed or removed in the process. And which ones can’t be removed?”

Downhill Bluegrass Band has had to examine its own ideas of what can be set to music and how to compose, so that the music doesn’t lose its soul. “It’s about identity. Maxida has said how she needs to keep the joik’s and her own identity so it doesn’t become some bloody tra-la-la. In the same way that I can’t play heavy metal and call it bluegrass, that wouldn’t be Downhill Bluegrass Band.” Kajsa Kjellgren Westin says and continues, “We’re proud of the result or we wouldn’t have made this album.” The problem with Swedish mining policies is that it costs next to nothing for companies to extract minerals from the ground.

This means that foreign companies can fly in, exploit areas and then just fly out again. The local population is left with clean-up costs stretching to millions of krona, and land and water – the foundation of the Sami – is laid to waste. For Maxida  the album is a way of expressing what’s going on in the north of Sweden: “Everything is politics, you can’t escape it. This is evident in bluegrass since it originates in the working class. I understand musicians who only want to sing about summer and sunshine but that artist is not me. I don’t believe anybody thinks I am either” Maxida Märak says.

“I’m concerned that this wealth of resources, history, culture, and tradition should remain and that the reindeer herding industry should be protected. An album in the Lule Sami language can hit a nerve in ways that I can’t predict” Kajsa Kjellgren Westin of Downhill Bluegrass Band says. So here are two old traditions, united in one album. On one side is Maxida Märak, singing for her people. On the other is Downhill Bluegrass Band, playing for people forced to live in mining districts with drug and alcohol abuse, suicides and heavy industries.

The result is a musical mix vibrating with energy – filled with all that which makes bluegrass real and true

 

Our poetic stand

The collaboration between Maxida Märak and Downhill Bluegrass Band is grounded in the mountains of Scandinavia, rooted in the old-growth forests of the North. It is the foreboding sight of a hovering raven, the grunting murmur of the reindeer herd. The fickle winds off the beaten track and the impermeable darkness of the Arctic winter.

Thus it defies the threat of political currents ready to put a permanent end to eternal values. It uses yoik adorned by the rippling creeks, glittering strings and the age-old lichen that grace the sleeping mountains. Like the sun it kisses the unshaded lakes, caresses the petals on the spring hillside and offers comfort to a weary rambler. It springs from a common love of music and the conviction that nature and us are one.

Respect existence or expect resistace.

Dát le muv viesso

Maxida Meraga ja Downhill Bluegrass Banda aktisasjbarggo le vuododum Nuorttarijkaj várrelássá ja duoddarij nanna, ja le sajev gávnnam dålusjvuomij sinna. Dijddan máhttá árvvedit girdde ruŋkav, ruovgge boatsojälov, miehtse målsudahkes biekkajt ja arktalasj dálve suohkkis sjievnnjedav.

Dajna doarádalladuvvi dálásj politijkalasj fámo ma li ihkálasj árvojt dåssjådittjat – vuolij baktu, hiervvidum skåvve jågåj ja máttarájge vistij, ma sjávodis várijt njávkadi.
Degå biejvve musijkka tjulástallá rabás jávrijt, njávkat várij gidágiedjegijt ja vaddá jaskadusáv sillum vájaldiddjáj. Aktanbarggo le badjánam aktisasj gieresvuodas musijkkaj ja vissesvuodas jut luonndo ja mij lip akta.

  Guddneda iellemav jali vuorde vuosstehágov. 

East of the Mountains

The majesty of nature is the greatest asset we will ever experience. This song was reborn when Maxida and Jonas recorded it together.
Luondo stuorravuohta le åvdemus majt bessap dåbddåt. Dát lávlla ådåsis riegádij Maxida ja Jonasa aktan lávlodijn.

Lyrics East of the Mountains

I stood on a mountain and I looked down below
I came up here to see the valleys so green
And the hills where the tall timber grows

Now they cut down the timber, left the hills in a shroud
And a low mournful sound abides in the ground
Where the woods once stood silent and proud

And the wicked wind blows and it cuts through my clothes
Finding its way to my soul

There’s nowhere to hide and it eats me inside
Leaves just an empty black hole

I spent years of my childhood in this kingdom of mine
And I knew this land like the back of my hand
Where I always could find peace of mind

Now the cold rain is fallin’ from a colorless sky
On a land primed in grey with just hard rocks and clay
I hang my head down and I cry

Music and Lyrics Jonas Kjellgren

How Can You Sell What’s Mine

Our government is selling Swedish soil to foreign hazardous companies in search of private wealth, expropriating land from people who have worked it for generations. But all we are left with are the toxic residues.
Mijá ráddidus le vuobbdemin Svieriga ednamav ålggorijkaj oassesiebrijda ma ietjasa vidnigav åhtsi, åmastime ednamav ulmutjijs ma buolvas buolvvaj danna li barggam. Valla dåssjå selga midjij báhtsi.

Lyrics How Can You Sell What’s Mine

I thought there was a difference between selling and stealing
And they said there was an abyss ‘tween warfare and feeling
And I thought that eternity would be here forever
And I was sure that always opposes to never

So how can you sell what is mine?

And I had in mind that we’d sing of our land
Carefully held by our ancestors’ hand
that pacifist cultures would live in peace and the lakes would be kissed by the summer breeze

So how can you sell what is mine?

Never knew that generosity would be met with greed
that dismantling  our backyard would proceed

So how can you sell what’s mine.

Music Jonas Kjellgren        Lyrics Kajsa Kjellgren Westin

NikeSunnas joik

In the Sámi tradition a personal yoik is the finest gift. This is my daughter’s yoik.
Sáme vuolle almatjij le buoremus vattáldahka. Dát le muv niejda vuolle.

Next Step

In Gállok we have seen greed taking over sense in men. Will it ever end?
Muhttijn biednikvuovve biehttá jergav. Degå Gállogin. I gus goassak någå?

Lyrics Next Step

You live so far away from me
You don´t know shit about my family
Still, you´ve got the power to ruin me
So can you tell me what it´s gonna be

What´s your next step?
What´s your next step, greedy man?
You smile so easy and you´ve got big plans,
So what´s your next step?

You dig a hole and take what you need
I bet you got a big market to feed
Is it okay to leave the natives to bleed?
Open up your mind and heart and speak to me!

How far do you think you can go
Before the whole damn system will blow?
You climb the ladder and before you know it
You fall, but don´t worry – we will pay for the show

And when you lie there, old and gray
Make sure you´ve got enough, so you can pay
It´s not about the money that you have made
Your consciousness and humanity is what I crave

Music and Lyrics Jan-Olof Jonsson

Home from the Forest

This is for our friends who work hard in the woods, who were left with a life in loneliness.
Dát le mijá venagij åvdås, gudi bárggi vuomen, gudi báhtsin aktuvuodan.

Lyrics Home From the Forest

Oh the neon lights were flashin’
And the icy wind did blow
The water seeped into his shoes
And the drizzle turned to snow

His eyes were red, his hopes were dead
And the wine was runnin’ low
And the old man came home
From the forest

His tears fell on the sidewalk
As he stumbled in the street
A dozen faces stopped to stare
But no one stopped to speak

For his castle was a hallway
And the bottle was his friend
And the old man stumbled in
From the forest

Up a dark and dingy staircase
The old man made his way
His ragged coat around him
As upon his cot he lay

And he wondered how it happened
That he ended up this way

Getting lost like a fool
In the forest

And as he lay there sleeping
A vision did appear
Upon his mantle shining

A face of one so dear
Who had loved him in the springtime
Of a long-forgotten year
When the wildflowers did bloom
In the forest

She touched his grizzled fingers
And she called him by his name
And then he heard the joyful sound
Of children at their games

In an old house on a hillside
In some forgotten town
Where the river runs down
From the forest

With a mighty roar the big jets soar
Above the canyon streets
And the con men con but life goes on
For the city never sleeps

And to an old forgotten soldier
The dawn will come no more
For the old man has come home
From the forest

Music and Lyrics Gordon Lightfoot

Rijddár (The Horseman)

Many a time in history, conquerors have ridden in on horses or in expensive cars, waving a book or dollar bills to get what they want, in the name of freedom. Whose freedom?
Ájgij tjadá oajtte li boahtám hestaj jali divras bijlaj, ja gassa bursaj háhkuham majt sihtin, friddjavuoda namán. Gen friddjavuohta?

Lyrics Rijddár (The Horseman)

Mån biejav girjev vuossáj, / I’ve got the book in my knapsack
birsov láddidav, / and a loaded gun
le munji jårbbå ednam friddja / And land is free and lasts forever
gåsi ájn mån fielastav. / everywhere I run

Le mujnna varra muv tjuvdijn, / I might have blood on my fingers
valla biegga l vuopptajnam. / but the wind is in my hair

Friddjavuodas boadáv, / I’m made of freedom
gájkajt váldáv iehtjamij, / I’m gonna grab what I can
tjabu balvajt, ábijt, / The sky and the horizon
vuogasvuodav ulmutjij. / and the dignity of man.

Majt dån riektasin aná, / I don’t need your opinion
iv gal dassta lágeda. / on what you consider fair
Dajna boahtám lev, / I was made for this and
ednamav mån åvdedav, / I’m developing the land

dav sidáv buoredit / I try to do some good
valla i dádjada. / but you dont’t understand
Duv boanndudagájt váldáv / I’m taking all your riches
valla doalvajt máhtsadav. / And I give you back the dirt

Le ham dajna mujna måhkke, / But this is opportunity
gájkajt váldáv iehtjamij, / I take what I can get

malmmaråkkijt vaddiv didjij, / I get you shops and bars and salaries
guhti dassta murkestij? / and no one’s to upset
Ale de dála muv tsakka, / So don’t you try to stop me
máhttján ierijt háhppelit! / Stand back or you’ll get hurt

Friddjavuodas boadáv, friddjavuodas, / I’m made of freedom, made of freedom
ij mige muv máhte hieredit. / nothing will ever slow us down
gå vuomijt ja várijt / The forrests, the montains
lip stádaj fievrritjit. / we take them back to town

Music and Lyrics Jakob Knapp    Lulesami translation Valborg Mangs Märak

The Mountain

This is the beginning and the end. This is what it is all about. It’s our home.
Dát le álggo ja måhkke, man birra gájkka le. Mijá viesso le.

Lyrics The Mountain

I was born on this mountain 
a long, long time ago
Before they knocked down the timber 
and strip-mined the coal
When you wake up in the mornin’ 
before it was light
To go down in that dark hole 
and come back up at night

I was born on this mountain, 
this mountain’s my home
She holds me and keeps me 
from worry and woe
Well, they took everything that she gave, now she’s gone
But I’ll die on this mountain, 
this mountain’s my home

It’s my home

I was young on this mountain
but now I am old
And I knew every holler, 
every cool swimmin’ hole
‘Til one night I lay down 
and woke up to find
That my childhood was over 
and I went down in the mine

Dan váren lev riegádam
mälggat le dat rájes
dalloj guohtom sjattaj ja boahttsu
gieverdin viejtto
valla dálla ednam le tjoaskes ja tjarggat,
ij majdek danna sjattá
ij ge boatsoj gruvvarájgev
máhte rasstit

Dat le muv viesso

There’s a hole in this mountain 
and it’s dark and it’s deep
And God only knows 
all the secrets it keeps
There’s a chill in the air 
only miners can feel
And there’s ghosts in the tunnel 
that the company sealed

It’s my home

Music and Lyrics Steve Earle 

Darling Corey

In Bluegrass tradition, there are many versions of this story. An independent sharpshooting woman who plays the banjo and runs her own illegal distillery. Until one day it is all over.
Bluegrass-árbbedáben dát giehtto gávnnu ållo hámijn. Iesrádálasj tjervas birssovuohttje nisunulmusj gut tjuojat tjuojadagájn ja boalldá buorgodum vijnajt. Dan biejve rádjáj gå gájkka nåhkå.

Lyrics Darling Corey

Wake up darling Corey
What makes you sleep so sound
The revenue officers are coming
They’re gonna tear your still house down

The first time I seen Corey
She was sitting on the banks of the sea
Had a forty-four around her body
And a banjo on her knee

Go away darling Corey
Quit hanging around my bed
Your liquor has ruined my body
Pretty women gone to my head

Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Dig a hole in the cold cold ground
Dig a hole dig a hole in the meadow
Gonna lay darling Corey down

Can’t you hear those bluebirds a singing
Don’t you hear that mournful sound
They’re preaching darling Corey’s funeral
In some lonesome graveyard ground

Wake up Darlin Corey
And go get me my gun
I ain’t no man for fightin’
But I’ll die before I run

Music Jonas Kjellgren      Lyrics PD

You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive

Appalachia and Scandinavia were once one and the same. Even today, there are notable similarities in living conditions between the rural mountain areas.
Appalachia ja Nuorttarijka lidjin akti avtagattja. Ájn uddni gávnnuji ållo avtalágásj viessomtjerda daj várrelahka årodagáj gaskan.

Lyrics You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive

In the deep dark hills of Eastern Kentucky
That’s the place where I traced my bloodline
And it’s there I read on a hillside gravestone
”You’ll never leave Harlan alive”

Oh my grandfather’s dad crossed the Cumberland Mountains
Where he took a pretty girl to be his bride
Said Won’t you walk with me out the mouth of this holler
Or we’ll never leave Harlan alive

Where the sun comes up about ten in the mornin’
And the sun goes down about three in the day
And you’ll fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you’re drinkin’
And you spend your life just thinkin’ of how to get away

No one ever knew there was coal in them mountains
‘Til a man from the northeast arrived
Waving hundred dollar bills
Said I’ll pay you for your minerals
But he never left Harlan alive

Grandma sold out cheap and they moved out west of Pikeville
To a farm where Big Richland River winds
And I bet they danced them a jig
And they laughed and sang a new song
”Who said we’d never leave Harlan alive”

But the times got hard and tobacco wasn’t selling
And old grandad knew what he’d do to survive
He went and dug for Harlan coal
And sent the money back to grandma
But he never left Harlan alive

When my people suffer, the Company gets their money
Its been the same procedure for the last four hundred years
For when the natives have no land, the natives have no saying
But I’ll never leave Sápmi alive

Where the sun comes up about ten in the mornin’
And the sun goes down about three in the day
And you’ll fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you’re drinkin’
And you spend your life just thinkin’ of how to get away

Music and Lyrics Darrell Scott

Várálasj (Dangerous)

This yoik is on the perilous mountains.
Dát vuolle le várálasj várij birra.

Fisherman’s Blues

There are many traditional ways of making a living in Sápmi. Sometimes you would just like to change places.
Gávnnuji Sámen moadda ieme vuoge viessoma åvddåj barggat. Muhttijn almasj márjju luluj sihtát sajijt måls.

Lyrics Fisherman’s Blues

I wish I was a fisherman
tumblin’ on the seas
far away from dry land
and it’s bitter memories
castin’ out my sweet line
with abandonment and love
no ceiling bearin’ down on me
save the starry sky above
with light in my head
with you in my arms…

I wish I was the brakeman
on a hurtlin’ fevered train
crashin’ head long into the heartland
like a cannon in the rain
with the feelin’ of the sleepers
and the burnin’ of the coal
countin’ the towns flashin’ by
and a night that’s full of soul
with light in my head
with you in my arms…

And I know I will be loosened
from the bonds that hold me fast
and the chains all around me
will fall away at last
and on that grand and fateful day
I will take thee in my hand
I will ride on a train
I will be the fisherman
With light in my head
You in my arms…

Light in my head
You in my arms…

Music and Lyrics Mike Scott, Steve Wickham 

Gåhttså Gieres Corey 
(Darling Corey sami version)

In Bluegrass tradition, there are many versions of this story. An independent sharpshooting woman who plays the banjo and runs her own illegal distillery. Until one day it is all over.
Bluegrass-árbbedáben dát giehtto gávnnu ållo hámijn. Iesrádálasj tjervas birssovuohttje nisunulmusj gut tjuojat tjuojadagájn ja boalldá buorgodum vijnajt. Dan biejve rádjáj gå gájkka nåhkå.

Lyrics Gåhttså Gieres Corey 
(Darling Corey sami version)

Gåhttså, gieres Corey
tjavgga oademis,
li boahtemin oajválattja
duv buollemvijnajt släbbotjit.

Vuostasj bále go suv vuojnniv
sån tsebmadiermen tjåhkkåhij,
birsov biejaj buolvaj nali,
tjuojanin sån tjuojadij.

Maná ierit, gieres Corey,
hiejte seŋga birra gålgåmis.
Mån hedjudahkaj lev sjaddam
duv gájka jugástallamijs.

Goajvo råkkev de mälggadin miehtsen
goajvo háhppelit sjävnjádav.
Goajvo råkkev de mälggadin miehtsen,
danna ruvva iesj vellaha.

Biellotsitsátja juo lávllu,
surggis iehketlávllagav,
da duv hávddádimbiejvev sárnnu
ja mån håjen gulldalav.

Gåhttså, gieres Corey
mån birsov åttjudav.
Váiku mån iv sidá doarrut
jámáv ienni gå báhtarav.

Music Jonas Kjellgren Music PD    Lulesami translation Valborg Mangs Märak

Várre (The Mountain sami version)

This is the beginning and the end. This is what it is all about. It’s our home.
Dát le álggo ja måhkke, man birra gájkka le. Mijá viesso le.

Lyrics Várre (The Mountain sami version)

Guhka ájgge le vássam 
gå dán váren riegádiv,
åvddål gå miehtsev tjuollin 
ja vedjajt ruoddjijin.
Dalloj guohtom sjattaj 
ja boahttsu gieverdin,
dåssjå ájdo vuomen 
dan ájgen gávnnujin.

Dánna lev mån riegádam, 
muv iellem várre le,
ij mige váilo, 
e hujá vájvede.
Vájku váre vatto 
li uddni dåssjånam
sidáv dánna jábmet, 
lev váren riegádam.

Dát le muv viesso

Nuorran lidjiv dán váren,
vuorastuvvam lev dal.
Juohkka giergev mån dåbddiv 
ja juohkka jávrátjav,
dasik biejvve bådij,
de vijmak dádjadiv:
mánnávuohta lij vássám, 
malmmaråggåj låjdåstiv.

Dán váren lev riegádam
mälggat le dat rájes
dalloj guohtom sjattaj ja boahttsu
gieverdin viejtto
valla dálla ednam le tjoaskes ja tjarggat,
ij majdek danna sjattá
ij ge boatsoj gruvvarájgev
máhte rasstit.

Gávnnu rájgge dán váren, 
sjievnnjis tjiegŋalij.
Aktu Jubmel gal diehtá
ma tjiehkosin li.
Gullu tjoasskem dan ájmon;
lev ussjolime:
tjiegŋalisán gal sjpävttja 
ájn stággidum le.

Dát le muv viesso

Music and Lyrics Steve Earle      Lulesami translation Valborg Mangs Märak

Reviews

Review Sing Out!

Swedish bluegrass?  YES! And who’d’ve thunk it! Maxida Marak, a member of the indigenous Sami people of Sweden, has joined with Downhill Bluegrass Band to create an album inspired by mining interests ripping up pieces of the Sapmi (Lapland) area. And what a sweet and memorable album it is!

The thirteen songs include two originals each by Maxida and Downhill’s Jonas Kjellgren. Swedish writers Jan-Olov Johnsson and Jacob Knapp are tapped for one song each. They also offer Gordon Lightfoot’s “Home form the Forest,” The Waterboys’ “Fisherman Blues” and right on point Darrell Scott’s “You’ll Never leave Harlan Alive” with a new verse Maxida wrote. Also dead on point and offered both in Swedish and English is Steve Earle’s “The Mountain.” The traditional “Darling Corey” also appears in both English and Swedish versions.

The love of the music and the passion the band and Maxida bring to the project is the album’s core. All clearly poured their hearts into it. Downhill clearly understands bluegrass and they play splendidly.

This album came to me out of deep in left field, and I am delighted it found me.

— Michael Tearson

Recension Lira

Hel artikel från Lira nummer 1 2015

SAMISK BLUEGRASS. Vem kunde tro att den samiska
och den amerikanska musiktraditionen kunde gifta sig
så naturligt? Sångerskan Maxida Märak hittar här en
naturlig ton tillsammans med kompande bandet Downhill
Bluegrass Band. Så vitt jag vet är det här en ganska unik
crossover men när man hör det oskavande resultatet är
det konstigt att inte fl er provat på det.
Nu handlar mycket om att Märak bemästrar samisk
sång med lika stor behållning som den träsksmakande
amerikanska folkditon, men även i tematiken hittas
beröringspunkter om urfolk, storfi nansens exploatering av
naturen och om folkets resning. Och det är i de innerligaste
mötena mellan fl addrande mandoliner, lätta som
fjärilsvingar, och Märaks pondusfyllda röst som albumet
når högst.
Gåhtsså gieres corey är både tung och slingrig,
titelspåret The Mountain luftigt och välkomnande. Maxida
Märak är just nu även aktuell med samarbetet med rockgruppen
Mando Diao med Love last forever, den offi ciella
låten för skid-vm i Falun. Missa inte!
THOMAS JONSSON

Recension Ralph Bretzer Arbetarbladet

Samisk jojk och amerikansk bluegrass. Detta samarbete visar att kombinationen är ett genidrag. Albumet får mig omedelbart i sitt grepp och går nästan oavbrutet i en hel vecka i mina lurar.
Det är något med det samiska språket som i mina öron rent känslomässigt gifter sig oerhört väl med den där ödsliga och sorgsna känslan i bluegrassen. Att tematiken med gruvnäringen som inkräktar på marken binder samman samerna med bergsborna i Appalacherna bidrar naturligtvis det med.
Märak sjunger gudomligt och Downhill spelar på hög internationell nivå. Framför allt känns det att det är musik som är på riktigt.

Ralph Bretzer

Recension Marica Blind Samefolket

Bluegrass är en variant av countryn som har hämtat inslag från brittisk och irländsk folkmusik. Downhill bluegrass band är ett rutinerat band från Dalarna och i deras musik kan du även höra spår av svensk folkmusik. Gruppen har släppt fem album tidigare, det senaste Wonderland släpptes så sent som i sommaren 2014.

Gruppen gav tillsammans med Maxida Märak ut en Ep med låtarna East of the Mountains och The Mountain 2012. Båda låtarna finns med på Mountain songs & other stories. The Mountain är skriven av den amerikanska singer/songwritern Steven Earle och på plattan finns den i två versioner – på svenska och på lulesamiska.

Albumet Mountain songs & other stories, som kan räknas som Maxida Märaks debutalbum, innehåller totalt 13 låtar på engelska, lulesamiska och med jojk. Låttexterna är skrivna av ett flertal textförfattare och några av texterna har översatts till lulesamiska av Valborg Mangs Märak.

Maxida Märak tillhör de artister som kämpar för samiska rättigheter och hennes kamp genomsyrar hennes val av låtar och jag uppfattar valet att översätta en del av låtarna till lulesamiska som en medveten politisk handling: ”Ni försöker ta våra marker med jag använder mitt språk för att säga er att ni gör fel.”

Jojkarna som hörs på albumet är gjord av Maxida Märak. Märaks jojkar kan beskrivas som glidande vattendrag utan höga toppar och djupa dalar. I låten Várálasj fungerar detta sätt att jojka mycket bra, men i andra låtar önskar jag hon kunnat byta sätt att jojka. Att använda samma typ av jojkstil på ett helt album uppfattar jag som en aning slött. Men hennes likartade jojk kan ju även bero på att hennes känsla för låtarna ständigt är densamma, vad vet jag.

Märak försöker så slå sig i på världens hiphop-scener men efter att jag lyssnat på denna platta ett antal gånger jag har fått en insikt. Hon är inte rapstjärna, inte än i alla fall. Hennes styrka ligger i hennes rena och starka sångröst. Om hon använder den kraftfulla sång rösten når hennes budskap fram betydligt snabbare än genom hennes hiphop- och dansmusik.

Mountain songs & other stories klarar sig bra i skivfloden och albumets styrka är Maxida Märaks starka röst och hur samspelta Downhill bluegrass band känns. Jag hoppas att Downhill bluegrass band och Märaks samarbete fortsätter även i framtiden både på livescenen och genom nya låtar. Bästa låtarna: Várálasj och Next Step.

Marica Blind

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Maxida and Downhill at Saltoluokta Folkmusik Festival

The single “Mountain Songs” from our first collaboration

mountain-song

Mountain Songs

The single “Mountain Songs” contains two songs: “The Mountain”, written by Steve Earle, and “East of the Mountains” written by Jonas Kjellgren, lead singer of Downhill. Maxida and Downhill mix the traditional yoik with modern singing and contemporary bluegrass with traditional instrumentation that is Downhills speciallity.

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