Mari Kalkun is a composer and traditional music singer from Southern Estonia. She received the Estonian Ethno Music Award as the Best Singer in 2013.
The singer generally composes her own repertoire. A combination of folk texts and melodic intonations, the peculiar features of Estonia’s dialects and the traditional regilaul chant – her music invokes a meditative, home-like atmosphere. Kalkun is also the accompanist of her own songs, using the piano, accordion, kantele, guitar, flutes, and various experimental instruments.
The singer’s first album Üü tulõk (Arrival of the Night, 2007) was very well received by Estonian audience and music critics alike. The singer toured France, Hungary, England, Scotland, Germany, Finland, Russia, Armenia, and Japan with this programme. Her second album Vihmakõnõ (Dear Rain, 2010) is dedicated to her great-grandparents. In this album Kalkun converges on minimalism, experimenting with timbre and music recording locations.
Kalkun is also a member of the multinational ensemble Mari Kalkun & Runoruni, established in Helsinki. The four members of the band are all multi-instrumentalists with extensive knowledge about traditional music and improvisation. The band’s performance style is merry, vivid, and lyrical. Their album Tii ilo was released not only in Estonia, but also in Japan and Germany.
Mari Kalkun received a master’s degree in traditional singing from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Additionally, she advanced her skills at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki as a part of her studies.