Friday, 28 November 2014

Downhill Bluegrass Band: new release “Mountain Songs and other Stories”

Maxida Märak, a member of the Swedish indigenous Sami people, is one of Sápmi’s most influential musicians of today that usually performs rap and hip hop. She tours the whole of Scandinavia, telling her audiences about the Sami and the life they lead. 

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.” 

So, now she’s striking out again, collaborating with Downhill Bluegrass Band in a musical project blending bluegrass with traditional Sami folk musicThe project worked out a full length album – 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.” Well, an explosive album has come out from this project, that is primarily a musical project, but has a more serious undertone, and can be seen as a contribution to the debate on how we manage our natural resources.

”Mountain Songs & other stories” breaks new ground, exploring the similarities between the Sami culture’s musical expression and the American traditional folk music from around the Appalachian Mountains. The mountain has a central role in both contexts, and the mining industry affects the lives of both people and nature on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read more and listen at: