18.12.2014 Bamako, Mali.

Hawa Dembele vocal

Charles Niare vocal

Touramanshy Yaya rap

Clara Aaholm, vocal, balafon and piano

Marjo Smolander vocal and kantele

Mamadou Kamissoko ngoni and kalabas

Ousmane Kouyate kora

Bakary Dembele kalabas



Three women, three stories

Three young women from three different genres. One plays jazz, one plays Finnish traditional folk music, and one sings. One is from Denmark, one from Finland, and one from Mali. They met in Mali in 2014 and started to do music together. They started playing together and used the instruments kantele (Finland), balafon (Mali) and piano with Hawa’s singing.

Hawa is a singer with an extraordinary voice. Her voice is simultaneously very sensitive, deep and rough. She has been singing in Christian choirs in Mali for a long time. She was born in Kayes, in a Western town of Mali near the border of Senegal.

Marjo at the kantele is from the famous village called Rääkkylä. Rääkkylä is the home place of a well known Finnish world music group Värttinä. Marjo started her kantele studies as a student of Värttinä founder Sari Kaasinen. She has a strong knowledge of Finnish traditional music.

Originally a pianist Clara found her new instrument balafon and is now a wonderful balafonist with a great jazz and afro groove.

Three strong women with three different stories in music. The combination of a jazz sensations, folk music from Finland and West Africa created a new sound that inspired them to continue the cooperation. The strong rhythmical feeling through all the songs combining the nordic melancholy melodies gives the tunes a special sound.

December 2014 they recorded some of the tunes with local musicians from Mali, and the traditional Malian instruments ngoni, kalabas and kora were added to the songs.

Now these three women want to continue the work and see where the results will lead them.

Marjo Smolander: kantele, vocal

Clara Aaholm: balafon, piano, vocal

Hawa Dembele: vocal