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Born into a reindeer herding family, Marja’s life, as well as her music, are both firmly rooted in the South Saami way of life. Her songs centre different aspects of her indigenous Saami identity, e.g. the closeness and importance of the environment, as well as both her love for reindeer husbandry and her commitment to the protection and revitalisation of the South Saami language.
In Sept 2021, the Norwegian Grammy Award winner released her latest album Raajroe – The Reindeer Caravan. The album has been beautifully arranged and orchestrated by Daniel Herskedal, who is featured on the album as well, alongside Jakop Janssønn and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra KORK. The album is a fitting tribute to the oral tradition of the Indigenous Saami people.
Yoiking, being an oft-silenced tradition drawing upon centuries old melodies, has finally met its musical counterpart in the sound of the orchestra. Once again, Marja Mortensson has given the South Saami yoiking tradition a new, fresh dimension to discover.
Mortensson’s album, a labour of love, has reached the autumn pastures. Raajroe – The Reindeer Caravan is steeped in the knowledge of how one not only travels through our Mother Earth, but how one lives on and off her, always caring for her. The music becomes an offering of thanks to nature itself, the reindeer and all ancestors who have carefully traversed these lands before us. These are stories stemming from a time Marja herself has not lived through, but through her commitment to the Saami oral tradition, the yoik and the South Saami language, she is passing on her people’s traditions to future generations.