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Marit And Rona
United Kingdom
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May 2023 #29 - Top 40 for Nordic & Baltic Influence Kilmartin Glen Campsite (track)
June 2022 #30 - Top 40 for Nordic & Baltic Influence Kilmartin Glen Campsite (track)
July 2021 #24 - Top 40 for Nordic & Baltic Influence Kilmartin Glen Campsite (track)
Not everything has been done before. At least not in music. Which is something of a marvel. The debut album from Marit Fält and Rona Wilkie melds tunes and songs from their separate geographical backgrounds to create new music that’s uplifting, daring, and harmonious. Turas explores the rarely probed similarities between Scandinavian and Scottish Highland tunes – coloring them with songs from both traditions. But this isn’t academia. Marit and Rona’s music is playful, borderless, and thrilling. It glides from evocative near-classical movements through elegant polskas to buoyant reels, brought to life by Rona’s multi-personality fiddle virtuosity and Marit’s breathtaking mastery of the versatile låtmandola.

The duo fell into playing together when they were studying in Newcastle. In 2012, they won the coveted Danny Kyle Award at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival, and Rona was named BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

While the musical relationship between Scandinavia and the Northern Isles of Scotland has been investigated before, there were fewer creative unions between those countries and the Highlands. And it’s that which fused Marit and Rona’s collaboration.

“The way that the Gaelic and Norwegian and Swedish languages are sung is very similar, and the melodies of the languages are similar as well,” Rona explains. “But we’re also exploring the differences in the music – in the tempos, time signatures, and even the tone of the instruments.”

The låtmandola (or Nordic mandola) was created for both accompaniment and melody. This inspired Marit and Rona to take the same approach to the cittern, violin, viola, and Hardanger fiddle (to name a few) – at times turning their traditional usage upside down. Similarly, their voices add melodic and rhythmical layers, and contrasting tones – instruments in their own right.

Joining them on several tracks is the bewitching percussion of Allan Òg MacDonald and the deliciously sweeping strings of the Cantilena Quartet – playing Marit and Rona’s own arrangements. The album was produced by the renowned musician, singer, and broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy.

The title – Turas – means the same in Swedish as in Gaelic: to take turns. It was chosen for its ease of pronunciation in English too. Because the music of Marit and Rona translates simply and poignantly to all audiences, no matter their nationality, background, or experience.

It’s something of a marvel.
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