Marja Mortensson, a young South Saami yoiker and singer from Svahken Sïjte reindeer herding district, in Hedmark County (Norway), has a remarkable voice. 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.
For the past couple of years, Marja has collaborated with the celebrated Saami musician Frode Fjellheim in order to bring new life to traditional Saami yoiks. Whilst involved in a project called Russuoh Vuölieb (“Rekindle the Yoiking Tradition”) and during courses at Nord University where she has been able to study old recordings of traditional yoiks, she has successfully taught herself the South and Ume Saami yoiking tradition. Moreover she has participated in Frode Fjellheim’s stage production “the Orchestral Yoik Project”, alongside celebrated Saami musicians such as Mari Boine, Anneli Drecker and Berit Nordbakken Solheim.
Despite her young age, Marja has already received widespread recognition for her music and throughout her career she has performed together with several well-known musicians. She was awarded the 2013 Hedmark County Culture Award, and was crowned “Young Artist of the Year” at the international indigenous festival Riddu Riđđu, in 2014. This, in turn, gave her the rare opportunity to perform in Taiwan, Siberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the beginning of 2017, Marja played a major role in the centennial Saami concert in Trondheim, which marked the centenary of the first Saami Assembly in 1917. She has been working as the County Musician of Troms, Norway. In 2019 she got a Spellemann (the Norwegian Grammy Award) in the folk music category for her second album Mojhtestasse - Cultural Heirlooms.
At the beginning of 2017, Marja released her acclaimed debut album ‘Aarehgïjre’ – Early Spring. A mere year later, she released her new album ‘Mojhtestasse’ – Cultural Heirlooms. This time around, she has chosen to let her unique voice take centre stage; through a minimalistic and acoustic production, which highlights her attention to tradition, she lets her Saami roots guide the final feel of the entire album. Together with Daniel Herskedal (tuba/bass trumpet) and Jakop Janssønn on percussion, Marja manages to create an intimate soundscape well worth listening to. Overall, the album presents Marja’s voice, musical background and traditional roots in a completely new and stunning way.
Marja Mortensson lea akte noere åarjelsaemien artiste. Dïhte Svahken Sïjteste båata, Engerdaelien tjïelteste, Hedmark Fylhkesne. Marjan lea joekoen gïele jïh dïhte sæjhta åarjelsaemien gïelem jïh upmejesaemien joejkemevuekiem vuesiehtidh. Tuhtjie hov vihkeles almetjh maehtieh saemien gieligujmie åahpenidh jïh vaanesuvvieh dejtie goltelidh.
Marja Hedmarhken fylhketjïelten kultuvresjïelem jaepien 2013 åadtjoeji. Dïhte lij Riddu Riddun noere artiste jaepien 2014. Seamma jaepien aaj konserth Taiwanesne, Sibirijesne jïh DR Congosne utni. Dellie Marja aaj meatan Russouh vuölieb-prosjektesne jïh konsertesne Såhkie – Ubmejen sámienseäbrrine. Duennie prosjektesne, noerh åadtjoejin båeries vuelieh ovmessie arkijvijste ohtsedidh joejkeme-mentovri ektine. Jaepien 2015 Nord Universiteetesne joejkemekuvsjem veelti. Jaepien 2017 Marja lij soliste Nöörjen Kringkastningsorkesterine, gosse heevehti dam voestes saemien tjåanghkoe mij Tråantesne hööltesti gierhkengarres 6-8. biejjine jaepien 1917.
Gïjren 2017 Marjan voestes albume Aarehgïjre bööti, maam Frode Fjellheim dorje. Njoktjen 26. biejjien 2018, Marjan mubpien albume Mojhtestasse bööti. Dennie albumisnie vuelieh åarjelsaemiendajveste ohtsedamme jïh sïjse spealadamme. Jaepien 2019 daate albume Spellemann-sjïelem åadtjoeji.
Meatan lea tubaiste Daniel Herskedal jïh perkusjoniste Jakop Janssønn. Musihkeri ektine lea tjaebpieslaakan vuelide jïh musihkem ikteramme. Marja lea aaj jïjtje vuelieh jïh laavloeh albumasse tjaaleme.