Mari Boine, a Norwegian Sami born in Finnmark in 1956, has consistently created albums of enchanting beauty. Blending her extraordinary voice, the traditional music of her Sami heritage and more contemporary jazz, rock and folk sounds, the purity of her work has touched people across the globe. Yet her music is also capable of embracing modern electronica while retaining its haunting and organic qualities.
You'd be forgiven if you thought that this wonderfully natural sounding music should not be interfered with. Yet for over two decades since the release of her debut in 1985 and the subsequent breakthrough album Gula Gula Boine has proved herself a woman who has always embraced collaboration and rejected isolationism, one who recognises the enriching contributions that others can make to her art as much as to life in general.
In acknowledgement of this she has invited a crack team of artists and producers to remix some of her recent work. Far from debasing their source material by polluting it they instead refine and enhance elements of the original work, recontextualising it in magical new surroundings.
This is actually Boine's second collection of remixes: the first, 2001's Odda Hamis, featured contributions from Jah Wobble and Biosphere amongst others. Its 2008 sibling begins with an interpretation of Elle, Boine's theme tune to 'The Kautokeino Rebellion', the recent highly successful film addressing the 1852 Sami uprising against Norwegian governmental suppression. The original recording, included at the album's close, is a desolately minimalist composition, but compatriots Mungolian Jetset reimagine the tune beneath a starlit sky, investing the originally heartbreaking melody with a bittersweet but equally haunting quality, not unlike an electronic Sigur Ros.
For more than twenty years Mari Boine has proven herself fiercely independent yet well aware of the value of shared causes, much in the same way as she remains both provocative and conciliatory, championing Sami culture in an intelligent, non-divisive manner. This second remix collection, therefore, is not only an eye and ear-opening selection of sounds, but also a celebration of open-mindedness. It's also a celebration of collaboration, and proof that, as the title makes abundantly clear, It Ain't Necessarily Evil. Some things will always be sacred.
It's a stunning beginning to an unusually rewarding collection of remixes, most of the rest of which draw upon songs from Boine's 2006 album Idjagiedas (In The Hand Of The Night). Tromsø's Syntax Erik takes on Gos Bat Munno Ci?at Leat?, stripping it back to a skeletal dub that still shimmers like a snowy landscape, while Kohib who recently remixed the similarly groundbreaking Sami act Adjagas cranks up the bass on Davvi Bávttiin (On The Fells Of The North) while simultaneously giving it a sharper edge than the original. Further darkening the mood, 120 Days reestablish Boadán Nuppi Bealde (I Come From The Other Side) from 2002's 8 Seasons in a more threatening environment, Boine's voice struggling to be heard above the bleak metallic forces at work.In contrast, Berlin, Germany's Henrik Schwarz brings a little warmth to proceedings with an already established classic, his soulful deep house transformation of Vuoi Vuoi Mu (Vuoi Vuoi Me) having won fans on many of the world's dance floors following its release as a single last year. Mungolian Jetset's second contribution is an epic, arguably frenzied rewiring of In The Hand Of The Night: retitled It Ain't Necessarily Evil, it more than justifies their repeat inclusion. Sweden's The Knife - alongside Schwarz the only non Norwegian act contributing meanwhile convert Gos Bat Munno Ci?at Leat? into a disorientating, fluttering slice of fragility, its name fittingly minimalised to Cinat. This perfectly offsets Mental Overdrive's thrusting, Moroder-esque Suoivva before Elle closes proceedings in its original form, a perfect reminder of BOINE's own brilliant purity.
For more than twenty years Boine has proven herself fiercely independent yet well aware of the value of shared causes, much in the same way as she remains both provocative and conciliatory, championing Sami culture in an intelligent, non-divisive manner. This second remix collection, therefore, is not only an eye and ear-opening selection of sounds, but also a celebration of open-mindedness. It's also a celebration of collaboration, and proof that, as the title makes abundantly clear, It Ain't Neccessarily Evil. Some things will always be sacred.