“Getting my audience to connect to the truth and the beauty of Middle Eastern music, with the soul of jazz, is a beautiful way of action, an alternative in a world where there’s a lot of destructive forces.”
MA Rouf is the latest project of the Finnish-Iranian Kurd master musician Marouf Majidi. He comes from Sanandaj, the musical capital of Kordestan. Surrounded by a rich Middle Eastern heritage, he learned early on to play the native stringed instruments, the enchantingly dark-sounding tar and tanbour.
“Over ten years of musical life in my new homeland, Finland, has been a source of further inspiration and musical materials.”
Hence, Majidi’s current songs travel from Kurdish scenes to Arabic and Scandinavian atmospheres.
“Many of my songs talk about change and an undefined future.”
Still, cultural shapeshifting has been natural for Majidi, as it is for the three other members of Group. Saxophonist/clarinetist/pianist Jouni Järvelä, keyboard player and multi instrumentalist Esko Grundström and drummer/percussionist Tomi Saikkonen have been highly regarded in Finnish jazz and have experience from a full spectrum of musical traditions.
With MA Rouf it has been possible to musically unite seemingly unconnected languages and traditions and succeed in further enriching each other. The result is a unique amalgamation of compositions and instrumentation:
“While the roots of Marouf Group’s music are in Middle Eastern tradition we fertilize them with our Afro-centric and Scandinavian jazz influences. That’s a very beautiful garden to walk in.”
Marouf Majidi; vocals, tar, tanbour, composer
Jouni Järvelä; soprano, alto & tenor saxophones, Eb, Bb & bass clarinets, flute, piano, synthesizer,
Esko Grundström: Keys, harmonium
Tomi Saikkonen: drums & percussion