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Mariska is back

Ah, Mariska's new single "Itserakkausjuttuu" was released today. Here are some links: spotify, spotify webplayer, iTunes.

Mariska started her career at around 2001, and was one of the first female rap artists in Finland. Her lyrics were intelligent, and she performed them with attitude. I heard people talking about her, and heard some of the pieces on radio. Well, my musical taste is wide, I listen to any good music - but rap and hiphop have always been a bit hard for me. Like "this would work on the dancefloor, but otherwise I just don't get the feeling". And at those times I was so depressed that I didn't feel like going to see gigs, I had no energy to dance. Years went on, Mariska released her third album at 2005, and got an award for her talented lyrics. I wasn't following music scene at all, and I don't remember exactly, but I have an impression that over the next years she was more active with writing lyrics for others, not performing that much.

She re-emerged at 2010, with a band called "Pahat Sudet" (The Bad Wolves), and this time it was an experimental mix of punkjazz blues pop, with a somehow movie-like feeling. The songs had funny and absurd stories, and eventually the album sold gold. Around these times Mariska also participated in a national tango singing competition, and won with her piece Sua kaipaan - it captures the essence of Finnish tango mood in such a way that it isn't always easy to tell if it is parody or serious; and after all, it doesn't matter =) The lyrics go like "Oh, I miss you so - and that's why I'm boozin' in the middle of the day in the local pub..."

Rap, hip-hop, tango, punkjazz, pop? Awards in different genres? Yes Mariska was known for her musical adventures, and sometimes the critics were kind of a waiting for her to settle at some genre; as if she was experimenting with different styles to finally find a genre which would be her own. And then of course there were many people who waited for her to return back to hip hop. Well, the autumn 2012 saw a Mariska & Pahat Sudet album "Kukkurukuu", which I've been already writing about, plenty of times =) That album also sold gold, and many critics praised it by saying that now Mariska has found her style, the band works brilliantly together, everybody likes this and we want more. And in spring 2013 Mariska announced they will quit after the summer tour. And it was exactly that which finally got me activated - together with my friend we went to see their gig, and it was an one big turning point in my own process of recovery. So I also went to see their last gig, which left me elevated. As, personally I especially admire Mariska's way of following her own path.

She got a name in rap and hip-hop scene - and she went on experimenting in out-of-the-box genre fusion. While Mariska was doing all that tango and punkjazz stuff, Finnish hip-hop scene had grown to become mainstream and some artists were financially successful. But Mariska had already went to her own direction, writing some top-selling lyrics for other artists, and releasing two gold selling albums with the Pahat Sudet -band. And quitting the band just when everybody thought that "now this is what Mariska is going to do, she has found and established her own style!". After they quit the band in the autumn 2013, there were some interviews where Mariska said that she will keep on writing lyrics for others, as that is her main profession, and later on she will be back to her own performing career with new stuff.

A lot of people were waiting for her new solo material, and in a way there were high expectations. Sometimes I was a bit afraid that how it will turn out - as there is always a danger of falling short of one's own goals. And that this might happen especially when you aim at doing something special. And today the new singe "Itserakkausjuttuu" is here, and it is better than I dared to expect =) There are rumours that a new album will be out in the autumn, and Itserakkausjuttuu is the first single released. It kind of a goes back to Mariska's roots in the hip-hop.

The name "Itserakkausjuttuu" means simply "to love oneself". In the lyrics it says like "I have finally learned to accept myself the way I am" and "well the haters will hate, it wont' hurt me - but what hurts is if I myself hate me" - "undeniably, I'm the best me there is - from now on I won't anymore compare myself to the others - HÄ!". Sure, this is at the same time a simple and often told message, but once again Mariska manages to deliver her own version in a fresh and enjoyable way. The message is also conveyed in the way she uses her voice. She sings in a friendly, smooth voice which flows effortlessly - it gives a feeling that she is not performing a role, but singing honestly the way she feels. There is strength and confidence in her voice. And that is the essence of the piece. That one's sense of self-worth and self-acceptance does not depend on being "better than somebody else" or "fitting in the expectations of the others", but simply radiates from within, with no need to put others down, no need to prove oneself. And at the same time the lyrics suggest that there might be moments when she loses her self-acceptance, but she promises to herself to always try to find it back. So, it is like a path to follow, a skill to learn and to develop. Well, but today I won't analyze more of it - as I believe that a good song always carries some of the message even when you can't understand the lyrics.

Before writing this entry I told spotify webplayer to play Itserakkausjuttuu on repeat, turned up the volume, opened a small window and went outdoors to enjoy morning coffee together with the music.

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