“You might expect that the Jew’s harp might be a little … well … samey. Not this one. She uses electronic manipulation of her voice and Jew’s harps to bring out the essence of Estonian folk song and its distinctive narrow-compass melodies.” FROOTS, Andrew Cronshaw
Cätlin Mägi explores the sonic potential of the Jew’s harp by bringing the ancient instrument in contact with modern technology and live electronics. With her barefoot manipulation of an array of pedals she creates complex dub arrangements, literally on the hoof.
Simple modal phrases are manipulated into riffs and chordal constructions, to which she adds her voice, layered and harmonised. The result is a harmonious, holistic loop orchestra, transforming a repertoire based on old village dance songs and ballads drawn from the deep well of Estonian folk song – a subject in which she earned her degree and now teaches at the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy – into imaginatively playful electro-folk grooves where the Jew’s harp accompanies itself, emulating synthesised sequencer sounds and generally having a wonderful time.
Cätlin Mägi – 50 Jew’s harps, vocal, electronics
Cätlin Mägi has played at many of the festivals in Estonia and abroad. In 2018, she released a debut album called “Mu pill parmupill”—“My Harp, My Heart” in English—which was the best traditional music album of the year at the Etnokulbid awards. The album also received nominations for the Best Song, the Best Artist and the Musician of the Year at the Etnokulbid awards in 2018.