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Marouf Majidi: Getting into Society with Music

Marouf Majidi is a Kurdish-Iranian musician and composer who has lived in Finland for almost twenty years. He studied Ethnomusicology before moving to Helsinki to continue his studies at Sibelius Academy. Marouf has significantly contributed to the Finnish music scene, blending traditional Kurdish music with modern sounds. He has collaborated with numerous artists and performed at various music festivals nationwide.


Marouf Majid by
Photo by Juha Roisko Photography

One of these events is called the 'Story Sharing Universum' event, where Marouf, a talented performer, entertained the audience with his music. The event aimed to promote cultural diversity by providing a platform for individuals from different backgrounds to share their life stories.


Marouf became an artist very young: "Well, I come from a music family, and music has always been a strong part of my life. My mother has a great knowledge of Kurdish folklore music and lamentation, and my brother is also a musician, but singing is a very strong part of the Kurdish community. In my childhood, I played different instruments, but I was very much interested in dancing. I got to play tambour through my dance teacher, and then I just continued to play and study it, and it became my main thing. "


Even though he is more familiar with the music of the Middle Eastern and North African traditions, he has also studied Finnish folk music, Flamenco, jazz, and some other traditions as well:" Anyway, I can't really say what my style is, it is a mixture of many things and myself. There is not one certain way of creating music, It changes and evolves with different people and in different projects. You have to spend a lot of time alone in the process of creating but also meeting others and getting inspiration from others and places is part of the process."


One of his projects involves working with refugees in Finland, where he performs and conducts workshops for them: "It is a very special and fruitful kind of project because I also have a refugee background. It feels like you always learn a lot of things by spending time and hearing their stories. "


But he is always ready to explore and learn new ways to be an artist: "One of the main things in any artistic work is continuity, meaning that you are never ready and there is always room to expand, to learn new things, to get excited. Besides the concert, recordings, theater projects, and interesting new collaborations, my plan is to learn new scales, to explore and challenge myself into new unknown musical and artistic fields."


However, creating a music career in Finland is challenging because the market is small, and the demand is smaller than in some other major countries. On the other hand, there is kind of a big competition going on since it is a small scene with lots of artists; he describes and continues - with good connections, knowing people, and also being familiar with how things are done here, where to go, and whom to ask! So, it is a good place to make a career, but it is not easy. It just depends on many things, and you need a bit of luck as well.


Most of Majid's musical projects are focused on Finland and Europe. He explains, "I am in contact with my parents, relatives, and old friends in Iran, but unfortunately, I haven't been collaborating with many artists there lately. My focus for the past few years has been more on my work here in Europe, but I hope to rebuild those connections and bridges to the Iranian music and art scene in the future."


However, his inspiration comes from Iran and Arab music: "There is so much good music and fine musicians out there that I love, and I have been enjoying their work. In Iran, it is certainly Shajarian; in Kurdish music, it is Hassan Zirak. There are lots of great artists and music from Anatolia and the Arab world. North Indian music and instruments, Camaron de La Isla, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Cesaria Evora, Youssou N'dour, and many great instrumentalists from different cultures.


Majid describes how happy he is living in Finland: "Obviously, I am very happy with living here in Finland, and that is why I am still here. I have lived in other countries and continents, but I like it here for many reasons; I have my friends and family here, I feel at home here, and I like how things are done here. Of course, I am very critical of many things in Finland and Finnish society, but regardless, I feel good here.

Majid primarily speaks Finnish because most of his colleagues use this language, but he is also fluent in other languages. Yes, I speak Finnish mainly as my primary language because most of my colleagues are from here. Of course, I speak English since we work in a very multicultural environment. And then, if necessary, I use Kurdish, Persian, Turkish, and Arabic to communicate.


He explains that mastering Finnish is challenging: "Obviously, the language is always the first to overcome and master. Living in a new environment and trying to become part of something new is also a challenge…different cultures and ways of doing things, and so many other things are potential challenges and difficulties. Still, you need to trust yourself and others to go forward, take it day by day, allow yourself to get close to people make connections, and let others find out about you. I think it is important to be open-minded and positive.


My advice is not to get troubled by the Finnish winter or how Finnish people might seem or act. Things look a bit extreme here in Finland, but if you stay focused and positive, you will find ways to integrate into society.








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