MARJA AHTI


Where are you now?

At home, in Turku.


Where would you be?

If it wasn't for the pandemic, I'd be in Paris right now. But I'm making the best of the situation and I'm also happy where I am.


What have you been doing lately?

Walking, recording, composing, cooking, reading, spending time with my partner, talking on the phone with friends.


What are you hearing right now?

The neighbour is taking a shower and the refrigerator is making squeaking noises. Otherwise it's pretty quiet. Our apartment veers towards a hill with a former prison on it, sometimes a car drives by up there. Not that often. There are doves clucking in the tree in front of the balcony, occasionally a magpie calling. It sounds like Saturday morning.



Are you taking advantage of this containment period to make music?

Yes, making music is how I orientate and keep my spirits up. I've made some new routines like taking a morning walk every day with a recorder and phones at hand. In Finland, we can still go outdoors, as this area is sparsely populated compared to the big cities in Europe. I've found some new routes in my daily surroundings where almost no one goes, like the railroad tracks to the harbour. I've been working in a more open-ended way than during the previous months, when I've been traveling quite a lot and working on different projects. I have some new material that I recorded with the Coupigny during my INA GRM residency in January and it's been great to have time to work with these.




How will the world be after all this?

No one knows. Obviously, there are a lot of things that should have been changed a long time ago and I really hope we can start now: the means of food production, the distribution of wealth, the business as usual.


How can we support the music community?

First of all, through using each other's music as a source of joy and meaning and to keep making music to give the same back. That's why we're doing it in the first place. Show solidarity and support our communities, buy music straight from artists, record shops, labels and publishers instead of using the big streaming platforms. Demand support for the arts from our governments. Not to take art for granted.




Five musical recommendations?

There is so much great music, but right off the bat and without thinking too much, these are some records that I've listened to a lot the few past weeks or lived with longer:


  • Lori Goldston: Things Opening
  • Mark Vernon: Paper Gestures
  • Luiz Henrique Yudo: Chamber works
  • Moniek Darge: Sounds of Sacred Places
  • Catherine Lamb: Shade/Gradient


One book?

Cold Mountain is a collection of poems attributed to a Chinese Tang Dynasty poet named Hanshan. No one really knows who he was, whether such a person really existed or if in fact this is a collective work from a longer period of time. Supposedly a hermit, living in a remote mountain area, writing in the Taoist and Chan tradition, but whether or not this is the case, the poems pretty much speak for themselves.


What will you do when you're out?

I will go and see friends and family, then try to figure out how to pick up the thread of social and communal music making again — playing and organizing shows. When we can, we need to get together and share the music.


Links:
www.marjaahti.com
www.marjaahti.bandcamp.com

 Photo : Kitti Nurmi

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