Mary Jean: when African beats meet Chinese philosophy and Nordic tunes

By Farah Bahgat, video by Farah Bahgat

SPOT Festival is a chance for new bands to shine and meet new musicians and audience, and Mary Jean did shine with their glittery makeup.

The group of friends, Mary Jean, Nana Cecilie Gaardsted Bøvling, Emilie Espichicoque and Tobias Kaastrup studied together, and went to Africa together, where they discovered their passion for African beats. “We went to Africa so many times that it just felt like a good idea to bring the traditional drumming from Africa into the band because we spent so much time doing it”, Bøvling said.

The band’s lead singer, Mary explained that she was inspired by Chinese philosophy, which further inspired the lyrics of their songs.

“The world is so big that it’s important to be curious about other culture. Emilie is half Cuban, I’m half American and we have friends that are mixes from all over the world and I think there is a lot of good stuff to be inspired” Mary added.

The outcome of Mary Jean’s work is Nordic tunes, backed by African drum beats to frame the Chinese philosophy inspired lyrics.

Mary Jean brought their music to SPOT festival this year. Because they are from Aarhus and have experienced the festival before, this event feels like home. SPOT Festival has been one of the biggest music festivals in Denmark for more than 20 years, with around 8000 attendees for more than 200 concerts of Danish and international musicians each year.

For more information about SPOT Festival 2019, visit

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