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Ruut (Sallinen) DeMeo hails from Finland, where she grew up swimming and boating in the Baltic Sea's Archipelago islands. Ruut comes from a long line of artists and storytellers: her ancestors carried their culture through the Karelian borderland, and the operas of her grandfather, Aulis Sallinen, have echoed throughout the globe.
Ruut's parents met in the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and though she certainly inherited her musical DNA from them, it was her father's love of storytelling through film and prose that sparked Ruut's own storyteller's voice. In fact, her father, Tuomas, encouraged her to embark on retelling Finland's oldest myth, The Kalevala, a project that has taken Ruut nearly 7 years to complete.
Ruut's journey has been anything but ordinary. She grew up traveling with her sisters and missionary mother throughout Eastern Europe, and learned Hungarian and English in her teens. As loyal members of an evangelical sect, Ruut and her sisters sang in front of church crowds regularly. But after a dramatic departure from the religion in her early twenties, Ruut pursued a career as a songwriter. She released nine independent albums and toured with renown musicians all over the States, sharing stages with artists such as Brett Dennen, Passenger, and Trevor Hall.
Now an established educator and curriculum designer in Baltimore's Public Schools, Ruut recently earned her MFA from Antioch University, where she continued working on her mythology retelling, and wrote a thesis on layering female archetypes, which is a truth she embodies in her own life. "For too long, women have been portrayed as other, and measured by their biological fulfillment," she says. "This concept stems from our male-dominant history, which myths helped create and sustain. Look at the difference between Lilith and Eve in the Bible's creation myth: Lilith refused to bear children, and so she served no purpose in the patriarchal religion. She was replaced by Eve, and we know how that story goes... It's time we rethink our myths and put the pen in a woman's hand."
Ruut writes and pursues a life of art with the same passion, anti-racism, and relentless feminism that guides her as a mother. She and her husband are raising two daughters in Northern Baltimore County, and building a life that honors the gifts their girls have been given. On the pages of this website, you can hear Ruut's original songs, read some of her words, and get in touch with the artist herself.
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