Monday, August 6, 2018

Carpe Diem #1490 Joik, the mystical song of the Sami

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. I had a very busy weekend at work, so I am a little bit late with publishing our new episode. This month we are on a journey around the world to discover all kinds of folk music. We already visited Italy, Portugal and Turkey and today we are visiting Sápmi, the land of the Sami. I suppose you have never heard of Sápmi, but if I tell you that Sápmi is the sami-word for Lapland than you all will know in what part of the world you can find Sápmi.

Flag of Sápmi

The Sami people (also known as the Sámi or the Saami) are a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Murmansk Oblast of Russia. The Sami have historically been known in English as the Lapps or the Laplanders, but these terms can be perceived as derogatory. Sami ancestral lands are not well-defined. Their traditional languages are the Sami languages and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.

Traditionally, the Sami have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Currently about 10% of the Sami are connected to reindeer herding, providing them with meat, fur, and transportation. 2,800 Sami people are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved for only Sami people in some regions of the Nordic countries
A characteristic feature of Sami musical tradition is the singing of yoik. Yoiks are song-chants and are traditionally sung a cappella, usually sung slowly and deep in the throat with apparent emotional content of sorrow or anger. Yoiks can be dedicated to animals and birds in nature, special people or special occasions, and they can be joyous, sad or melancholic. They often are based on syllablic improvisation. In recent years, musical instruments frequently accompany yoiks. The only traditional Sami instruments that were sometimes used to accompany yoik are the "fadno" flute (made from reed-like Angelica archangelica stems) and hand drums (frame drums and bowl drums).
As the Sami culture has no written language, there are no references to how or where joik originated. According to oral traditions, the fairies and elves of the arctic lands gave joiks to the Sámi People. Just Quigstad, who recorded the Sami oral tradition, has documented this legend in several works.Music researchers believe joik is one of the longest-living music traditions in Europe.
One of the reasons that joiking was controversial may be its association with noaidi (Sámi shamans) and pre-Christian mythology rituals, with joiking said to resemble magic spells.
Despite this suppression, joiking was strongly rooted in the culture and its tradition was maintained. Joiking is still practiced and is used as a source of inspiration. Recently, joiks are sung in two different styles:  a traditional style, known as the "mumbling" style; and a modern style sung mostly by young people, and used as an element in contemporary Sami music.

The above music video is an example of a wonderful Sami song, or joik, titled "Delvieh". Enjoy the music and let it be a source of inspiration for you.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until August 12th at noon (CEST). I will try to publish our new episode later on today. For now have fun!

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