Artist Profiles: Vajas

Vajas – 2005 Photo by Britt Halvorsen

Norwegian band Vajas (Echo) represented a synergy of arctic voices and sound: (i) the traditional Sami yoiks of Ánde Somby emanating from the distant tundra; (ii) the entrancing violin stylings and melodic voice of Kristin Mellem; and (iii) the renowned and captivating synthesizer sound voyages and creations of Nils Johansen.

All three accomplished musicians were based in the arctic city of Tromsø, northern Norway.

Ánde Somby is a famous Sami traditional yoiker as well as a well-known legal scholar and indigenous rights activist. Kristen Mellem is a classically trained violinist and composer who works with folk music, yoiking and community theatre. Nils Johansen is a contemporary musician and composer and was the music mastermind of the internationally celebrated group Bel Canto.

Vajas’ essence was the meeting of the cold arctic breeze and human warmth, the traditional Sami yoik combined with soundscapes.

Discography

* Tracks in snow (2005)
* Sacred Stone (2006)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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