Vassvik has transformed traditional joik music from Samiland in Norway. His new
album Gákti focuses on animism, which is a fundamental part of Sami culture.
“The core of the Sámi culture is the animism: everything is connected, everything is alive,” says Torgeir Vassvik.
The ancient meets modernity in “Gákti.” Vassvik’s joik’s are fittingly interlaced with improvised instrumental music, electronic sound design, guitars two types of fiddles. The music crosses the boundaries of traditional world music and avant-garde experimentation.
The album includes personal joiks (a joik dedicated to somebody); celebrations of nature; companionship; love and female power; songs about climate change; songs for those who have left, but still live on; and joiks of the world from the viewpoint of indigenous people.
Personnel: Torgeir Vassvik on joik, guitar, frame drum, igil, birbyné, munnharpe, electronics; Hans P. Kjorstad on violin; Rasmus Kjorstad on octave violin; and Audun Strype on sound design.
On Vildaluodda (Wildprint) Finnish duo VILDÁ offers a contemporary amalgam of Sami transcendent yoiks, shamanic beats and improvisation along with elements from other musical traditions. The human voice and the accordion define the essence of the album. Hildá Länsman (Sámiland, Finland) and Viivi Maria Saarenkylä (Finland) are deeply influenced by the natural world and traditions of northern Finland.
The lineup on Vildaluodda includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, joik, drum; and Viivi Maria Saarenkylä on accordion, backing vocals.
Guests: Niillas Holmberg on backing vocals; Venla Ilona Blom on beatboxing and backing vocals; Mikko Heikinpoika Neuvonen on throat singing and backing vocals; Stiliana Ravelska Tyrkkö on violin, viola; and backing vocals; Christopher Rodulfo on calabash, hand clapping and backing vocals; Nathan Riki Thomson on hand clapping; and Mikko Renfors on programming.
Vildaluodda is a beguiling album that will transport you to Samiland and the northern reaches of Finland.
Odda Áigodat (Bafe’s Factory, 2018) by Solju is the winner of the The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – the Best International Indigenous Release 2019. The award was given by Manito Ahbee Festival May 17th, 2019.
Solju includes Ulla Pirttijärvi and Hildá Länsman, who were the first Sámi artists nominated for the awards.
The Manito Ahbee Festival celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The 14th annual festival will be held May 15-19, 2019 and feature the Indigenous Music Awards, Manito Ahbee Pow Wow, Indigenous Music Conference, Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, Getting Jiggy With It, Art Challenge, and Youth Education Day.
Solju is a Finnish group led by Ulla Pirttijärvi-Länsman and her daughter Hilda Länsman. They are Sámi musicians from Utsjoki, Lapland, which is the northernmost municipality in Finland.
Ulla and Hilda bring together their heritage of northern Sámi language and traditional chant, known as yoik, with a desire for new and innovative music, providing a dialogue of traditional and modern Sámi culture.
Solju’s debut album “Odda Áigodat” (New Times) was released in April 2018. In May 2019, Ođđa Áigodat won an award in Canada, The Indigenous Music Awards (IMA) – Best International Indigenous Release 2019.
Hildá Länsman is also a member of Finnish duo VILDÁ, featuring accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä.
VILDÁ is a Finnish duo that performs a unique mix of mystical joiks and sounds of the Sami people together with vibrant accordion. VILDÁ includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, joik, frame drum; and Viivi Maria Saarenkylä on accordion and backing vocals.
When Hildá and Viivi listened to each other’s music for the first time, they came up with the idea of combining traditional yoik and accordion.
Hildá Länsman is a rising yoik singer from Utsjoki who has performed at the New Music Competition and at the Helsinki Music House’s great concert arena. She won the Risteys (Crossroads) award for her vocals at Finland’s first Ethno Gala in 2017.
Viivi Maria Saarenkylä is an internationally acclaimed accordion player. She was declared accordionist of the Year in Finland in 2018.
” Arctic fells, frosty winds, wide waters and deep forests. That is our home – the North. For us it is the birthplace of our attitude as well as many memories, a source of inspiration, stories and tradition, a vast play ground full of endless trails to travel. “
Solju is an innovative Sami music project led Ulla Pirttijärvi and her daughter Hildá Länsman. The two women have developed a captivating mix of northern Sámi traditions with contemporary, cutting edge music. Solju uses the Sami traditional chant called yoik.
The arrangements feature delightful contemporary classical strings, delightful synth layers, electronic beats, shamanic drums, a wide-range of acoustic percussion and innovative instruments like the hang drum and throat singing.
The lineup on Odda Áigodat includes Hildá Länsman on vocals, yoik; Ulla Pirttijärvi on vocals, yoik; Teho Majamäki on percussion; Janne Puurtinen on keyboards. Guests featured: Czech National Symphony Orchestra strings, Paavo Lötjönen on cello, Mikko Neuvonen on throat singing and Janne Puurtinen on synth bass and synthesizer.
Odda Áigodat is a mesmerizing, groundbreaking album rooted in Sami traditions.
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.
Transjoik is a Sami group out of Norway. Where tradition and modernity have long been the two sole absolutes of the enigmatic path of the Sami people, Transjoik music represents an alternative route to the future.
Transjoik are two percussionists, one guitarist and a keyboard player. Four highly individualistic musicians who, besides playing a unique brand of music, also use their voices in such a way that defies description! Guttural chants, subterranean murmur and supernatural screams are some of the expressions that have been used in an attempt to describe Transjoik’s vocal renditions.
The music is rooted in the traditional Saami joik or yoik, but Transjoik has transformed this into a unique style. Based on old joik wax recordings, Transjoik have developed a modern, yet timeless, evocative musical environment. The music can be hypnotic, exciting, vital and powerful. To many it also has a sacred, religious or supernatural dimension. If one had to classify this music, the terms ambient, trance and techno would come to mind. World music could also be used unambiguously. At any rate, Transjoik have taken this genre to new heights.
Joiking is one of the oldest musical forms in Europe, but it has a strong and durable energy that ensures its lasting presence. It describes people, nature, the environment, and transmits a primitive force that stimulates both body and soul. Transjoik have developed the joiks, mixed them with elements from our daily urban life, and created something that is fascinatingly unique.
Transjoik released their third album Meavraa in 2002. Meavraa is an old South Sami expression that means “the vocal sound of the shaman calling for his helping spirit.”
In 2005, Transjoik’s CD, Uja Nami, was nominated for Spellemannsprisen, the most important Norwegian music award.
Transjoik toured Norway and Germany in 2008, including projects together with Sher Miandad Khan, Susanne Lundeng and Mari Boine.
Band members: Frode Fjellheim, Tor Haugerud, Nils-Olav Johansen, and Snorre Bjerck.
Niko Valkeapää was born on December 30, 1968 in Enontekiö, Finland. He’s a Finnish-Sami singer-songwriter and vocalist. He has been living in Kautokeino in the north of Norway since 1990. He is the Godson of the late multitalented Nils Aslak Valkeapää. Niko has recorded new melodies to several of Nils Aslak’s poems on his albums. He has also ventured into new directions and has become a major influence and inspiration for many younger Saami artists.
Even though Valkeapää’s music is rooted in Sami tradition, his style is closer to electronica-infused pop than traditional Sami chanting. “The songs on my album deal with themes such as urbanity, cultural diversity and introspective exploration. Inter-human relations, social reactions and themes that circle around these factors are also central topics in my lyrics,” says the songwriter.
Niko won the Saami Grand Prix in 1994 and 1995 and received “Spellemannsprisen”, the top Norwegian music award in open class, in 2003 for his debut album ”Niko Valkeapää”. Niko also won the Liet Ynternasjonaal song contest for European Minority Languages, in 2004 where he won the Public Choice price as well.
In the summer of 2008 Niko’s double album ”Birrat Birra” came out. It won Norwegian Folk Music Awards in two categories, Open Class and ”Most Innovative Folk Music”.
Nils-Aslak Valkepää, called Aillohas by his fellow Samis, was born on March 23, 1943 in Enontekiö, Finland. He was one of the trail-blazers of traditional and modern Sami music since the 1960s.
Aillohas was one of the first artists to present traditional Sami joik on stage. He performed and toured throughout the world, and encouraged other joikers to perform in public. In addition to his activities as a performer and musician, he composed new music, was an author and worked with the fine arts.
His multimedia productions were exhibited widely. He collaborated with Finnish jazz and folk music fusion musicians to make several innovative recordings, and some of his compositions have become classics of Sami music. His Bird Symphony (Goase Dusse) received the Prix Italia Radio Music Award in 1993, and was the only musical entry to receive an award that year.
He opened the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer by performing the Olympic Welcome Joik (Dalveleaikkat). He composed film and theatre music, and his music has been used extensively in television programs.