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Yoik or juoiggus is a traditional Sami form of song.

Originally, yoik referred to only one of several Sami singing styles, but in English the word is often used to refer to all types of traditional Sami singing. Its sound is comparable to the traditional chanting of some American Indian cultures.

Each yoik is meant to reflect a person or place. This does not mean that it is a song about the person or place, but that the yoiker is attempting to transfer "the essence" of that person or place into song - one yoiks their friend, not about their friend. It usually has short lyrics or no lyrics at all. This type of song can be deeply personal or spiritual in nature. Improvisation is not unusual.

There are other forms of yoik (in the expanded sense of the word) that have a more epic type of lyrics.

In northern Sami areas, most yoiks are personal, that is, tied to a specific person. A yoik is often made for a person at the time they are born.

It has traditionally been sung a capella, sometimes accompanied by a drum. It is sometimes set to other instruments. The tonality of yoik is mostly pentatonic, but yoikers are at liberty to use any tones they please. More recently, several artists have combined yoik with newer genres. Mari Boine and Nils-Aslak Valkapaa are well-known modern Sami musicians using yoik in their work.

One would be remiss not to add Wimme Saari - he is one of the world's most renown Sámi artists - whose use of joik is the central factor of his music - and thus identifying him as one of the foremost Sámi traditional musicians. He has been collaborating more in recent years and has worked with Swedish trio Hedningarna. Wimme Saari (website: mixes some elements of the old style yoiking with something new. Others include:

Mari Boine, is one of the most popular and inspiring artists of her culture; blending elements of joik with other idioms - jazz, rock, world music - sculpting a sound which simultaneously exalts and transcends tradition.

Ulla Pirttijärvi, is a Sami vocalist from Northern Finland who offers a modern take on joikking. Her music sounds like Scandinavian folk goes deep into an ambient dub electronica cave and gets recorded by Peter Gabriel.

Ande Somby, is a traditional yoiker who yoiks persons, animals and landscapes. There are also some images from concerts and some sound samples at the page. These artists' links and other links to information on joik can be found at:

External links


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