Arctic music inspires

By Klemet Anders Buljo, March 6th, 2019
Translated by Linda Karina Brandt, KEiiNO Fangroup Official

Happiness: – Joik is not necessarily political activism, but simply pure musical happiness, writes Klemet Buljo. Photo: NTB Scanpix

When you need to express spontaneous happiness, remember a good friend who has passed away or honour someone. The joik is a tunename of everything and everone. You don’t joik ABOUT something or about someone. It IS something or someone, a tunename and your friend in all situations. 

As I have written earlier, the joik has been, and still is, a target for ridiculing. In 1980 Sverre Kjelsberg and Mathis Hætta “Sami Eadnan” at ESC and lands on a 16th place. This is only around ten years after Nils Aslak Valkeapää began to mix joik and popmusic.

Joik engages

Documentation exists that joik has been used in connection to political activism, hundreds of years ago. For Sami artists and musicials, the joik is central and important.

Messages needs to be disseminated, just like for Mathis Hætta and Sverre Kjeldsberg in 1980 in Sámiid Ædnan. This joik is to this day the joik-tune “everyone” knows. If you ask a six year old if he can joik, he will answer a clear YES, followed by exactly this joik. It’s performed with happiness and pride, to be able to do exactly this one. Could it be that children are not imprinted with predjudice and rather takes in the primal force in joik as something positive? What at least is sure is that joik is an important identitymarker for the Sámi and a strong instrument.

Stine Agnethe Sand reflected over what happens when joik becomes saturday entertainment. What I conclude with her chronicle is that this ancient music form, joik, engages and creates debate, not least in the inner Sámi population.

Real musical happiness

There is no doubt that Jan Garbarek’s electric album, “I took up the runes” in 1990 was a sort of confirmation of joik having an artistic value. That an international jazz star used Ingor Ánte Áilu as joiker on his album, later made many jazz musicians seek inspiration in exactly joik. And exactly jazz musicians are often early out, seeking new inspiration. Of really commercial actors we have to mention Disney, when they in the animation movie “Frozen” in 2013 picked Frode Fjellheim’s joik in the movie. The soundtrack won both grammies and other prices.

During the weekend I wittness KEiiNO haul in the victory in the Melodi Grand Prix 2019 in Oslo Spektrum. I was wittness (obviously a little incompeten) to an enourmous engagement from the audience, when it was clear that the trio will be those to represent Norway in ESC 2019 in Tel aviv. KEiiNO was amongst the favourites beforehand, also out in Europe. You can check the bloggers’ reactions on f. Inst. Youtube when they hear the song. And joik emphasizes the message in “Spirit in the sky”. This trio is in the future going to bring joik to the largest concert arenas in the worlds. And exactly this tells that joik is not necessarily political activism, but simple real musical happiness, in line with everything else.

By Klemet Anders Buljo