Yoik, Joik 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 cappella, 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.


*Wimme Saari is one of the world's most renowned Sámi artists - whose use of yoik is the central factor of his music - and thus identifying him as one of the foremost Sami traditional musicians. He has been collaborating more in recent years and has worked with Swedish trio Hedningarna. Wimme Saari (website: http://www.rockadillo.fi/wimme/) mixes some elements of the old style yoiking with something new.

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

*Nils-Aslak Valkeapää was a well-known modern Sami writer, musician, and artist using yoik in his work. He performed at the opening ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.

*Kenneth Njuolla is a traditional yoiker from Nesseby who grew up riding reindeer and performing his art on the snowy plains of the Finnmarksvidda of northern Norway.

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

*Ánde Somby is a traditional yoik artist and a Research Scholar in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tromsø, who yoiks persons, animals and landscapes. There are also some images from concerts and some sound samples at the page. [http://www.jus.uit.no/ansatte/somby/dajanENG.htm Ánde Somby's site]

*Although little known outside the folk metal circuit, Jonne Järvelä of the Finnish band Korpiklaani (formerly known by the name Sháman) is quite proficient at yoiking. Both of Shaman's albums were labeled as "yoik metal", drawing heavily from Sámi music. After the name-change, the band switched to a more conventional folk-metal sound. He was also featured on the Jaktens Tid album of fellow Finnish folk metal band, Finntroll.


*Recently, the Norwegian band Adjágas has been taking yoiking around the world.

External links

* [http://www.uit.no/ssweb/dok/Somby/Ande/95.htm Joik and the theory of knowledge] by Ánde Somby
* [http://www.fimic.fi/fimic/fimic.nsf/0/ddd24c7814224ba8c2256f0800325820?OpenDocument The Many Faces of the Yoik]
* [http://www.fimic.fi/ Finnish Music Information Center]
* [http://www.folksylinks.it/folksy_s.html Sami Folk Bands & Musicians online]

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