LAPLAND - SAMI MUSIC


Read the following reviews at the last part of this page:

Mari Boine: Leahkastin - Mari Boine: Eallin - Wimme

ABOUT JOIK SINGING, AND THE SAMI PEOPLE: (taken from the review of Wimme further down this page)

Joik is a kind of yodling song, without words, heard in traditional Sami culture. A joik can be about three kinds of things: nature, an animal or a person, and the singer sings his or her impression, or feelings, about the subject in question. Before the Sami people and their culture were taken over by the Scandinavian Christian religion and culture, not so long ago, they had a shamanist culture. They were, and are still, preoccupied by their forefathers and mothers, and by all matters relating to the nature around them.


CATALOGUE

MARI BOINE. This is music for musicians, music for connoisseurs, music for music lovers (see the review section below). She is a Sami from Norway. She composes and sings melodically, and with an immediacy and presence that emanate remarkable strength. She's an extraordinary personality who sounds somehow like the girl next door - but using her voice in ways ordinary people never dare to, perhaps never have the imagination to find.

Her musicians all seem to vibrate in a kind of sympathetic understanding with her - modern, high-flying, rhythmic musicians, on percussion, bass, guitar, flute, violin. So the wholeness of this music creates a world of new shamanistic forces. A world of incantation, witchcraft, and the transformation of consciousness in sound. Yet a world where being human is still the basic starting point, and where nature, the Earth and the wisdom of our forefathers and mothers are still cared for, respected and brought forward to the next generation.

Gula Gula was her first solo recording, it was a hit that made her world famous. Then came Eagle Brother and, perhaps just a touch better, Leahkastin, where you also can float with her and the eagle, up among the highest clouds. Eallin, her latest release, is a technically perfect recording of a l0ive concert in Berlin, with many of the older numbers, but in new versions, and breath taking in its musicality. Gula Gula: 159.-, all other titles: 169.-

WIMME is a Finnish Sami. His voice has a sensually rounded, male texture. Just as Mari Boine, he is accompanied by modern jazz-fusion musicians, but he sings exclusively in the original Sami joik-style, about people (he knows), nature and animals - without words. CD 169.-

ANGELIN TYTÖT is three Sami women from Northern Finland. They sing and play a modern good-humoured and cheerful folk music. Mostly joik song and guitar on Dolla, more varied and with electric instruments and strong rhythms on their latest CD Annel Nieiddat. 159.-

NILS-ASLAK VALKEAPÄÄ: This is the music for his book and the epic play "Beaivi, Ahcazan". It is dedicated to the Sun, Father of the Universe, and the Earth, Mother of Life. He is a Sami musician and joik singer - one of those deeply involved in creating a revival of the Sami culture in the eighties. Eanan, Eallima Eadni (Dat5) has a long section with joik song with nature sounds in the background, and a similar section including shamanist drumming. Beaivi, Ahcazan is similar, but has much more powerful sounds and rhythms. 115/169.-


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REVIEWS

from the review section of DJEMBE, magazine for cross culture and world music

MARI BOINE: Leahkastin - Eallin - WIMME


MARI BOINE: 'Leahkastin'

Her voice whispers. . . glides. . . dives. . . and rises again. . . in a powerfully flowing flight of sound - just as the Eagle Brother flies, whose presence she invoked, on the title number of her previous record. The stillness becomes sensuously manifest, in the clear, high air, as one savours the spaceousness of the music, and follows the slightest movement of her vocal chords. Trembling slowly, filled with pain at one moment - self-assured and compelling the next. Dancing in, on and around the carpet of rhythm laid down by the musicians.

Her voice investigates all the possibilities, and there's plenty of time, as the music, the melody and the rhythm, unfold themselves. And while the combination of these elements is quite different on each number, it still always sounds obvious and inevitable, always a blending that fills the time of the song out, in the only possible way.

How to describe the sound of her music? It's so different, but also so inescapable. A mixture of her poetic songs, her joik singing, the guitar, violin, bass, Peruvian flutes, and masses of percussion making strange sounds. All of it a mixture of rock, jazz, folk music. And the point is that such simple words can't describe the organic interaction, the wholeness of the sound, which is a mark of the music she and her band play. But it's here again, still further developed and refined on this recording. Leahkastin means something like "to open up" - and she certainly does that! And takes her listeners with her. .

Mari Boine, who is part Sami, grew up in the northernmost part of Norway, called Lapland by some. She is very much concerned with the problems, and with the ways of life of the Sami people. In an interview with The Wire, she says: "My people were brainwashed to hate their own culture, and they felt so bad. There is too much this feeling of inferiority. Like among the Indians, there is a lot of alcoholism, suicide… People who have been oppressed, they learn not to talk about their feelings, not to be open. I think my way of singing has developed between this outside control and this 'alive, inside' that is in every human being. Even in people who seem to be very, em. . . shy." Whispering as a Polygram minion enters to repair a CD player. "I think."

"I was too lazy to learn the classical way of singing. At first I didn't dare to open my mouth; then suddenly there was this explosion of feeling!" She shouts it, attacking the table. "It's like a wave coming through me, and I just have to sing. So I don't use much the head. I use the intuition and the heart." . . . For me there's a kind of magic in the music."

And perhaps one could say the same for her growing number of fans.


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MARI BOINE: 'Eallin'

After 2 years here she is again. (Now 1997). With music as it is sung and played.

Right from the smoking gun of the first number, which decribes "a state of mind where your intellect is disconnected" - and to the last, gently loving number, dedicated "To You", an eighty year old woman - this album is a tour de fource of sound, rhythm, technique. By Mari Boine, and by each and every one of her five musicians.

Mari Boine sings and yoiks, characteristically using her voice like a bird ("Eagle Brother" is the title of her second CD). She flies high and free, exploring all possibilities with her voice - to the limits of the impossible - and the others are right there together with her. Making sounds and music which awaken the attention of the listener, bringing excitement, warmth and joy with them. This is music you don't physically have to dance to, in order to experience the spread of well-being through your body, your limbs, your veins, that dancing normally brings.

Essentially, these musicians seem to know a lot about silence, and the value of experiencing spacial freedom, also in sound. Their expression, then, becomes a continual movement of sound into silence. Always conscious, never automatically repeating old lessons. That's creativity: a journey into the unknown, also for the listener.

Mari Boine is part Sami, from Norway. She sings with special feeling for the Sami people and their culture, a culture which places a high value on tradition, and on respect for both human and natural wisdom.

Energetically, there is a sense of power in her voice, present even when she whispers. A feeling of her connection also to the dark forces of the earth. It's a feeling that makes one think of what frightened the church in the Middle Ages, when witch-hunting swept the Western world. When the Church tried to eradicate the defiant forces of individuality, that would not be controlled by the its network of oftentimes empty and unauthentic religious authority.

This feeling of basic, dark power is shared also through the musicians in the group.They follow the singer, and there's a cohesion in their interplay that only occasionally gives way to actual solos (listen to the fantastic guitar solo on 'Free'). But when it does, it brings one's attention to hearing just how good the individual musicians really are.

The music is rhythmic: low down pulsating, fast and swinging, slow and thoughtful. And the recording is very good, strengthening the impression of space and multi-dimensionality that the musicians create.

Music for music lovers.

Jack Donen

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WIMME: 'Wimme'

Joik is a kind of yodling song, without words, heard in traditional Sami culture. A joik can be about three kinds of things: nature, an animal or a person, and the singer sings his or her impression, or feelings, about the subject in question. Before the Sami people and their culture were taken over by the Scandinavian Christian religion and culture, not so long ago, they had a shamanist culture. They were, and are still, preoccupied by their forefathers and mothers, and by all matters relating to the nature around them.

For example, another Finnish Sami, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää - one of those deeply involved in creating a revival of the Sami culture in the eighties - wrote a play, an epic "Beaivi, Ahcazan", which is dedicated to the Sun, Father of the Universe, and the Earth, Mother of Life.

But here it's Wimme Saari who makes a strong bid to show us how contemporary joik can sound, and to integrate it into the music of the world.

He has a soft, tender voice that stretches from a deep, almost bass level, and up to a surprisingly high and clear soprano-like yodle! And he plays with it, smoothly, but also very traditionally, powerfully and intensely.

He also looks into all sorts of possibilities for finding the humour in a theme he's on to. For example in the number called "Milky Way", where the listener is treated to an experience of both the rustling of the stars, high up in the heavens, but also to what it's like sitting under a cow in the cowshed, milking it at 5 in the morning. Or like in "Full Moon", where he makes a good impression of a musical dog at full moon.

The record is produced by Tapani Rinne, from the Finnish "techno-jazz"-group, RinneRadio, who also plays several other roles on the record. Partly as one of the 4 (four!) keyboard players, but also on bass clarinet, and as a whistling flautist. Otherwise the guitarist Matti Wallenius should be mentioned - in a group that sometimes balances on the edge, but which for the most part is characterised by an inventive, varied and very "image-producing" use of electronics. Where it's the singer, and not the machines that are in focus.

A melodically, emotionally soft, sometimes very self-assured male voice that enjoys being able to let go and search out its boundaries - that's something always worth listening for!

Jack Donen

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