Prohibition to Reverence

The language of the heart – yoik

Andreas Fliflet by Lars Åke Andersen
Elle Márjá Eira by Marie Louise Somby
Elin Kåven


Session 25

Chaired by Andreas Fliflet (Finland/Norway), Sámi Music Expo;

with Elle Márjá Eira (Norway), Sahkkon;
Elin Kåven (Norway), Sámi Composers Association

UPDATE: Please note that one of the speakers of this session has changed - unfortunately Klemet Anders Buljo (Sámi Composers Association) won't be able to attend WOMEX this year, thus Elin Kåven (Sámi Composers Association) will take his role.

Passed down from generation to generation, the chanting song of the Sámi people has survived through the centuries. And yet it is a painful and complex past. For a long time, Sámi culture was suppressed by the Nordic nation states. Sámi children were forced to learn Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish under strict assimiliation policies. Sámi practicing yoik tradition would in some regions become associated with alcohol, sin and destruction, leading to even Sámi societies banning the use of yoik and drums in churches and schools. Over the past generation, this has gradually changed. Now the traditions are being revitalised. There is a new era among young people as they search for identity, a connection to nature, to culture and people. Prohibition to Reverence is a journey of prevention, proscription and exclusion, to one of veneration for Sámi identity.