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Avantgarde Sámi joik

Joik has for a long time been considered as sinful. Not only does this reflect the contempt that the Sámi people have met, but also a deep-rooted fear of the spiritual forces found in this singing technique. If one listens to Torgeir Vassvik’s music one will be struck by the universal truths of his sound experiments.

Born and raised in the fishing community of Gamvik, Europe’s northernmost mainland point, Vassvik continues the cultural heritage of the ocean Sámi. Not only joik – which is not unlike Mongolian throat singing – has shaped him since his childhood. His father’s mandolin music, as well as a number of indie bands, has put a mark on Vassviks ouvre. 

After two great albums under his own name, Torgeir Vassvik now performs as the quartet VASSVIK along with sound designer Audun Strype and the fiddle-playing Kjorstad brothers. One could argue that they revitalize the Sámi’s animating joik for the 21st century, but that doesn’t give enough credit where it’s due. This is a timeless tradition which speaks to the listener across languages, across civilizations.

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