Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Saami Yoik Traditional Music Form

In followup to an earlier post, the Saami chant music video Adjagas, here it is described:

ADJÁGAS music is gentle, peaceful, dreamlike, spiritual and utterly engrossing. It is, at the same time, strangely alien. Lyrics are unrecognisable, startling vocals delivered in a style that veers between whispered but crystal clear sweetness, unbridalled emotion and all points in between, sometimes hitting notes that may previously have never existed.

Their music is based around the concept of the yoik, a traditional musical form which describes something not with its words but its sounds. You can start a yoik where you like, you can end it where you like. Its elements remain structured, but its fluid at the same time. A yoik is like liquid in a bottle you can shake it up, but the contents remain the same. And the content of the yoik deliberately has many meanings, in order, if necessary, to spare the feelings of the subject. So it may pass judgement, but its open to interpretation. It is also possible to be the subject of more than one yoik: how it sounds depends upon the perspective of the person who is delivering it. More importantly, a yoik is not written. It comes to a person.

It is not strangely alien to me, but comfortingly familiar.

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