Some bits on yoik


Wimme Saari,

born in 1989 in Kelottijärvi in the north western part of Finnish Lapland, is a modern yoiker. His yoiks are inspired by the sound of an aeroplane's propeller as well as the noise of an outboard motor - even though the blowing wind can also give a sudden brilliant idea.
- My yoiking has some elements of the old style yoiking, such as the voice technique and the throat technique. I can also do some traditional yoiks, but accompaniment doesn't quite suit them, When i yoik and the boys play i have to do something new. Colours and patterns are emerging in my mind - I have to let them guide me. In my home area people say that I have created a new style. Young people, of course, like it most, but even piople in their 50 's have come to me to thank me.

Yoik is traditional Sami music - an archaic mode of unaccompanied solo singing. It is found all over the vast Samiland from the central regions of Scandinavia to the eastern tip of the Kola Peninsula. There are three musical dialects in yoik. Wimme represents the North Sami Iuohti tradition, which is the most widely known genre of Sami music. Luohti has two unique musical features: it makes use of a pentatonic scale with no half-tones and it always has a specific subject, a person or an animal, which it describes in music. On the new Wimme CD there are four traditional luohti yoiks: Jusse-vilba, Domnd, Bieggajorri and Albmdi.

During the last decades yoik in general has undergone some changes and in fact Wimme's yoiking could be called the free yoik. In his yoik Wimme constructs intensive, clear, melodic arches, sings in an expressive falsetto and uses al lot of improvisation, But the old yoik is still there: Wimme has recaptured the colour and grittiness of the ancient yoik, and even the clever voice technique of the animal yoiks.

A nice summary of materials on the Sámi is available at