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A YouTube salute to Sami National Day

A YouTube salute to Sami National Day

Published: 06 Feb 2012 16:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Feb 2012 16:31 GMT+01:00

As Sweden's indigenous Sami celebrate their National Day on February 6th, The Local offers up a few video clips highlighting their unique vocal traditions.

February 6th is Sami National Day, marking the date in 1917 when the first Sami congress was held in Trondheim, Norway.

The holiday became official in 1992, when delegates at the 15th Sami Conference in Helsinki, Finland, passed a resolution calling for Sami National Day to be celebrated annually on February 6th.

The Sami inhabit large parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia referred to collectively as Sápmi and the Sami language is one of Sweden's five officially recognized minority languages.

The Sami have a unique traditional singing style known as joik, thought to be one of the oldest music traditions in Europe.

An undated clip of a Sami man performing a traditional joik

In recent years, a number of Sami artists have also put a new twist on traditional folk music in order to bring it to new audiences.

Sami singer Máddji singing "Iđitguovssu" (Dawn Light) from her album "Beyond" (Sámi: "Dobbelis")

Sami singer Sofia Jannok, who started performing joiks since she was 11-years-old, sings a "Liekkas" from her 2007 album "White" / Ceaskat.

In 2009, Sami singer Sofia Jannok took things a step further when she translated the Abba hit Waterloo into Sami and performed it as part of the 2009 Melodifestivalen song competition in Skellefteå.

For anyone interested in trying their hand at singing the Sami National Anthem, the following clip provides the melody, while an English translation of the lyrics can be found below.

Far up North 'neath Ursa Major

Gently rises Samiland.

Mountain upon mountain.

Lake upon lake.

Peaks, ridges and plateaus

Rising up to the skies.

Gurgling rivers, sighing forests.

Iron capes pointing sharp

Out towards the stormy sea.

Winter time with storm and cold

Fierce blizzards.

Sami kin, with hearts and souls

Their lands do love.

Moonlight for the traveller,

Living Aurora flickering,

Grunt of reindeer heard in groves of birch,

Voices over lakes and open grounds,

Swish of sled on winter road.

Summer's sun casts golden hues

On forests, seas and shores.

Fishermen in gold, swaying

With the golden seas, golden lakes.

Silver Sami rivers gurgling

'round sparkling poles, shining oars.

Singing, men float down

Rapids, great and small,

And waters calm.

Samiland's people

With unbending strength

Defeated killing enemies, bad trades,

Sly and evil thieves.

Hail thee, tough Sami kin!

Hail thee, root of freedom!

Never was there battle,

Never brother's blood was spilled

Amongst the peaceful Sami kin.

Our ancestors long ago

Trouble makers did defeat.

Let us, brothers, also resist

Staunchly our oppressors.

Oh, tough kin of the sun’s sons,

Never shall you he subdued

If you heed your golden Sami tongue,

Remember the ancestors' word.

Samiland for Sami!

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:27 February 6, 2012 by bethrichardson
The traditional joik sounds much like the native American/ native Alaskan singing I heard as a child. It brings back pleasant memories. The girls voices are beautiful, too. I think I like the national anthem best, though, because it reminds me of my home in Alaska.
23:32 February 6, 2012 by millionmileman
This is a real treat. Very different, cultural and relaxing. This is a shear pleasure compared with last night's Super Bowl Half-Time-Show, gargantuan, garbage.
00:12 February 7, 2012 by Tanskalainen
If it were up to the damn Social Democrats all these beautiful people wouldn't exist. They sterilized 30000 of them and they would have got them all if they could. The sooner that garbage party disappears the better.
05:18 February 7, 2012 by TheWatchman
I love Sami peoples ^^
08:27 February 7, 2012 by philster61
Agree Tanskalaainen.Have they even apologized to the Sami yet for all the inhumanities they gave to these beautiful people.....
11:45 February 7, 2012 by govza
Swedish Socialdemocratic party it´s like a Nazi party. This is true, but´its very differnet story with the Norwegian socialdemocratic party.

Swedish social democrats have a very pro german past, activly helping NAZI german in WW2. Aleready in 1923 he first institute of "Race Healt" (Rasbiolaogiska institutet", was founded. Germany infact copied many of the Swedish "inventions" and implimented the Swedish ideas. The Swedish state also made a fortune as a Nazi-ally during ww2. There has newer beeing any excauses from the stat or the party.

In Norway the situation is very different. The second charman of the party is a Saami woman, Helga Pedersen. The Norwegian socialdemocrats are tody very activly defending the sami rights, (see: http://arbeiderpartiet.no/Om-AP/Samepolitisk). The real danger is the far right. In the areas where the right wings parites are in power the sami peoeles are treated as dogs.

Still I don understand. How is it possible that the Swedish and Norwegian social deomocratic parties have the same ideology, when the outcome is so different?
16:39 February 7, 2012 by rise
Those who aren't living close to the Sami people themselves are in general having a very ridiculous and romanticized image of them. It's the same every time from people who actually do not know them at all. Myself, I'm calling them the "Elite people" - absolutely not meant as a compliment!
12:47 February 8, 2012 by karex
#1

I believe that it has been recently established (through genetics) that the native peoples of northern Europe and Asia (Sami included) are the ancestors of the Native Americans - both North and South America. This would go a long way to explain how their traditions and cultures seem so similar.
21:50 February 8, 2012 by johan rebel
Ah, so the genes explain it!

As soon as mankind invaded North America, they they started wiping out the local megafauna ,exterminating most species within a few thousand years.

Here in Sweden they are still at it, persecuting wolves, wolverines, bears, lynx and eagles by shooting, trapping, poisoning and running them over with snow scooters.

The poor souls can't help it, it is in their genes.
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