1st Edition

Why Sámi Sing Knowing through Melodies in Northern Norway

By Stéphane Aubinet Copyright 2023
    182 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Why Sámi Sing is an anthropological inquiry into a singing practice found among the Indigenous Sámi people, living in the northernmost part of Europe. It inquires how the performance of melodies, with or without lyrics, may be a way of altering perception, relating to human and non-human presences, or engaging with the past. According to its practitioners, the Sámi "yoik" is more than a musical repertoire made up by humans: it is a vocal power received from the environment, one that reveals its possibilities with parsimony through practice and experience. Following the propensity of Sámi singers to take melodies seriously and experiment with them, this book establishes a conversation between Indigenous and Western epistemologies and introduces the "yoik" as a way of knowing in its own right, with both convergences and divergences vis-à-vis academic ways of knowing. It will be of particular interest to scholars of anthropology, ethnomusicology, and Indigenous studies.

    Part I Introduction

    1 Presence | Leahkit

    Part II Knowing the Environment

    2 Horizon | Luondu

    3 Appetition | Geaidit

    4 Enchantment | Gierran

    5 Score | Luodda

    Part III Knowing the Past

    6 Echo | Skádja

    7 Primordial | Eamifápmu

    Part IV Conclusion

    8 Recursivity | Gierdu

    Appendix A List of place names

    Appendix B List of interviews and yoik courses


    Stéphane Aubinet is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo, Norway.