A joik, (also spelled yoik), luohti, vuolle, leu'dd, or juoiggus is a traditional Sami form of song.

Originally, joik referred to only one of several Sami singing styles, but in English the word is often used to refer to all types of traditional Sami singing. According to music researchers, joik is one of the longest living music traditions in Europe, and is the folk music of the Sami people.[1] Its sound is comparable to the traditional chanting of some Native American cultures.[2]

The joik is a unique form of cultural expression for the Sami people in Sápmi.[3] Each joik is meant to reflect a person or place. This does not mean that it is a song about the person or place, but that the joiker is attempting to transfer "the essence" of that person or place into song - one joiks their friend, not about their friend. It usually has short lyrics or no lyrics at all. This type of song can be deeply personal or spiritual in nature. Improvisation is not unusual. However, there are other forms of joik (in the expanded sense of the word) that have a more epic type of lyrics. Joik is traditionally chanted a cappella and often dedicated to a human being, an animal, or a landscape as a personal signature.[1]

In northern Sami areas, most joiks are personal, that is, tied to a specific person. A joik is often made for a person at the time he is born.

It has traditionally been sung a cappella, sometimes accompanied by a drum, but not a Sami drum which is used for ceremonial purposes only. It is sometimes set to other instruments. The tonality of joik is mostly pentatonic, but joikers are at liberty to use any tones they please.[4]

Outstanding artistsEdit

Wimme Saari is one of the world's most renowned Sámi [or Saami] artists - whose use of joik is the central factor of his music – and thus identifying him as one of the foremost Sami traditional musicians. He has been collaborating more in recent years and has worked with Swedish trio Hedningarna. Wimme Saari (website: mixes some elements of the old style joiking with something new. Mari Boine from Norway is one of the most popular artists of her culture. She blends elements of joik with other idioms – jazz, rock, world music, thus sculpting a sound which simultaneously exalts and transcends tradition. A rising star who uses similar techniques is Sofia Jannok from Sweden.

Other known artistsEdit

Nils-Aslak Valkeapää was a well-known modern Sami writer, musician, and artist using joik in his work. He performed at the opening ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Sofia Jannok is a Swedish singer from Gällivare, Sweden. She mainly sings in Sami and does joiking. Ánde Somby is a traditional joik artist and a Research Scholar in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tromsø, who joiks persons, animals and landscapes. There are also some images from concerts and some sound samples at the page. Ánde Somby's site. Although little known outside the folk metal circuit, Jonne Järvelä of the Finnish band Korpiklaani (formerly known by the name Shaman) is quite proficient at joiking. Both of Shaman's albums were labeled as "joik metal", drawing heavily from Sámi music. After the name-change, the band switched to a more conventional folk-metal sound. He was also featured on the Jaktens Tid album of fellow Finnish folk metal band, Finntroll. Recently, the Norwegian band Adjágas has been taking joiking around the world.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tradisjonell klassisk joik - Traditional Classical Sami Yoik - Arbevirolas Luohti
  2. Wimme Saari Shamanistic chant meets modern electronics
  3. Yoik of the Wind Shamanistic chant meets modern electronics
  4. Same etnam. A brief introduction to traditional Sami song and the modern music.
  5. Complete guide to Sami joik and music online, including mp3 and video

External linksEdit

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