The yoik is an important element of Lapp culture
The yoik is the traditional sami music - the Sami musical expression. It is a Lapp song tradition that is still in use.
It is revitalized and is the basis for the modern Sami musical expressions. It is used to characterize people,
animals and nature - or to tell a story.
The rythm and the melody are important parts of the yoik. The text is often short, repetitive and packed
with meaning and understatements.
The melody of a yoik is quite simple and is held in a pentatone scale.
The person who is the theme of a yoik, is created through the mood and atmosphere of the tune and the pictures of
the person that the creator and performer of the yoik is able to produce. You don't yoik about someone or something.
You joik the person or the object or the animal.
In the pre-Christian era
the yoik was an important part of religious ceremonies. It was accompanied by the
rythms of the shamans drum and it was used by the shaman (noaidi) to get into trance.
This is the reason why the yoik was considered a great sin when the Christian belief
came to Lapland. Some people even today look upon the yoik as sinful and incompatible with a Christian way of life.
In the 1600s the yoik was forbidden by law. Those who still used it, were punished. The result was that the
yoik was no longer used in public. But it survived. For a long time, though, yoikers were careful not to provoke
the church and the authorities.
Read more about the yoik
The University of Helsinki has gathered many traditional yoiks from different parts of Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Lapland.
Click here to listen to
lapp traditional yoiks.
And what about listening to three outstanding contemporary Lapp artists
Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Lapland.
Go back to Lapp culture
Where the Reindeer Roam
Lapp wedding procession
Reindeer skins at Karesuando