The Sami Yoik
January 23, 2014 8:57 AM   Subscribe

The Yoik of the Sami People : "The yoik, a unique form of cultural expression for the Sami people, can be understood as a metaphor for Sami traditional culture itself ... A yoik is not merely a description; it attempts to capture its subject in its entirety: it's like a holographic, multi-dimensional living image, a replica, not just a flat photograph or simple visual memory. It is not about something, it is that something." (previously)
posted by dhruva (18 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Joik har større kraft enn krutt!
posted by knapah at 9:02 AM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

"Yoiks!" (Bazooka Joe, I believe.)
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:08 AM on January 23, 2014

From the first link - repeated clicking of the audio links will start multiple versions of the track. If you time it right you can get them singing in rounds. Seems to be a sweet spot of about three going at once otherwise it just becomes a cacophony.
posted by zedbends at 9:15 AM on January 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

"Zoinks!" (Shaggy and Scooby, I believe.)

posted by humboldt32 at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2014

Yoiks and away!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:24 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Very interesting, although the audio samples are either poorly chosen or suggest that the writer is exaggerating some of the strangeness and radical incommensurability with Western notions of "music." The "listen to a luohti" link, in particular (and we're told that the luohti is the most common form of the yoik) would be instantly recognizable as a "song" pretty much anywhere in Western or Eastern Europe.
posted by yoink at 9:25 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by yoink

We all knew you'd have something to say in this thread.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:31 AM on January 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

We all knew you'd have something to say in this thread.

You mea "somethig," I thik.
posted by yoink at 9:41 AM on January 23, 2014 [4 favorites]

I went on a bender looking up information on Sami culture after a friend tasked me with finding a copy of Valikoinen Peura (The White Reindeer).
If I recall correctly, there are yoiks woven into the soundtrack of the film (I haven't rewatched it for a few years, but I will now; it is really good.)

The yoiks I was able to find were all very musical and sometimes beautiful to my ears. Not sure what that Giuseppe Acerbi guy was on about.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:41 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

You mea "somethig," I thik.

Man, this cold is really going around.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:43 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of my favorite things in the world. Thanks for the post.

The vector of "similar to or different from Western music" is not a particularly useful one and has traditionally been quicksand for ethnomusicologists. Such comparisons tend to mash form and function together carelessly.

It's like language. Each language has its own particular way of modeling reality, but all are variants of the same human faculty for modeling reality with abstract signs. Music as we tend to use the term probably does not have as modular and definite a neurocognitive essence as referential language (or conversely, the existence of music in its myriad forms should complicate the way we understand the modularity of referential language, as I usually put it). Sami people have the same brains as any other human being. They can learn to play Bach or sing Mbaka chants, just like you or I could learn to Yoik. There is nothing primitive or exotic or inexplicable about Yoiking that makes it more or less of a human accomplishment than playing a Bach partita. Yoiking functions in socially constructed ways that differ from the most common uses to which (some) Western music might be put, but those functions are not bound to the aesthetic form, and Yoiking has lately become a form that can be extended and integrated in purely aestheticized ways into "Western" musical styles. The idea of a musical expression as a personal identifier (Hey! Bo Diddley!) is really not strange or unique to Yoiking. Etc. etc.

(Separately, I have argued for years that the traditional Yoik should be classified as polyphonic music, conceptualized as having two separate interacting melodic lines that move in purposeful relationship to each other.)
posted by spitbull at 10:00 AM on January 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

Wimme Saari (official site) is a musician who sometimes does traditional yoiking and sometimes mixes it with various samples and other electronic support. I saw him perform in Miineapolis years ago, and his encore was basically 5 riviting minutes of gargling.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:54 AM on January 23, 2014

If you're interested in other artists with a Sami background who uses it in their art, there's Norway's Mari Boine.
posted by Harald74 at 10:58 AM on January 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sami Yoik

I alway wondered what happened to that guy. I caught his act a few times working the Catskills resorts back in the early 1960s. Boffo. But he never made it in Vegas, and Hollywood wouldn't touch him after he refused to testify.
posted by Herodios at 11:03 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Metal + yoik from Jonne Järvelä and Shaman, the predecessor to Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani: Shamániac, Idja (links to Grooveshark)
posted by gueneverey at 11:26 AM on January 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was just thinking of this with the Frozen FPP - I know it's far from traditional, but the movie does open with part of a yoik.
posted by corb at 10:17 AM on January 29, 2014

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