Traditional Sámi vocal music dialects

Traditional Sámi music has several basic principles, such as the instrument of musical expression being the human voice and the absence of instruments. Another important factor is that the music is performed alone without other performers. These principles also apply to traditional Sámi music. The traditional Sámi vocal music dialects are the Skolt Sámi leu´dd, Inari Sámi livđe, Northern Sámi luohti, Kildin Sámi luv´dd, Southern Sámi vuelie and the Lule Sámi vuolle.

Leu’dd

The Skolt Sámi have a versatile musical tradition, which includes dedicated songs called leu´dd. The verb for performing leu´dds is leu´ddjed. Leu´dds are long, descriptive songs that deal with the life events of the person that the song is about. Leu´dds repeat a musical line, which is repeated and varied musically while adapting text to it.

Livđe

An Inari Sámi vocal music tradition passed on from generation to generation in Inari Sámi families as oral tradition. Livđes are dedicated songs, which means that a livđe refers to its object and to everything related to the object. Livđes repeat a musical line, which is repeated and varied musically while adapting text and non-lexical syllables to it.

Luohti

A Northern Sámi vocal music tradition passed on from generation to generation in Northern Sámi families as oral tradition. Luohtis are dedicated songs, which means that a luohti refers to its object (juoiggalmas) and to everything related to the object. Luohtis repeat a musical line, which is repeated and varied musically while adapting text (dajahusat) and luohti syllables to it. The verb for performing a luohti is juoigat, and the Finnish word for luohti is joiku, hence the English word ‘yoik’.

Luv´dd

Kildin Sámi vocal music tradition. Luv´dds are long, descriptive songs that deal with the life events of the person that the song is about. Luv´dds repeat a musical line, which is repeated and varied musically while adapting text to it. Luv´dds are dedicated songs, which means that a luv´dd refers to its object and to everything related to the object.

Vuelie

A Southern Sámi vocal music tradition passed on from generation to generation in Southern Sámi families as oral tradition. Vuelies are dedicated songs, which means that a vuelie refers to its object and to everything related to the object. Vuelies repeat a musical line, which is repeated and varied musically while adapting text and non-lexical syllables to it.

Vuolle

A Lule Sámi vocal music tradition passed on from generation to generation in Lule Sámi families as oral tradition. Vuolles are dedicated songs, which means that a vuolle refers to its object and to everything related to the object. Vuolles repeat a musical line, which is repeated and varied musically while adapting text and non-lexical syllables to it.

Written Anna Näkkäläjärvi-Länsman

Anna Morottaja, student 2016-2017 ja 2019-2020

“In my opinion, traditional music contains the aesthetics of art and a plethora of information. For example, the lyrics contain Sámi philosophy. They show what was considered important in the past and what was thought about many matters. The yoiks and livđes of my already deceased relatives keep a door open to the past. It is as if I was going through an old photo album. Of course, traditional music also brings people together. Livđe was on the main stage of the 2019 Ijahis idja. Inari Sámi children and adults heard a half-hour gig in their own language, including spoken parts in Inari Sámi. This has great importance to the audience.”