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Music from the Arctic Circle

By Laura Gallloway
Published: Mar 07, 2013
Category: World

Guest Butler Laura Galloway is an old friend of this site — she was a crucial helper at its launch. Now she’s an entrepreneur and journalist studying Sami culture. Sami? Read on….

After discovering my connection to the Sami people — the oldest indigenous culture of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia — I’ve been spending much of my free time in Scandinavia. During my visits, I hear music that hasn’t fully emerged in the rest of the world. Here are four female vocalists worth sharing.

Ane Brun: Just try and listen to “Do you remember” and not dance. Ane is a Norwegian singer songwriter from the fjord city of Molde, a city well known to jazz aficionados for the Molde International Jazz Festival. [To buy her CD on Amazon, click here. For the MP3 download, click here.] 

Sofia Jannok: This Swedish Sami is probably one of the best-known contemporary Sami singers. She incorporates Joking — a Sami song form that sounds similar to a yodel — with more modern sounds. Sofia is also a passionate advocate for the Sami people, who have historically been marginalized in the countries where they live. This video was recorded a few years ago at the Ice Hotel –– a hotel in northern Sweden constructed entirely of ice. You’ll also see some gorgeous scenery from the Swedish Arctic. [To buy her CD on Amazon, click here. For the MP3 download, click here.]

Lovisa Negga: At the winter festival at the Sami Museum in Jokkmokk, Sweden, I saw a mesmerizing performance: Lovisa sang as her traditionally dressed Sami relatives danced enthusiastically in the crowd. Lovisa, who is Sami with a French father, is as much a fascinating performance artist as musician — I think she might be the next, more original Lady Gaga, if she doesn’t get a MOMA show first. [To buy the MP3 download from Amazon, click here.]

Rebekka Karijord: Stockholm-based Rebekka Karijord creates music that is haunting, reflective and unvarnished; she’s a contemporary Joni Mitchell. If you have the chance to catch her live — she tours frequently — you’re in for a singular experience. [To buy the MP3 download from Amazon, click here.]