The indigenous people of Sweden are Sami, which makes it hard to believe that they are so taboo. They live in the north in, what may seem like, a whole different world. It is said, that the old song style yoik, which is the Sami song style, is the oldest music form in Europe. Even so, this song style was seen as a sin and you could be sentenced to death after 1609, for practicing it. It was not even allowed to be called music.
There are different dialects of yoik and there are three main dialects within the Sami area. You can yoik someone who died, forgotten places and dramatic events, to not let them be erased from the common memory bank.
When there is a conflict between two people, they can express their frustration by adding degrading verses in the other parts yoik. In the same way you can yoik the one you love.
The Sami themselves say: ‘We are not yoiking about anything, as one does singing. We say we are yoiking something, that way we become a part of what we are yoiking’. Isn’t that beautiful?
In 2014, a Sami young man entered the TV screens in ‘Sweden’s got Talant’ and swept all swedes of their feet. His name was Jon Henrik Fjällgren. He was dressed in folkdräkt (folk costume) and told the story about his best friend who passed away. How he one day sat by his friend’s house to pray and how he answered him with this yoik.
One might say Jon Henrik gave Sweden the beauty of yoik and opened our heart for this magical music style. He was the winner of ‘Sweden’s got Talant’ that year and has, since then, participated in the music competition Melodifestivalen several times.
I guarantee you, this will give you goosebumps.