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Juoiganmuitalusat - jojkberättelser: en studie av jojkens narrativa egenskaper
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Archaeology and Sami Studies.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Yoik tales : a study of the narrative characteristics of Sami yoik (English)
Abstract [en]

The focus of the dissertation is on the performance of the yoiks, what the yoikers tell the audience and what the yoikers mean with their narratives. The results demonstrate that the verbal art of yoik includes both song and spoken messages. The analysis of the yoik tradition is couched within performance theory. The discussions of the performance give keys to understanding storytelling, oral history, verbal art and a means to recognize when a yoiksong, vuolle, begins or when it stops and why the performer yoiks its vuolle the way he or she does. I argue that an inside perspective in conjunction with performance theory, provides a highly fruitful method to research in yoik tradition. In order to understand the tacit knowledge in the performance, it has been highly relevant to discuss the seminal work by the Sami author Johan Turi and to compare his theories with Sami scholars like Israel Ruong, Nils Jernsletten and Harald Gaski.

In the 1900s there were three broader documentation projects of yoik tradition in Sweden. The first one was conducted in the 1910s by Karl Tirén, who used the phonograph and wax cylinders. In the 1940s the Institute of Language and Folklore (ULMA/SOFI) undertook a documentation project and in the 1950s the Swedish Radio did so too. Now, it was now possible, with the modern technology, to analyse the yoik tradition in new ways. It enables re-listening to the stories that was told and to see them in a context where the performers’ artistic skill, together with their social background and their relation to their audience is made visible.

It has been discussed if there was an epic yoik tradition in South Sami areas. One hypothesis says that epic yoik was found only in northern areas in close connection to Finnish culture. However, this study shows that there was an epic yoik tradition in southern Lapland and probably the last of these epic singers passed away in the 1960s. The yoikers presented here are all good representatives of an epic yoik tradition. Sara Maria Norsa, Nils Petter Svensson, Jonas Eriksson Steggo and Knut Sjaunja are my main informants in the archive material, where their performances are described with accuracy. This makes it possible to analyse the events they are participating in. They are all in fact telling their lives’ stories by describing reindeer herding.

This dissertation demonstrates the yoik tradition in its context, and I show that the vuolle has a structure where one can recognize when it begins and when it ends. The yoik tradition is not only music or song, the story that is told is equally important. The way of presenting a vuolle is also a part of the yoik tradition and one has to consider both the spoken and the sung messages in order to understand what the performer means. In short, yoik must be recognized as verbal art or storytelling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Samiska studier, Umeå universitet , 2007. , 199 p.
Samiska studier, ISSN 1651-5153 ; 4
Keyword [en]
Sami culture, yoik, performance, oral history, verbal art, folklore, epic songs, Sami literature, inside-outside perspective, ethnicity, ethnomusicology, luohti
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1323ISBN: 978-91-7264-370-3OAI: diva2:140651
Public defence
2007-09-21, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00
Available from: 2007-08-31 Created: 2007-08-31 Last updated: 2014-06-03Bibliographically approved

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