I just moved to Chicago recently and have been settling into my new job and new apartment (in Lincoln Park), so that's the cause of most of the silence recently. In the meantime, I've been enjoying some music. I'm a huge fan of a type of music called joiking, which is a traditional Sami style of singing that is mainly wordless chants. I mentioned Torgeir Vassvik in another post, who has a traditional album and a jazz-fusion (very popular in that region) album. Here are two joik bands I've been listening to. One is Adjagas, which has kind of a rootsy folk sound:
Another is Wimme, who uses an electronica background:
From another part of the Arctic, comes this deer song involving throat singing from the Even tribe of Siberia. Someone in a comment mentioned that the only polar people whose diets we can study are the Inuit, which is not true. There are many circumpolar indigenous peoples. In Siberia (a massive part of the world) there are several tribes that have been poorly studied in the past, but there is some interesting research coming out of there right now. I keep meaning to read The Reindeer People, which is about the Even.
In Siberia, shamans combine a distinctive imagery of reindeer and of bird-flight. Their costumes sometimes include imitation reindeer antlers, occasionally tipped with wings or feathers, placed on the headdress or attached to the shoulders at the very point where reindeer are tattooed on the Pazyryk mummies. Like the participants in the Eveny midsummer ritual, shamans may ride to the sky on a bird or a reindeer. But their relationship with these animals goes far beyond mere riding. One shaman is suckled by a white reindeer during his initiatory vision as he incubates in a bird's nest on a branch high in the tree that links earth and sky. Another becomes a reindeer himself by wearing its hide, while hunters with miniature bows and arrows surround him and mime the act of killing. The hide is then stretched across the broad, flat drum that the shaman will beat as accompaniment to his trance. Another shaman, seeking to consecrate his reindeer-skin drum, is guided by spirits as he combs through the forest to find the location where the reindeer was born and traces every place it has ever visited over the course of its life, right up to the point where it was killed. As he picks his way through bogs and over fallen branches, he picks up the scattered material traces of its existence — snapped twigs, dried dung — to gather together every possible part of its being, and then moulds them into a small effigy of the reindeer. When he sprinkles the effigy with a magical ‘water of life’, the drum comes to life. Like a reindeer itself but with enhanced power, it is now capable of bearing the shaman aloft with its throbbing beat to nine, twelve, or more levels of the heavens.
I also enjoyed this throat singing from Eivor, an artist from the Faroe Islands:
If throat-singing and joiking just aren't your thing, here is a baffling and gorgeous music video I've been enjoying from a indie folk band called Phosphorescent: