In Birrasis, Lars-Ánte's powerful voice and Sámi joik pulsate with primeval force and energy. This debut album is a collaboration with multi-faceted producer Georg Buljo and some Norway's best musicians. Far more than a successful union, an original soundscape of joik, rhythm, experimental music and nature has been created; a musical journey into the heart of being and beyond boundaries.
Lars-Ánte Kuhmunen is a Sámi from Rensjön in Sweden, born into a family of reindeer herders away from the coast where he began performing joiks at 12 years of age. He won the Sámi Grand Prix in joik in 2000, and Swedish public television (SVT) has recently completed a documentary on him.
"Lars-Ánte Kuhmunen fuses the modern and the traditional and the result is exciting and deeply moving."(2007 Ledbury Poetry Festival).
Birrasis has no equivalent word in English. It describes the surroundings and the physical and spiritual connection to these, to the totality of the landscape, people and things existing there, and also the changes as you move on from one area to another. It has been said that the Sámi traditional way of life has survived with the joik.
Joik is an expression of the essence of a subject, a spellbinding song of direct experience and unique scale. The joik and the joiker essentially become the subject, and the music of the joiker thereby moves beyond time, space and the logic of composition and into direct experience. It is a bearer of Sámi spirituality and its shamanistic tradition. Joik literally infuses Birrasis, setting its music afire.
The Sámi are the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the northwestern Kola Peninsula of Russia. A great expanse of fjords, forests and tundra has provided a natural abundance for the past 10,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age. A hunter-gatherer people when the industrializing world began to draw near in the1600s, the Sámi also turned to the reindeer and herding to maintain their freedom and distinctive way of life despite great persecution and oppression. Fishing, hunting and gathering have continued to be of great meaning and importance, and around 10% of Sámi make their living from reindeer herding.
Sámi proverb: Time is a ship that never casts anchor.
"You sing a person, a magic place, your reindeer or the mountains. You don't sing about such things."
"The Joik of the Sámi is enclosed in the palm of your hand, and you have to shake it out."
"Joik always comes back to the ground, however much it flies, because that's how the Sámi people live."(Lars-Ánte Kuhmunen)
Birrasis has received support from the Swedish Sámi Parliament.
Visit Lars-Ánte Kuhmunen
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