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Traditional Sami music revolves around singing. The only traditional instruments are the flute "fadno" (made from Angelica archangelica) and drums, and purely instrumental music is unknown. Modern bands use a wide variety of instruments, especially the fiddle and accordion.

Improvised, highly spiritual songs called joiks (North Sami: luohti; South Sami: vuolle) are the most characteristic song type. (The same word sometimes refers to lavlu or vuelie songs, though this is technically incorrect.) Joiks do not rhyme, and have no definite structure. They are typically about any subject of importance to the singer, and vary widely in content. Purely folk joiks have declined in popularity over the 20th century, due to the influence of pop radio and religious fundamentalism, especially Laestadianism. Nevertheless, joik performers of some fame include Angelit (former Angelin tytöt, Girls of Angeli), Wimme Saari and Nils-Aslak Valkeapää from Finnish Lapland. Many modern singers are signed to DAT, the premier record label in Sami music.

The most famous Sami singer is undoubtedly Mari Boine of Norway, who sings a type of minimalist folk-rock with joik roots. Some non-Sami artists, including RinneRadio, Xymox and Jan Garbarek, have used joik and other Sami styles in their music.

The Finnish folk metal band Sháman introduced what some call "yoik metal" in the late 1990s, drawing attention to Sámi music in the heavy metal scene. Their music incorporated Sámi elements such as yoik singing, Sami lyrics, and shamanic drum. The vocalist has also yoiked for fellow Finnish folk metal band Finntroll.

In January 2008, the Sami artist Ann Marie Anderson, singing "Ándagassii" qualified to the finals of Melodi Grand Prix 2008, (the Norwegian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2008), but she did not win.

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References

  • Cronshaw, Andrew. "Joiks of the Tundra". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 255–260. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0

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