Ethereal, mellow sounds from the Swedish Lapland
To celebrate its National Day in style on June 6, the Swedish Embassy in Athens hosts Jarnna from Sapmi, a band that sculpts sound which simultaneously exalts and transcends tradition. Deeply rooted in old sami jojk traditions, the band’s music establishes a mellow, meditative mood that is at once modern, timeless and suggestive, evocative of the purity of the Arctic landscape and of the starkness of the long, winter months. A cross between song and meditative chanting, Jarnna use the human voice in a way that is distinctively poignant.
Their concert this evening will be live-streamed on the Embassy’s Facebook page facebook.com/EmbassyOfSwedenInAthens. A brief interview with the group on the eve of their concert.
For most Athenians, Swedish music begins with Abba and perhaps finds an outlet through younger artists such as Leon and Avicii. How would you describe Jarnna’s unique genre of ethno-jojk music to our readers?
The Arctic landscape and the jojk tradition is the inspiration for our music. It picks up on those elements and the majestic purity of those surroundings to let the audience experience nature at its most unspoilt, to imagine a flowing river, to visualize the magic of the northern lights or the silvery poetry of snowflurry on the mountains.
What does Jarnna signify? Why do you choose to sing in the Julev Sami language rather than a language with a broader appeal, such as Swedish?
Jarnna means the widest part of a river. To sing in the Julev Sami language comes naturally to us. It is a beautiful language and an intrinsic part of our culture, unfortunately threatened to become an extinct one. If the language dies, the culture is gone too.
You have travelled to Finland, Norway, Chile, Germany and Ireland and performed concerts all over Europe. Is this your first time in Greece? What do you hope to relay to your audience here? Are there elements of Greek folk music you’d like to include in your repertoire?
We have played for very different audiences around the world. Our experience is that music always connects people and different cultures. When we play somewhere we give a part of our world to the audience but we also get something in return. Music has no borders and maybe on our new album, you will hear a Greek bouzouki…
The concert will be live streamed at facebook.com/EmbassyOfSwedenInAthens.