Fusion between “Russian Rozhok” and Sápmi culture
The 2nd All-Russian Open Festival “Russian Rozhok” of Nerekhta saw the unexpected and occasional fusion with the Sápmi culture, rooted in history for its original musicality. The meeting took place in the Kostroma region strongly linked to the ancient Russian epic when – at the time of the Tsar Peter the Great – music and dance were considered the means to give an identity to the people. Also the Sápmi culture has a particular identity because it expresses itself with Joik compositions which are among the most long-lived musical traditions in Europe.
The Sápmi artist, Torgeir Vassvik, arrived in Nerekhta who performs Joik compositions, ancient traditional form of singing of the Sápmi people (extreme north European) and of the peninsula of Kola (Russia), inspired by a place, a person, an animal, with a purpose of reflecting. Through the songs composed the author evokes and describes the subjects; he does so with a “mumbling” style – typical of the Sápmi culture – even through improvised tones, created randomly, just as the singing takes place. Joik is a unique form of ritual expression and the texts are short. The mumbling style is an emission of indistinct sounds in a low voice, also called “throat sounds”.
Vassvik is one of the most important Joiker and with his voice he is able to interpret the best Joik sound, with the most refined and pleasant style. Joik is transmitted orally and recalls some spiritual experiences of Native American people; it also recalls the shamanic cultures of Siberia, which imitate the sounds of nature.
A festival inevitably represents an opportunity to promote meetings and contaminations and all participate in a perspective of possible evolution of relationships in a broader sense, social and not only. Of course, in Nerekhta, there was a folkloric event, but it should not be surprising if something more significant could arise from an occasional meeting of this kind. In any case, for now, seeing musicians who have different backgrounds and cultural roots for the first time has been fantastic; for a sociologist, the event can not go unnoticed because when two cultures meet in different expressions they are always bearers of innovative baggage.
Nobody knows what a musical collaboration could arise in the future that arises through occasional modalities; so it is important that the “occasional” event of Nerekhta with Torgeir Vassvik be remembered, but also favored. The moment was not just a game because the original Sápmi artist has performed with his old motif, entitled Varg / Ruomas, published in 2006 in the album “Sáivu”, but accompanied for the first time by the Russian horn. With that particular song, Vassvik wanted to prove what the musical result was. Not surprisingly, Torgeir Vassvik stated that it is always “important to meet new people and keep the music flexible”.
If the collaboration continues beyond the random event, new sound experiences may arise.
Rocco Turi, Budapest