Norway: Excluded after singing Sami-style joik in church

23 October 2013

The Parish Council in Kautokeino rages after trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen ‘joiked’ – a singing technique used by the Sami people from north Norway – during a free concert sponsored by Thon Hotels in Kautokeino church.


“I have told Thon Hotels that this was not as agreed. There will be no more concerts like this as long as I am leader of the Parish Council in Kautokeino,” stated Inga Gunhild Buljo Kemi.

Museum curator and musicologist John Graff, who has a doctorate in joik, has previously stated that joik often is a sensitive matter to approach, not least because of the church’s demonization of Sami culture.

Also, associate professor of Sami literature, Harald Gaski, confirmed this in Norwegian radio. He said that the explanation for the disgust for joik, especially in a Christian contexts (and in particular in Kautokeino and Karasjok) is that joik was a key part of the Sami, pre-Christian religion, and that it is therefore not considered appropriate in a church.

“Too bad if people feel offended. There should be a high level of acceptance for different expressions within the church,” said the renowned Norwegian trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen.

Audio interview with Antonsen in Norwegian language (starts at 14:40)

Altaposten – 15 October 2013:
Utestenges etter joiking i kirka (‘Excluded after joiking in church’)
Menighetsrådet raser etter at Ole Edvard Antonsen joiket. – Synd folk føler seg krenket, sier trompetisten.

Dagbladet – 15 October 2013:
Stenger Kautokeino kirke for konserter etter Ole Edvard Antonsen-joik
Flere slike konserter kommer ikke på tale.

NRK, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation:
Der joik er synd – Ytring
Det eneste Ole Edvard Antonsen og hans band egentlig gjorde galt, var at de sang «hei-lo-le-lo», i stedet for «tra-la-la».

Støtter Antonsen – Troms og Finnmark
Ole Edvard Antonsen sa til NRK i går at han syntes det var trist at menighetsrådet reagerte.

Sjokkerte med joik i kirka – Troms og Finnmark
Ole Edvard Antonsen fremførte en slags joik i kirka i Kautokeino på søndag. Nå reagerer menighetsrådet.

NRK Sápmi beklager
NRK Sápmi hadde en artikkel om at Kautokeino menighetsråd har stengt kirka for konserter etter at Ole Edvard Antonsen joiket i kirka.

NRK Radio – Kulturnytt
Menighetsrådet i Kautokeino stenger kirken for konserter etter at Ole Edvard Antonsen joiket under en kirkekonsert.

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