There were very few dry eyes in the audience of around 500 people in Stockholm, Sweden, as Åsa Simma joiked her name on stage in front of the International Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers last month. Åsa is a Sami elder who had explained to us that joiking (pronounced yoiking),is a way of singing the essence of a person or place or plant, etc. It is not really a song, but more of a sung expression. Traditionally each Sami child is given a joik when they are born. Hearing a joik is like hearing the sound of one’s soul…they have a mystical quality that takes the listener to a deep place within. Åsa also explained to us that for many years, it was against the law for the Samis ( the indigenous people of far northern Scandinavia and Russia) to joik! They were not allowed to joik the names of their children or family members, or even themselves. So, you can imagine the powerful experience of hearing her joik her name before all of us in the auditorium. Her soul’s expression touched us deeply, as our souls felt and recognized the beauty of these sounds. (You can find out more about the Sami people by viewing this beautiful, short film created by Åsa Simma here: Film
This experience lead me back to thinking about a subject that I have been teaching and writing about: giving voice to my SoulCollage(R) cards, or other art pieces, through sound and music. Instead of dialoguing in words with them, or asking them their name, what if I asked my mandala or SoulCollage(R) card to sing their essence to me? Maybe this is something you would like to try…or what about singing your essence as you look in the mirror? The results could be profound, and the process could be quite joyful.
To listen to a beautiful example of joiking, click here: Yoik of the Wind