Emil Kárlsen is releasing the track ‘Muohta’ as part of Sámi National Day (muohta is one of the many Sámi ways to say snow). The day celebrates the first Sámi national meeting which took place in Trondheim on 6 February 1917 when representatives of the Sámi people met to discuss common issues across the Sápmi borders which encompasses the Northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Murmansk Oblast, Russia (an area formerly known as Lapland; a term that is now seen as derogatory). The day started to be celebrated annually in 1993.

It may be a sliver of a song at only 2’ 27”, but it packs a lot into its running time. It’s about a young loving couple on the run from the law and builds up from a bouncing rhythm of dampened strings and rolling drums. The vocal style and tune perfectly mix elements of traditional singing with more modern pop sensibilities so you get a slight ululation clipped in the throat as well as a swirling pop tune.

Photograph by Ørjan Marakatt Bertelsen

Emil Kárlsen is a singer and songwriter and member of the band Resirkulert but in recent years he has recorded his first solo album, Nagirvárrái, and become more involved in the traditional singing style of Joik (also known as luohti or juoiggus) which made him a great choice to record this track which was performed on public television with the National Norwegian Broadcast Orchestra as part of the Sámi National Day celebrations.

You can find out more about Sámi National Day here and buy the track here.

Review by Paul F Cook

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