Áilluhaš' importance to the Sami yoik

By Ola Graff

Nils-Aslak (Áilluhaš) is perhaps the most diverse Sámi artist who ever lived. His work with yoik had great impact. He was very concerned about creating respect for the yoik. He unified music, poetry and visual art.Han has performed in many parts of the world. He was also a number of times in Japan.

In 1975 he attended the first meeting of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Several representatives were skeptical of the Sami because of their white color, but when Nils-Aslak performed a yoik the skepticismwas swept away and the Sami were accepted at par with all the others.

He expanded the perspective beyond yoik. He held a few concerts with old Sami hymns which he composed new text to the melodies. This was published after his death. One of the songs, Giitu buot attáldagain (thanks for all the gifts) are included in the new Sami church hymn book, Sálbmagirji II. His greatest performance ever was to open the Olympic Games in Lillehammer in 1994. The opening ceremony was watched by hundreds of millions of people. He made ​​a new yoik in a very traditional style to this opening. Afterwards, it was released on an album.

Read the article written by Ola Graff on Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

Ola Graff has lectured about the musician Nils-Aslak several times. He is keen to disseminate the innovative and pioneering in Valkeapää's music. He also talks about young talents who were discovered because Valkeapää invited children to participate in his creative work.

Ola Graff is a researcher at the University Museum in Tromsø.