FolkWorld #69 07/2019
© Music Finland

New Times


Artist Video
Solju @ FROG

Sámi group Solju's first album was chosen "Best International Indigenous Release 2019" at Manito Ahbee, the festival for indigenous arts. Congratulations to the winner!


Artist Video
Vildá @ FROG

Ođđa Áigodat, the debut album by Solju has been awarded in “The Best International Indigenous Release 2019” category at the 14th annual Manito Ahbee Festival. Solju is the first Sámi artist to be nominated at the Indigenous Music Awards. The Manito Ahbee is a festival celebrating Indigenous arts, culture, heritage and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The award ceremony was held on Friday, May 17th 2019.

Solju consists of Ulla Pirttijärvi (2nd left on the photo above) and her daughter Hildá Länsman (2nd right), who combine their heritage of northern Sámi language and traditional chant, known as yoik, with a desire for new and innovative music. Their debut album Ođđa Áigodat (translated: New Times) was released in the spring of 2018 on the Bafe’s Factory label. On live shows the duo is joined by musicians Teho Majamäki (left) and Janne Puurtinen known from the rock band HIM (right).

This year, the founding members of Solju have also released albums under their own projects: both Ulla Pirttijärvi’s Áššu (with Olav Torget and Harald Skullerud) and Hildá Länsman’s group VILDÁ (with accordionist Viivi Maria Saarenkylä) released their debut albums on April 4th.

Read Hildá Länsman's recent interview on FMQ Magazine and listen to a Sámi music playlist compiled by Länsman.

“If our memory fails us, we exist no more…”

Music has long been important in increasing international awareness about the Sámi. Their yoik singing has come to represent an often forgotten people on the edge of Europe. Singer, songwriter Hildá Länsman represents the youngest generation forging an identity between tradition and modernity.


“When I was a little child I was with my father and he was slaughtering reindeer. He put the blood in a cup and I drank it.” Hildá laughs at the memory. “My father didn’t notice, but when he looked up at me I had blood all over my face. He got scared that something bad had happened to me.”

Sámi singer and songwriter Hildá Länsman really grew up amongst reindeer in Utsjoki (Ohcejohka in Sámi) in the far north of Finland. Her late father, Jari Länsman, was a reindeer herder, as is her younger brother Nillá-Ánde. It was the traditional occupation on both sides of her family.

The Sámi say that you yoik a person, not about a person. But a yoik also tells you something about the singer. “When I was three years old I made a yoik for the moon and my little brother at that age made a yoik for the sun,” explains Hildá. “That maybe shows the difference in our personalities. I am a more melancholic person, I like when it’s dark and I like the polar night. My little brother is more active and social.”

In the group Solju, Hildá performs with her mother Ulla Pirttijärvi and the photos for their impressive debut album Ođđa Áigodat (New Times) depicts them with a reindeer in the frosty mountainous landscape close to their home. “The reindeer used to be mine,” Hildá says, “but we made an exchange with my ex-boyfriend and he tamed it so now it can pull a sleigh.”

Read more @ Finnish Music Quarterly!

Finnish Music Quarterly

Solju's debut album awarded Best International Indigenous Release of 2019​. Published 20.5.2019. The FMQ (Finnish Music Quarterly, has been a showcase in English for Finnish musical culture since 1985. It publishes new items on its website every week and a printed edition at the end of the year. The FMQ is published by Music Finland. Its partners are the Sibelius Academy, the Society of Finnish Composers and the Finnish Musicians’ Union. The magazine also receives a grant from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Photo Credits: (1)-(2),(5) Solju, (3)-(4) Vildá, (6) Finnish Music Quarterly (unknown/website).

FolkWorld Homepage German Content English Content Editorial & Commentary News & Gossip Letters to the Editors CD & DVD Reviews Book Reviews Folk for Kidz Folk & Roots Online Guide - Archives & External Links Search FolkWorld About Contact Privacy Policy

FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Homepage
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld