An Arctic White Horizon….

Ok everybody.  I have not fallen off of my rocker (not just yet, anyways!).  Some of you may have noticed the new addition to my sidebar.  As I was playing around with my “widgets” yesterday, I discovered the “Sonific Songspot” widget and plunked it into my sidebar working section.  Once I placed it there – I “gots to playing with it” and guess what – I’m addicted!!!!  You won’t find the usual cache of contemporary junk at Sonific – be prepared for more of a barebones, indie collection of music if you visit the site.  For those of us that tend to swim upstream, that suits us just fine.  So a word about my selection.

Andreas Jansson from what I have discerned (there is a paucity of cyber-information on this artist), is of Scandinavian descent (the “sson” should tip you off on that one!).  Specifically, I believe that he is Swedish.  His album, “Sounds of Are” is a new-agey compilation of various tracks inspired by that beautiful northwestern municipality in Sweden – Are (pronounded “ore-reh”).  The song highlighted in that little song thingie – “Natural – a Sami Picture”, is probably my favourite song from the album (think cold, icy tundra….blowing ice crystals….reindeer breath steaming from flared nostrils as it ascends over an arctic white horizon….).  A beautiful image as your skin sizzles in the sweltering June heat.  By the way, the enchanting voices in the song are performing “joik” or Sami chanting. 

As culture will have it, there is an indigenous group of people inhabiting the circumpolar regions of Scandinavia (Finland, Norway, Sweden and a tiny peninsula of Russia).  These people, the Sami, number at about 85 000 (the number may vary due to assimilation into cities etc.).  They have a distinct culture, language and identity.  Apparently, their cultural identity is also influenced geographically, such that there are “Sea Sami”, “Reindeer Sami” and “Non-Reindeer Sami”.  The identity of this unique group of people has sparked many politcal debates – namely those surrounding human right’s obligations (the UN is moving forward to ensure that this group is included and protected in their UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).  The Sami have parliamentary representatives and their own educational institutions.  Progress is being made to ensure that this distinct culture is protected.

So there you have it – a breath of fresh, circumpolar air to cool you on this warm June day.  Within that breath is a gift of multiculturalism, identity and ancient wisdom.

Long live the “joik” [gosh, I am such a geek…!],

-PM

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2 responses to “An Arctic White Horizon….

  1. It’s always heartening to hear that efforts are being made to preserve indigenous cultures. We here in the U.S. have so little contact with native cultures it’s as if they simply do not exist at all for us. Loved that music – it did actually make me feel cooler on this hot day.

  2. poseidonsmuse

    Observant – Thank you for your comment. I have travelled within the US rather extensively, and I would have to agree with you regarding the “little contact” with indigenous people bit. In Canada, we are fraught with the same issues as the Scandinavian regions – land claim issues and other governmental, political and social concerns threaten our temperate as well as northern indigenous groups.

    In addition, global warming is also most certainly going to affect the cultures of these people (especially the Inuit). Indigenous identity is most certainly linked to the environment (and climate). It will be interesting to see how these groups adapt to the inclement changes that threaten their existence in an ever changing environment. Then again, indigenous groups are a relatively adaptable peoples (we developing nations certainly have a role to play in this…). Feels like we are battling a cultural and climatic arms-race here.

    Anyways [get off the soapbox PM], I digress [grrr…]. These are only my observations/opinions here and I am certainly no expert on indigenous groups or climate change. I am certain of one thing, however, and that one thing involves my appreciation of cultural tolerance and diversity.

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