February 6th is Sami National Day, marking the date in 1917 when the first Sami congress was held in Trondheim, Norway.
The holiday became official in 1992, when delegates at the 15th Sami Conference in Helsinki, Finland, passed a resolution calling for Sami National Day to be celebrated annually on February 6th.
The Sami inhabit large parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia referred to collectively as Sápmi and the Sami language is one of Sweden’s five officially recognized minority languages.
The Sami have a unique traditional singing style known as joik, thought to be one of the oldest music traditions in Europe.
An undated clip of a Sami man performing a traditional joik
In recent years, a number of Sami artists have also put a new twist on traditional folk music in order to bring it to new audiences.
Sami singer Máddji singing “Iđitguovssu” (Dawn Light) from her album “Beyond” (Sámi: “Dobbelis”)
Sami singer Sofia Jannok, who started performing joiks since she was 11-years-old, sings a “Liekkas” from her 2007 album “White” / Ceaskat.
In 2009, Sami singer Sofia Jannok took things a step further when she translated the Abba hit Waterloo into Sami and performed it as part of the 2009 Melodifestivalen song competition in Skellefteå.
For anyone interested in trying their hand at singing the Sami National Anthem, the following clip provides the melody, while an English translation of the lyrics can be found below.
Far up North ‘neath Ursa Major
Gently rises Samiland.
Mountain upon mountain.
Lake upon lake.
Peaks, ridges and plateaus
Rising up to the skies.
Gurgling rivers, sighing forests.
Iron capes pointing sharp
Out towards the stormy sea.
Winter time with storm and cold
Sami kin, with hearts and souls
Their lands do love.
Moonlight for the traveller,
Living Aurora flickering,
Grunt of reindeer heard in groves of birch,
Voices over lakes and open grounds,
Swish of sled on winter road.
Summer’s sun casts golden hues
On forests, seas and shores.
Fishermen in gold, swaying
With the golden seas, golden lakes.
Silver Sami rivers gurgling
’round sparkling poles, shining oars.
Singing, men float down
Rapids, great and small,
And waters calm.
With unbending strength
Defeated killing enemies, bad trades,
Sly and evil thieves.
Hail thee, tough Sami kin!
Hail thee, root of freedom!
Never was there battle,
Never brother’s blood was spilled
Amongst the peaceful Sami kin.
Our ancestors long ago
Trouble makers did defeat.
Let us, brothers, also resist
Staunchly our oppressors.
Oh, tough kin of the sun’s sons,
Never shall you he subdued
If you heed your golden Sami tongue,
Remember the ancestors’ word.
Samiland for Sami!