By Håkon Mathias Vassvik
A Sámi that does not know his Sámi identity, one who is performing Sámi yoik and a Norwegian with a cello. All brought together to talk about something almost unspeakable. After centuries of repression of the indigenous Sámi culture, what does it mean to be a Sámi today? Where does the search for an old and pure Sámi Culture take us?
Håkon and Torgeir Vassvik come from Gamvik, a little fishing village at the northernmost tip of the coast of Finnmark. Here the repression of Sámi culture has been overwhelming since the 1800 century. Nowadays, it is a place where Sámi identity is reconstructed. This is our story of how the Norwegian authorities failed to completely “Norwegianize” the mixed culture of the Sámi/Norwegian/Finnish/Russian culture of Gamvik.
The nomadic life of herding reindeer, The Sámi folk costume (kofta), Sámi language, Sámi music (yoik) and handcraft (duodji )are all present characteristics of Sámi culture. None of these are evident in the coastal area of Gamvik nowadays. What signs of Sámi identity do we have, and perhaps more important, what signs do we want?
Håkon Mathias Vassvik: Freelance actor and director. Member of the theater group Verk produksjoner. Director and actor in the project Brødmannens memorarer 2011. Permanent member of Ferske Scener since 2012.
Torgeir Vassvik: Musician and composer. Released two albums, SÁIVU 2006 and SÁPMI 2009. Performs his own material both solo and in different constellations. Currently playing in the Global Fever Orchestra along with Jan Lothe Eriksen and Audun Strype.
Jan Lothe Eriksen: Cellist and a permanent member of the Global Fever Orchestra. He is a graduate from Rogaland Music Conservatory. Has worked in Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and now pursues his freelance career.
See a clip from the performance here