The Sami Country is a territory which does not feature on maps.

This is a more intimate journey than the one we did in India.

The scenery is minimalist, the only raw material is ice, the acoustics are also special;

We form part of a tough environment which has marked Sami culture for centuries and now affects Nömadak Tx. Six thousand years of nomadism cannot be forgotten easily.

“Change is the essence of the world, something which does not change is dead”

Permanence and change are like life and death, one cannot exist without the other. Change within permanence is a recurring theme of all journeys, in villages, in the landscape, in culture and in ways of life.

Lapland is a territory which does not feature on maps. It covers lands in the north of Scandinavia shared out between four states: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. We zigzag over the borders of these states, jumping from one to another.

In Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, we arrive at the Ice Hotel, where we make txalaparta out of ice. A txalaparta which belongs to its place of origin like no other instrument we have made on our travels. The change of state of water into ice makes for an instrument which only survives in these latitudes. As we learnt in India, we give back to earth what belongs to it. And to the lake, what belongs to the lake.

The vast landscape widens the horizon of our instrument. To meet the Sami, the reindeer farmers, we ski along the Kungsleden, the Royal Road, at 30 degrees below zero. And so we reach Kautokeino, the most populated Sami settlement in Lapland.

 

The Sami peoples

The Sami are one of Europe’s few remaining indigenous peoples. Proud of their past, they continue to display their identity before XXI-century travellers. They live in the north of the Scandinavian peninsula between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and are traditionally a nomadic people.

Although no longer nomads, nut the inhabitants of small villages, today as in the past, the Sami conserve a way of life which respects the nature which spreads in vast stretches above the Artic Circle.

Their traditions pay homage to their history, maintained through the oral tradition, singing without accompaniment their “joik”, songs which narrate their memory and legends, around a fire. Songs which do not appear to have a beginning or an end, but whose monotonous cadence is hard to forget.

Although there are still issues to be solved concerning the rights of the Sami peoples over the natural resources of Lapland, they now enjoy a certain degree of official recognition and the Sami language and culture are taught at several Scandinavian universities.

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