Adult Education in Sámi Music: Čuojat Juoigga LivDuu Leud´de!
At present, adult education in Sámi music is not provided anywhere in the form of permanent instruction. After compulsory schooling, young people here have no possibilities for getting education in the music of their own culture. The Sámi Music Centre of the Sámi Parliament arranges courses and workshops on Sámi music for the pupils of comprehensive schools, but, after compulsory schooling, no teaching in Sámi music is provided, with the exception of a few occasional courses. As there are no music institutes in the Sámi area, it is difficult for the young to attain the necessary skills to qualify for further studies in music. Adult education in Sámi music is not provided on a permanent basis anywhere: neither in Finland nor in the other countries of Sápmi, the Sámi Region (Norway, Sweden, Russia). Thus, the planned instruction provided by the project Adult Education in Sámi Music: Čuojat Juoigga LivDuu Leud´de! is unique, innovative and visionary.
Today, we are witnessing a real boom of modern Sámi music. However, there is a shortage of skilled instructors. Studying music is, in general, a challenge in the north, where music institutes are situated far away and the number of (competent) music teachers in schools and even at the municipal adult education centres is low. Furthermore, the Sámi musical heritage arises from a musical culture of its own, the roots of which stem from the ancient past. It is said that the North Sámi yoik is one of the oldest musical traditions in the world that have been kept alive continuously. Each Sámi group of Finland has its own musical tradition (called in English “yoiking”). For the North Sámi, it is luohti, for the Inari Sámi, livDe, and, for the Skolt Sámi, leu´dd. Sámi musicians have an important and unique tradition to keep alive and to transmit to new generations.
The objective of the project is to arrange two pilot projects in the field of adult education in Sámi music. The programmes will last a year each, and they will be held in Utsjoki and run by the Sámi Education Institute. These pilot projects will increase the number of instructors in Sámi music and competence in entrepreneurship. The project will enhance expertise in Sámi music and the appreciation of this music in Utsjoki, Northern Finland and the rest of the country. It will involve experts of Sámi music in planning and teaching and provide employment for them. The project will create conditions for providing education in the field for the young people and adults who are interested in Sámi music. The results of the project will considerably increase in particular Sámi young people’s possibilites for getting further education in their home region; the project will also increase their readiness for further musical education elsewhere. This kind of adult education in Sámi music is not available anywhere in the world. Therefore, the project is a step towards a unique educational programme in the north.
The education offered by the project will fulfil the needs of the entire Sámi area, providing experts in Sámi music who will be able to teach, perform and enhance the vitality of Sámi music in other ways. The schooling will also increase the students’ readiness to work as musicians and to find employment as Sámi musicians. It will also enhance knowhow on how to arrange cultural events in the Sámi area.
In the end, we are talking about ensuring that the threatened Sámi traditional music will survive and advance as a living tradition.
It is also important to remember that the education programme will provide Sámi young people with training in their own language in a field in which there is no training available anywhere at all. The education will support, strengthen and increase knowledge in the Sámi language and, thus, consolidate the Sámi identity and the sense of belonging in one’s own people and culture. The teaching of traditional Sámi music – a form of music that has deep connections to culture – is based on traditional knowledge.