Here is a disc that feels like it should be played at maximum volume! Gájanas, whose name means ‘echo’, play ethno-progressive music and are releasing their début disc Čihkkojuvvon / Hidden (Bafe’s factory, 2021) on 6 February, the National Day of the Sámi. The dialogue between contemporary aesthetic and traditional Sámi music is delicious to hear. The rock dimension is present in the expressive runs on Nicholas Francett’s guitar and cello, while Kevin Francett’s drum kit generates low frequencies that create a bridge between past and present. Erkki Feodoroff’s bass provides a reliable pulse underpinning the ensemble, and over it all soars the ever more expansive and charismatic voice of Hildá Länsman; is there anything that she cannot perform and evoke with her voice?
The sophisticated programming of Sami Kurppa expands the sound of the album on several tracks. He plays the sax solo in Geažehis áhpi, and Sami Sippola is featured in Vuolgge muinna, where African rhythms seem to merge joyfully with Sámi sounds: here’s a party where everyone is invited!
The lyrics, drawing on the relationship between humans and nature, are by Länsman. At times, the grand sound of the ensemble aspires to even wider horizons to reflect the majesty of the natural environment as a tiny human being regards the Northern lights, the expanse of the sea or the crystals in an ice flow. Urban sounds also generate new melodies, as we can hear for instance in Hušša sisa. This is a stunning début that serves as textbook study in how to keep one’s own tradition alive in today’s urban and multicultural world.
GÁJANAS: ČIHKKOJUVON (HIDDEN)
Hildá Länsman (vocals, yoik, frame drum)
Nicholas Francett (guitar, cello, vocals)
Kevin Francett (drums)
Erkki Feodoroff (bass)
Bafe's Factory/Nordic Notes NN147, 2021
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi