Thursday, 29 September 2011 07:17

The firekeepers

57 min.
Digital Video
Sonar Film DA
Produsent: Sonar Film v/Britt Kramvig
Norway-Sápmi, 2007
Regi: Rossella Ragazzi

Editing: Rachel A Gomez

A journey in the “Yoikscape”
Lawra Somby and Sara Marielle Gaup are two young Saami (Sapmi, Samiland) chanting “yoiks” who explore new forms between traditional and innovative way of singing. Yoiks are lyrical-musical forms which do not only describe creatures, things, people or experiences: in the Sami culture THEY also ARE these things. In this way, the power of singing yoiks is also the power of evocation and the power of communicating something hidden to a community listening for them. Yoiks were associated to shamanistic practices for many centuries, and were pursued by Church and missionaries as evil expressions of paganism. In order to survive, the courage of many singers was to hold secrecy around them and this explains the metaphor of “fire- keepers” hidden in our title. To keep the yoik alive was like to keep the ashes of a fire alive: the fire is the most important element of sociality in Saami culture, which was nomadic for many centuries.

The film explore some contemporary dilemmas, the history of the protagonists’ ancestors, the way they struggled against assimilation of the Norwegian government. It also follows the, when  dealing with a more global culture versus they way they still are communicating to their internal communities of South and North Saami. The film explores a way of life partially unknown in Europe, revealing the beauty and peculiar tempo of  North Scandinavia.
By taking off with their band Adjágas (meaning “a state between wake and sleep” in Saami language) toward an international distribution of their music (Cds, concerts abroad) we follow their struggle to maintain their past and future together and not to succumb to the impositions of style of globalised music industry.


Aug. 2007 Performing Nature in the world’s peripheries, Universitetet i Oslo

Sept. 2007 Premiere at Verdensteater, Tromsø.

Oct. 2007 Institutt for flerkulturell kommunikasjon og kulturstudier, NTNU, Trondheim

Oct. 2007 Siida Museum, Inari, Finland

Oct. 2007 Cinema Athena, Tartu, Estonia. Celebrations of Sami Day.

Oct. 2007 Museumsnatt, Tromsø University Museum.

16 & 19.01.08 Tromsø International Filmfestival, TIFF. Film fra Nord.

Jan. 2008 Inari Indigenous Film Festival, Skábmagovat.

Jan. 2008 Fondazione Cini ( International Seminar of Comparative Musicology; Venezia,


Feb. 2008 Visual Cultural Studies dept. Institute of Social Anthropology. Seminar “Practice led research applied to anthropology”.

Feb. 2008 Høgskolen I Tromsø. Seminar Videreutdanning i Helse og Samfunnsvitenskap.

Feb. 2008 Tromsø Universitet Museum. Forskningsseminar, Kultur Vitenskap seksjon.

Feb. 2008 Kulturhistorisk Museum, Oslo Sami Day Celebrations

Feb. 2008 Samisk søndag; Norsk Folkemuseum; Oslo

Feb. 2008 Verdensteater. Fylkes Kommune Kultur Avdeling.

Feb. 2008 Sami Linguistic Documentation Seminar. Hum. Fak, Tromsø University

Mars 2008 Culcom (Kulturell Kompleksitet i nye Norge) forskerseminar; Universitet i Oslo

Mai 2008 International Workshop: Indigeneity and “Indianness” in the World: Old Stories, New Dialogues, Oslo/Tromsø University

Mai 2008 Oslo NAF annual conference, Norwegian Anthropological Association. University Oslo

June 2008 Reykiavik Nordic House. Icelandic-Sami Association

June 2008 NIFF, Nepalese Indigenous Film Festival 2008. Kathmandu, Nepal.

Juli 2008 Riddu Riddu Festival, Manndal, Troms.

Aug. 2008 Santa Fé Film Festival. U.S.

2008 Easa European Association Social Anthropology biannual meeting. Vaneasa screenings.

2008 University of Siena, Summer School Ars Videndi, in visual anthropology, S. Gimignano.

2008 University of Moscow and Anthropological Film Festival.

2008 University of Umeå, International Conference in Circum Polar Issues

2008 The Road to Mental Decolonization, Tromsø Contemporary Art Museum. Seminar and Exhibition

2008 Murmansk Milky Way Documentary and TV Film Festival, Russia

2008 Auckland New Zeland. International Biannual Conference of the Commonwealth Association of Social Anthropology. University of Auckland.

2009 Oslo, Sami Day Celebrations. Screening in collaboration with Folk Museum, Oslo.

2009 ANU Australian National University Centre for Humanities. Seminar and screening series.

July 2009: Leeds, RAI Film Festival and International conference: Emotions in Motion.

Special mention of the Jury for the Untangible Culture Heritage Prize.

August 2009 Toronto, Canada. Harbour Front Centre.

September 2009 : Snåsa, Norway: Samisk Sitje Museum.