One of my first philosophical proclamations- at the ripe old age of eight- was that all of the suitable themes for popular music had been exhausted. There simply was little left to write about. It had all been done. I’ve since revised that theory, in fact inverted it 180 degrees to assume that almost NOTHING has been done. We’ve just scratched the surface- written a few love songs, a few waltzes, a few instrumentals, a few laments, a few rants. Still these days it seems like we’re all on our seats, maybe even biting our nails, some even hedging their bets, as to what will be the ‘next big thing.’ That there will be we all agree; novelty sells, but WHAT?
It’s so bad now that the hottest things these days are slice-and-dice ‘mash-up’ versions of disparate artists from disparate genres sharing a three-inch screen with two or more songs when in fact that may be all they share- except maybe a mutual love of mustaches, or wine vintage, or loopy lyrics, or the key of C. DJ’s are increasingly the stars of musical events, turntablists by trade re-editing the music of others for their own profit, while ‘real musicians’ can barely find gigs and songwriters stand in food stamp lines. What’s going on? I’ve got more paradigm shifts than I have fingers to count them on.
Let’s call it the ‘auteur’ theory, by analogy with what happened in the film industry c. 1959, first in
Enter into this creative milieu JIENAT (‘voices’ in Sami/Lapp) and its (instru)mentalist/engineer/auteur Andreas Fliflet, with their new album ‘Mira’. Ostensibly a group doing Saami joik music, this is to joik what maybe the Beatles were to rock-and-roll. Not a local himself, the Norwegian Fliflet was able to see in the far northern music something that maybe they couldn’t see themselves. So it’s interesting that, while joik itself seems to be divided into traditionalist chanting styles and a more ‘modern’ ballad style, Fliflet’s style is distinctly closer to the traditional, albeit transformed by the ultra-modern sensibilities of its African/Brazilian-influenced auteur. This means a much heavier reliance on percussion than would otherwise be the case. More importantly, for me at least, it includes a willingness to use anything and everything as components of a total sound.
The song ‘Sissel’ opens the album with visceral vocals and American Indian-like chants, accented with percussion and bells. The similarities to Native American traditional chanting may seem surprising until you consider that these two broad groups may have at one time shared some hunting grounds in the