Presents indigenous artists on Sami National Day


Marja Helena Fjellheim Mortensson, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska, The Tribe Called Red, YLVA, Ánnásuolo, Leagus og Inga-Wiktoria Påve er klare for Festspillene i Nord-Norge 2017
Marja Helena Fjellheim Mortensson, Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska, The Tribe Called Red, YLVA, Ánnásuolo, Leagus og Inga-Wiktoria Påve er klare for Festspillene i Nord-Norge 2017

As part of the celebration of the Sami National Day on February 6, the Arctic Arts Festival released several Sami projects and artists, but also a brand new concept for collaborative concerts, Verdde Sessions. The range of artists presented here reflects the broad range of modern Sami music, from jazz through contemporary music to trance and electronica.

The Verdde Sessions are inspired by an old Sami system of exchanging goods and services between the coastal population and the Sami reindeer herders. The result of the collaboration was lifelong friendships and knowledge exchange. The musical Verdde concept is based on mutual respect and trust between artists, which aims to actively stimulate new partnerships and constellations in the art world - across artistic expression and genre. The Arctic Arts Festival 2017 will present four Verdde Sessions with collaborations across the circumpolar Arctic.

- When looking for artists that push limits, we tend to find them among indigenous artists, and this makes the Verdde Sessions even more interesting. Our ambition is to enable further development for the artists, inspired by different musical experience and expression, says festival director Maria Utsi.

World famous Canadian artists meets Sápmi

The first Verdde Session is a collaboration between the Canadian band A Tribe Called Red, and the two yoikers Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Marja Helena Fjellheim Mortensson. A Tribe Called Red creates the identity of a whole generation by bridging the traditional indigenous and modern music, and this is exactly what has inspired this collaboration. Sara Marielle Gaup Beaska and Marja Helena Fjellheim Mortensson are some of our leading Sami musicians and are using yoik both in traditional and modern expressions. Together they represent the range of the yoiking tradition from the southern to the more northern parts of Sápmi. Utsi anticipate a cooperation that can inspire to exciting new expressions:

- When we introduce the world famous A Tribe Called Red with some of the leading yoikers of Sápmi, we expect a truly unique result. These are strong voices with a clear political message wrapped in contemporary music. A Tribe Called Red is well-known for their live shows, and we expect that this concert will be no exception.

A Tribe Called Red feat. Sápmi performs in Nordic Hall Thursday, June 29.


YLVA released their debut album with electronic music as the foundation in 2016. Four musicians have come together from three nations with musical backgrounds completely different from each other. They work under one rule: Never work together. Except on stage. The festival director looks forward to brand new expressions:

- YLVA represents something unique within Sami music with their combination of indigenous music and electronica, yoik and jazz trumpets. This is the kind of band we love; pioneering, energetic and experimental.

YLVA performs at Karma Friday, June 30.


LEAGUS is a musical intitiative with roots in the coastal Sami tradition, endeavouring to combine contemporary music with Sami musical traditions. The musical collaboration between pianist Herborg Rundberg and guitarist Kristian Svalestad Olstad creates music on the border of contemporary, traditional and improvisational music.

- Leagus is interesting and innovative in their contemporary Sami expression. They've received excellent reviews of their first album, and we look forward to present them at the Arctic Arts Festival, says Utsi.

Leagus performs at Sjøbua Wednesday, June 28.


Ánnásuolo presents modern Sami jazz. The band has created music to lyrics by the famous Sami poet Nils-Aslak Valkeapää. Their music consists of evocative songs with elements from jazz and electronic music.

- Ánnásuolo presents exploring, vibrant and relevant jazz, delivered with amazing vocals by Marianne Pentha. When it also is bold and goes across genres with Áillohaš immortal lyrics as the foundation, it is something to look forward to, says Utsi.

Ánnásuolo performs at Sjøbua Friday 30. juni.

RidduRiddu Young Artist of the year

The Riddu Riđđu festival and Arctic Arts Festival continues their great cooperation where a young Sami artist is presented during the festival in Harstad. In 2017, the festival audience will get to know a young visual artist, Inga-Wiktoria Påve, presenting her work in a week-long exhibition. The artist from Kiruna, Sweden has developed a painting technique where she aims to create indigenous art that emphasizes both the current political issues, and brings forward the Sami history and traditions.

Inga-Wiktoria Påve’s exhibition takes place in the city centre of Harstad the entire festival week.