Jiennagoahti – a part of Sámi history in Bergen/Birgon

Programming Feb-April 2024

Jiennagoahti was produced by Tuula Sharma Vassvik, and son also composed the musical material. (Son is the only north-Sámi pronoun, and it encompasses all genders.)


Tuula Sharma Vassvik in conversation with Sážžá Káhtariinná, also featuring the soundwork “Yoiking the Jekt Home” composed by Emil Ráste Nikolavu Kárlsen, commissioned by Jiennagoahti in 2023.

*The Jekt is a type of sailing ship, which was used to transport goods along the coast of Sápmi/ Norway until the early 20th century.


Tuula Sharma Vassvik, Sámi writer, researcher, singer and sound artist in conversation with
Sážžá Káhtariinná who is a Birgon/Bergen-based artist, duojár and chair of Birgon/Bergen Sámi Association and one of Jiennagoahti’s curators (alongside Elin Már Øyen Vister). Sážžá Katarina introduces the idea behind Jiennagoahti and explains how a traditional goahti’s architecture and inner layout is connected to Sámi worldviews, philosophy, spiritual meanings, and functions. She shares her own experience of being a Sámi in Birgon/Bergen, and addresses moments of Sámi history in and around Birgon/Bergen. Storytelling is a crucial part of Jiennagoahti. Jietna means sound or voices, but what does it mean to gullat, listen?


The episode includes the sound work “Yoiking the Jekt home”, composed by sea Sámi artist and actor Emil Ráste Nikolavu Kárlsen; Čavkkus-Emil. An old myth from the Julevsámi lands, tells the story of a wife who yoiked her husband’s Jekt home from Birgon/Bergen, as he got caught in a bad storm and the mast of his ship broke. The wife became weary of his delayed return and decided to walk up to the top of a mountain in Gásluokta/Kjøpsvik. She had the powers of a noaidi (a Sámi shaman) and began to spin her spinning wheel and yoik, to bring her husband safely home. The story was written down by the ethnographer Just Qvigstad in the 1920s from informant Risten Jonsdatter (born 1894 i Divttasvuodna/Tysfjord). When Čavkkus-Emil composed the music, he tried to embody the feeling of standing on the top of the mountain, yoiking outwards. He then moved his attention to the husband, who must have sailed so fast that the seawater splashed red, green and yellow around the boat. The words joiked and sung highlights the joy, fear, and gratitude for his wife’s powers to help him safely home:


«Vuolggan dál jo ruoktot, de viimat, de giitan dal jo mu eamida og dat juoigga mu dál, in šat balla»

«Thus I fare home, finally, so I thank my wife for joiking me, I am no longer afraid»




Tuula Sharma Vassvik (b. 1992) is a Sámi writer, researcher, singer, and sound artist. Son is deeply engaged with Indigenous and marginalized people’s resistance to colonialism, racism, capitalism, patriarchy and heteronormativity. Tuula is concerned with the political battles in Sápmi fought with power that comes from cultural practices and connections to Eanan, the earth, each other, and our ancestors. Tuula Sharma Vassvik is the creator, producer and composer behind «Vuostildanfearánat – Sámi stories of resistance», a podcast about indigenizing – sámaidahttin – grounding and growing in Sámi ways of living. We talk about ways of keeping ourselves healthy and strong, imagining futures, protecting our lands, communities, and culture amid new forms of colonial state incursion and infrastructures. Vuostildanfearánat is made in collaboration with the Arctic Silk Road research project.


Katarina Dorothea Isaksen – Sážžá Káhtariinná is a 28 year old Sámi artist from Sážžá / Senja based in Birgon/ Bergen. In addition to her artistic and duodji practice she chairs Bergen Sáamid searvi/ Bergen Sámi association. Her task is to work with the local municipality as well as NSR, to ensure that Sámi rights (such as that of having Sámi language education in school for local Sámi children and youth) and to make sure there is a thriving Sámi cultural life in Bergen/Birgon. As an artist, Sážžá Káhtariinná works with film, music and literature with her own background as a starting point. She recently begun writing about duodji (Sámi cultural handicrafts) and art/ dajdda, and so far she has published two art critiques for Magasinet Kunsthåndverk. Isaksen is passionate about multicultural ways of living, Indigenous health, and for the protection of the earth, nature, and animals.
Web: www.katarinaisaksen.art


Emil Ráste Nikolavu Karlsen, Čavkkus-Emil, is a Sámi artist, actor, and composer from Omasvuona (Storfjord) municipality in Northern Troms. Čavkkus- Emil wishes to explore his Sámi roots in Omasvuona (Storfjord), Gáivuotna (Kåfjord), Eanodat (Enontekis) and Kaaresuanto (Karesuando) through music and yoik. His wish is to revive yoik as a marker of identity for the coastal Sámi population. Emil is also known as the singer and songwriter in the band Resirkulert since 2013. In 2021 he released his debut solo album Nagirvárrái (To the sleep-mountain) in Northern Sámi featuring guests such as Lávre and others.

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