The media player contains 2 files:
“The bird symphony we are about to hear is a composition consisting of nature’s own sounds. From the first snowflake that melts in March until the final song of the whooper swan in the autumn before it makes its way back south. It follows the reindeer herding Sami’s sonic world, from the spring in the mountains down to the summers by the sea, and back up again to the mountains in the autumn. It is a journey undertaken with the sun, in the world of birds, from March to October. All recorded by Áilu and completed in his house by the waterfall, with the wind, snow, and reindeer outside the door.” (Gunilla Bresky)
Nils-Aslak Valkepää, also known as Áillohaš, composed Goase dušše on commission from the Music Drama Group/Swedish Broadcasting Corporation. It premiered on Swedish radio on the 22nd of October 1992, and the following year it won the prestigious Prix Italy radio award for “the imagination, poetry and technical excellence of the program”. Goase dušše – the bird symphony is a rich soundscape composition ahead of its time, moving through sonic landscapes of his Sápmi. At one point Áillohaš “juoiggas” (yoiking) can be heard subtly within a soundscape of a reindeer herd.
Áillohaš spent years gathering field recordings, as early as from the 70 ́s onwards. First with a Nagra analog tape recorder and later with a DAT recorder. Goase dušše was mixed in Áillohaš’s little cottage in Beattet (Pättikkä), Northern Sápmi, together with the Swedish sound engineer Mikal Brodin. The radio commission was produced by Gunilla Gustafsson (later Bresky) and Sven Åke Landström for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation, Luleå/Julevu. A few years later Goase dušše was released as a CD album on DAT Records.
Goase dušše is listening to the circular soundscapes that Áillohaš and his ancestors were born into, lived their lives surrounded by, and were an integral part of. Soundscapes that gave vital information of the coming and going of seasons. Falling asleep listening to the dawn chorus of a spring-summer night in June and hearing the world through the thin walls of a lávvu or a goahti, will never be the same as sleeping within an insulated house. In ancient Sámi architecture you are listening within; being part of the whole.
Goase dušše can also be felt as a sonic love letter to his winged friends; the ptarmigan, the willow ptarmigan, the European golden plover, the Eurasian dotterel, the wren, the grey-headed chickadees, the bluethroat, the rough-legged buzzard, the whimbrel, the common snipe, the great snipe, the black-throated loon, the long-tailed duck, the black grouse, the common gull, the European herring gull, the black-backed gull, the kittiwake, the gannet, the razorbill, the Eurasian eagle-owl, the arctic terns and their soundings. Áillohaš, who named himself ‘lottiid mánná’, the bird child, often wondered why he was not born with wings himself.
Aillohaš was painstakingly aware of, and mourning the existential threat of the increasing loss of biodiversity on earth when he composed Goase dušše in 1992:
“Regarding this program… I am so often there that I almost know, hour by hour, the ongoings in nature. I know when certain birds are singing. I know where to find them. And I can take this technique with me… Sadly, this is no longer right. You know, the last five years… the world is changing… It was completely different only four years ago… Today you do not know where to find the birds. For example, 20th March or 20th October, what you will find…? The world has changed so severely, and I almost think… there is no way back… I am not sure if nature still exists. I mean, the birds are dying, they will become extinct, I mean nature will die… Very, very ready to die too, yes, because I do not want to live in a nature that is not a nature…. I have done something like a final grouping. If you listen, you will help. Not me, but nature.”
With Goase dušše, Áillohaš wanted to give us the joy of listening to a symphony of the natural world, but at the same time, he is sending us a severe warning. 30 years later, we know that our Earth has entered its sixth extinction event with more than 1.5-degree warming. What the future will sound like is more uncertain than ever.
NILS ASLAK VALKEAPÄÄ (1943 – 2001)
The multidisciplinary artist/dajddar Nils Aslak Valkeapää aka Áillohaš is a Northern Sámi cultural icon, nation builder, innovator of luohti (Sami joik), a visual art, as well as a Nordic pioneer in poetry, artist books, music publishing (DAT) and sound art and soundscape composition. His work is still of great relevance today, both within the field of art and as an early advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples around the world.
Nils-Aslak Valkeapää / Áillohaš was born in 1943. Throughout Áillohaš’ works one can always find a deep ecological or shall we call it a Sámi methodology: the utmost respect for nature and all its beings. Áillohaš was born into a reindeer-herding family. His mother Ellen Susanna was from Ulisuolu (Uløya) in Northern Romssa/Troms county (Sápmi / Norway) whilst his father Johannes came from the Gárasavvon/Karesuando, Northern Sápmi (Finland) As Áillohaš did not have it in him to kill animals, he became a teacher in order to connect with literature, visual art and music. After graduating in 1966 Áillohaš dedicated himself to forefront Sámi traditions and rights. He was central in the establishment of publishers, unions, and an indigenous festival (The forerunner to Riddu Riddu) with the aim to strengthen Sami culture as he fought for the rights of indigenous people on a global scale. In addition, he left behind a remarkable artistic legacy of his interdisciplinary artistry. Nils-Aslak Valkeapää aka Áillohaš passed in 2001 and his work is still of the greatest importance, inspiration and relevance.
An in-depth biography can be found on the Lásságámmi foundation website.