"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: New Music from the Old

Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Music from the Old



Sound haunting and familiar?
“The world of the hymns has been with us right from childhood,” recalls Wimme. ”I’m from the part of S√°miland where the Laestadian movement is strong: even in our homes we had meetings for worship and sang hymns. And on church festivals such as Christmas and Easter, we sang hymns continually from morning till evening, we listened to sermons and we sang. The hymns are deep inside me, just as yoiks are.“

This is an excerpts from a description of the new album Soabbi by reknowned Sami joiker Wimme Saari (who partners with Tapani Rinne). Read the whole thing and listen to the sample above.

There is much I do not miss about Laestadianism, but I do miss the singing. This is one way to reclaim it, with a most soulful voice and a bass clarinet (on high quality headphones borrowed from my son the technonerd).

Right now I'm listening to the familiar, plaintive hymn Children of the Heavenly Father (reinterpreted in the track as "Mii leat dorvvus buoremusas") and hearing it in an entirely new way, as if standing by a mountain stream with a couple of friends, reminiscing about bygone days. But this doesn't just take me back to the OALC. It takes me way, way back. I feel as if I'm joining hands with my ancestors, sharing in their grief (there is so much sorrow in these notes). I want to tell them "it gets better." And I imagine them saying the same thing to me, and smiling.

Heartfelt gratitude to Wimme and Tapani.

The album is available on Amazon for $8.99. If you decide to buy, please go through the Extoots Amazon page, as this blog gets a few cents for successful referrals.)


13 comments:

  1. This is beautiful! I'm just wondering if this sound is typical of what you remember...it's sad, mournful-sounding, almost dirge-like, but exquisite and haunting. I don't remember the hymns sounding quite like this in the LLC...and in later years, they were played with a faster beat. They were definitely not what you would call jazzy, but faster and with more life. They sometimes got to the point where they felt a bit rushed, actually. It depended on the organist. Does the OALC allow organs in the church?

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  2. The only organs allowed in the OALC churches are those within the body! :-) No musical instruments have ever been allowed in the American OALC churches to my knowledge. Now Gunnar Jonsson had an organ in his home in Sweden years ago and I understand played it well, but the Americans are ever so much more pious and strict than the Elders. Sorry, I guess I'm feeling a bit cantankerous today.

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  3. In Norway they often play the organ at OALC services if the services are in a state church Lutheran church building. At least they used to, but it may have changed. In some places they stopped doing it because some American and Finnish visitors were offended by it, but it was still common in some other places not so long time ago.

    Hibernatus

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    1. I'm not sure, but I think Wimme Saari's Laestadian background is in the ALC. That's the strongest faction in Enontekiö where he comes from. Also SRK (LLC) and the Norwegian Lyngen faction have some activity in that area, but to my knowledge there has never been any OALC presence in that part of Lapland.

      Hibernatus

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  4. Thanks for commenting. I didn't mean to imply that the Wimme Saari is from the OALC, only that his music recalled my childhood in the OALC, where hymns are sung slowly and a capella. I think this is a beautiful album. As children, my siblings and I used to "play church" and sing nonsense syllables to familiar hymn tunes. I wonder how similar we would have sounded to children in Finland and Sapmi doing the same thing.

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    1. Oh, I didn't take it as though were implying he's from the OALC. I was just wondering myself which group he'd come from. His way of singing reminds me very much of what I've heard in the OALC and in the Norwegian Lyngen group, but I suppose that kind of singing could be found also in other groups in some areas where I haven't been.

      Hibernatus

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    2. Free, my younger siblings totally do that, they sit on the stairs with their song books open to a random page, often times upside down and sing "church songs", they usually start with "O" and then turn in to jibberish...

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  5. The 10th track is the familiar hymn Bred Dina Vida Vingar, O Jesus Over Mig. Does anyone outside the OALC remember singing it? Why did we sing it in Swedish, I wonder?

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    1. The tune is familiar...it's one of my favorites. I remember my mom having it on a tape--maybe it was even on one of the reel-to-reel tapes she used to play. However, I think it was always sung in Finnish as far as I can recall. I don't remember if I heard it in church in the LLC...it's been a while and the memories get foggy. :o)

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    2. We sang it in Swedish and English (Spread Thy Wide Wings Around Me, O Jesus Over Me). I thought of it as the vinegar song. There was also the mailman song, which the doxology, in Finnish.

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    3. I think it was originally written in Swedish. That's maybe why you sang it in Swedish.

      Hibernatus

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  6. Flora says: We used to sing "Ei Lakka Kiitosaani" (very similar tune to this song) in the old Minneapolis church before the '74 split at the AALC church. I still remember the old muumus with their huivis and purses full of pink peppermints who would sing this song with great fervor. I agree with Free, the songs are the best part of having grown up Laestadian. They always repeated the last line too even though the book didn't indicate to do so, the tradition just was to repeat: "Siina ei ole saastaisuutta, Ei yhtaan ryppya." If the song is supposed to make you cry, it sure does. I have bittersweet memories of those days.

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    1. Here's a youtube link to that song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WHhgKmOqeM

      I never heard it before but it sounds very Laestadian indeed. Repeating the last line is quite unusual though, but has a powerful effect, very clever. :)

      Hibernatus

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