Sámi musicians to Venice Biennale

Riddu Riđđu brings young Sámi musicians Emil Kárlsen, Lávre and Hildá Länsman to celebrate ‘The Sámi Pavilion’ at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

Emil Kárlsen, Lávre and Hildá Länsman are three exceptional musicians and some of the most exciting voices of the young generation of Sámi artists. They are all practitioners of luohti, or yoik, which is a Sámi tradition of singing and storytelling.

The three artists will be performing at aabaakwad, which is an Indigenous-led programme happening in Venice as part of the extended programme for 'The Sámi Pavilion' project at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. aabaakwad will feature performances, talks, poetry and music. Emil Kárlsen, Lávre and Hildá Länsman will perform at Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia, where Jeremy Dutcher and Kulleh Comrade are also performing.

Emil Kárlsen (23) is a coastal Sámi artist, musician, songwriter, producer and actor from Northern Norway. His sound is a modern band foundation with melodic vocals and poetic lyrics in Northern Sámi weaved in with whirling sonic universes. His debut album “Nagirvárrái”, which means “to the mountain of sleep” came out last year.

Hildá Länsman (28) is a jouigi, performer of luohti, from Ohcejohka in Northern Finland. Her musical style combines traditional and contemporary elements, showcasing a uniquely ethereal and clear voice. She is the front-figure of several critically acclaimed Sámi music groups: Solju, VILDÁ, Gájanas and a collaborative project with Tuomas Norvio.

Lávre Johan Eira (21) is from the Sámi village of Guovdageaidnu in Northern Norway. His musical expression is strongly grounded in luohti, yet at the same time universal and innovative. He creates an atmospheric soundscape which is investigated through an exciting combination of luohti, meditative guitar drones and a mysterious lyrical world.

“It is wonderful to see that Sámi art finally gains recognition from the arts world. To experience these three artists in concert will give an added dimension to Sámi culture and arts,” says festival director of Riddu Riđđu, Sandra Márjá West.

In an historic first, the Nordic Pavilion in Venice is transforming into ‘The Sámi Pavilion’, with a project commissioned by Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), with co-commissioners Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / The Finnish National Gallery in Helsinki, Finland, featuring the Sámi artists Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara and Anders Sunna during the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2022. This transformation of the Nordic Pavilion celebrates the art and sovereignty of the Indigenous Sámi people.

The performances of Hildá, Lávre and Emil Kárlsen are a part of the official programme of the Sámi Pavilion and is curated by Riddu Riđđu. Partners are OCA Norway, Music Norway and the Sámi Parliament in Norway.


Riddu Riđđu:

Riddu Riđđu is an international Indigenous festival in Gáivuotna, Northern Norway. Riddu Riđđu highlights coastal Sámi and Sámi culture, in addition to welcoming Indigenous artists from all over the world to present their art and culture. The programme is broad and includes concerts, workshops, seminars, films, book talks, art exhibitions, children's festival and youth programme. Every year the festival produces cross-border commissioned concerts and has a development programme for young Sámi artists. Riddu Riđđu is the biggest Sámi festival and Europe’s biggest Indigenous festival.

Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA):
OCA is a co-commissioner of the Pavilion of the Nordic Countries, refered to as the Nordic Pavilion, in Venice and takes the project lead of the Pavilion in 2022. OCA is a hybrid arts foundation, supporting artists based in Norway and Sápmi, founded in 2001 by the Norwegian Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs. OCA’s work focuses on two areas: curating (exhibitions, research trips, publications and discursive programmes), as well as funding and support (providing grants, research trips and residency schemes) to foster a two-way exchange with the international arts scene. Under the direction of Katya García-Antón, OCA has launched a deep engagement with the North – turning conventional thinking on its head to see this northern region and the Indigenous lands of Sápmi as a tipping point of thinking around urgent issues within the arts, such as the environment and social justice. OCA’s programme works to forge creative alliances that dismantle colonial and canonical pasts and presents, including those within its own institutional structures, to imagine new forms of thinking, being and doing for the future. https://oca.no