SPOTIFY: The 101 strangest records there. Per Henderak Haetta – Pieras Mikkal

An extraordinary recording of nomadic herders, which uses just a single voice and drum to redefine our concept of melody. Taken from Folkways' proudly chart-shunning Lappish Joik Songs from northern Norway, Pieras Mikkal is an extraordinary recording made by the folksong collector (and now professor emeritus of ethnomusicology at Columbia University) Dieter Christensen in the summer of 1956. As nomadic reindeer herders moving through the northern tundra of Norway, Finland and Sweden, the Sami people were already a distinctive proposition, but the music they made was even more so.

Using only a single voice and the occasional tambourine-like drum, they create an incredible sound that defies any sense of what we would understand as melody while still being utterly captivating. And succinct: the longest track on the 58-track LP is under two minutes. Your guess as to what they're on about is as good as mine (although I suspect Aslak Bals's Song for a German may be a song for a German), but its beautiful strangeness is as clear the waters of Lake Inari.

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