Jienat - Mira: Sami sounds, modern
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Jienat
Mira
Artist Release (www.jienat.com)

Ah, the joy of joiking. The Sami artist Wimme Saari earned renown for his combination of shamanistic chants and evocative electronics: the human voice bumping up against chilly technology, creating a frisson out of the organic/inorganic juxtaposition. One could say that the art of joiking has an abstractness to it: the Sami people use joiks to sing the essence of a person, a place, an animal. Joiking is a deep, ancient form of communication, and as such the essence is deeply grounded: a magical form of concretely embodying the spirit of things. On Mira, listeners are treated to the Sami language, one form of which is only utilized by roughly six hundred people living on the Russian Kola peninsula.

Jienat’s album Mira heads down a different road than travelled by artists like Wimme or Mari Boine. The musician who is the force behind Jienat, Andreas Fliflet, has gone to great lengths to ensure that the recording of the musicians is as close to a live, immersive experience as possible: the CD comes packaged with a regular SACD, and a Blu-Ray, Hi-Definition version. Fliflet states in the liner notes that this is the first non-classical album to be recorded in 5.1 surround sound; the musicians were captured with multiple microphones to convey the sense of space, at very different locations, in which the music was created. The energy of each moment is thus conveyed in crystal-clear fashion.

The bulk of this album is acoustic: primarily drumming/percussion, and of course the human voice. Mira, in Spanish, means look – which I thought was the theme of the album, and in fact, there is quite a bit of Latin American influence that seems to run through the recording. The first two tracks, "Sissel" and "Andreas/Andre" both struck me as having the cross-rhythms that one would associate with Latin music. "Gille" provides really expansive percussive force, recorded in the street, from the Brazilian drum ensemble Swing do Pelo. There are also some nice touches with the inclusion of some found environmental sounds on some of the pieces here. But my expectation that Mira meant 'look' is something of a canard, since the track "Mira" is named after a female dog. For four minutes Fliflet joiks, sounding like a dog over live percussion – enough time to make me glad that I wasn not experiencing that track in virtual, mind-melting surround sound.

On the whole, Mira puts the focus squarely on pared down, wholly organic and human sounds. Jienat have created a playful release, and each tune is varied enough so that it feels a bit like experimental pop-joik: Mira may be the White Album of the genre! – Lee Blackstone

More about the artists is on the web site: www.jienat.com

CD and more audio samples available at cdRoots

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cd cover

Listen
"Gille"

 

CD available from cdRoots

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