Sofia Jannok

Sofia Jannok

BandFolkWorld

Sofia Jannok is a young Sami singer from Gällivare. She has been on stage since she was eleven and is now on the verge of an international break through with her mix of her own Sami songs, pop and jazz that she performs together with Peter Tikkanen trio.

Biography

SOFIA JANNOK

Passion is one of Sofia Jannok’s favourite words. It’s something to do with the burning, the feverishness but also with the intimate, with the here-and-now and with the contrasts that appeals to her. It therefore comes as no surprise that passion and contrast are two defining keywords for Sofia Jannok’s music. The warmth and presence in her clear, powerful voice; and the contrast between her Sami background and the creativity and cosmopolitanism of her music.

“Because I was brought up in two cultures, my music is shaped by both,” she says. “I’m influenced by my whole life, although the Sami side is the stronger.”

The songs are in Sami. Sofia doesn’t like pigeonholes. She draws her inspiration from people, connections, heaven, earth and the wide-open spaces of the north as much as from the pulse and colours of the city. The product of all this is something vital and new. She sings of love, of her heritage and of moments captured in nature.

Sofia is 26 years old and hails from Gällivare. She’s sung since she was eleven, and started singing with a friend – they recorded a CD single and film music in Canada together – and is now one of the most exciting young performers in Sweden. She cut the critically acclaimed White/Čeaskat disk with a Sami record label a couple of years ago and has won the Sami Grand Prix in Kautokeino, the Sami’s own song contest. She’s also done some acting on different occasions. Sofia already has tours of China, the USA and Europe under her belt, and has been awarded prestigious scholarships: the 2006 Gevalia Prize, the 2007 Prince Eugene Culture Scholarship and the 2008 SKAP Scholarship.

In January her album Áššogáttis/By the Embers was released. The CD carries songs from the embers she creates with her band, that she hit it off with at their first rehearsal. “Her gorgeous vocal timbre and powers of expression are the same,” wrote NSD after a concert, “but the arrangement feels more developed and the back-up she gets from pianist Peter Tikkanen, bassist Tobias Helén and percussionist Johan Englund has definitely added yet another dimension to her music and a swing that wasn’t so apparent on other occasions when I’ve heard her perform.” They have now toured extensively with Sofia Jannok. The album and Sofia herself are the source of great curiosity in Sweden and abroad.

Sofia Jannok has been world-famous for years – in Sápmi (Lappland), I should perhaps add. In the Sami world, Sofia is a well-established name; now, though, it’s time for Sweden and the rest of the world to let themselves be seduced by the crystal clarity of Sofia’s voice and the uniqueness of her music. All her songs are in North Sami, but she doesn’t see that as a communication problem. “When you sing from the heart, your listeners understand anyway,” she says. “It’s just as natural for me to write in Sami as it is for a Swedish artist to write in Swedish.” Although she cares for her culture, she doesn’t write music in order to preserve some tradition. Sofia makes the music that’s hers, that’s her mode of self-expression, and that’s closest to her heart.

Sofia is something of a jack of all trades, and apart from her singing has worked as an actress and a TV host. Sofia is happy with the Sami part of her life, but also enjoys being a modern urbanite. And this can be heard in the 11 tracks on Áššogáttis/By the Embers, which take us on a journey between pure mountainous expanses and smoky jazz joints. All in a musically sumptuous production by Henrik Edenhed, who’s also worked with such names as Oh Laura, Teddybears Sthlm, Robyn and Laleh. Sofia wrote most of the tracks on the album, but doesn’t shy away from borrowing songs that have meant something to her and interpreting them in her own way. One such is a lullaby that her mother used to sing, and that has been with her since her childhood. Most of the songs have been recorded live in the studio in order to capture the intimacy of her music and the magic of the moment, as Sofia puts it.

So that’s passion, the here-and-now and intimacy…

Discography

“White/Čeaskat” 2007 (DAT, Norway)

“Áššogáttis/By the Embers” 2009 (Caprice Records, Sweden)

Set List

Songs from the album, “Áššogáttis/By the Embers”

Set length approx. 40-45 min.