Vicar defends ban on joiking in Church

The Local Norway
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Vicar defends ban on joiking in Church
Kautokeino Church. Photo: Visit Norway

A church in Northern Norway has defended its ban on 'joiking', the traditional singing of the Sami ethnic minority, arguing that it is a relic of the "old religion" and inappropriate for a Christian place of worship.


"Joiking has a tradition of being used in another context,"  said Bjarne Gustad, pastor at the church in Kautokeino in Norway's Sami heartland. "Maybe it was also used in the old religion. It isn't used as a Christian tradition." 
A member of the church council, Nils Henriksen, this month proposed to extend the ban on joiks to include all forms of concert, dance, theatre and film, after the trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen shocked many in the congregation by breaking into a joik in the middle of a performance last October. 
Siv Ellen Kraft, at the University of Tromsø wrote last year that for many Sami, particularly those who follow the extreme Laestadian form of Lutheranism, joiking was completely taboo. 
"From a Laestadian perspective, it's the act of the devil himself," she wrote in a post on 
Gustad, however, said it was simply inappropriate. 
"Joiking is used to describe persons, and places, and how they are," he said. "Joiks have a bit of humour and are sometimes sarcastic, so it doesn't seem appropriate to use it in this way."  


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