Frode Fjellheim and Ulla Pirttijarvi
Frode Fjellheim is proficient in a wide variety of musical styles. A classically trained Norwegian Sami yoiker and musician (piano and synthesizer) he is known for his unique vocal style inspired by the yoik tradition and influenced by jazz and pop music. His Sami roots stem from Røros where his family still work as traditional reindeer herders. He grew up in the North Sami heartland in Karasjok.
In the early 1990s, while working for a theatre company in Trondheim where he still resides, he discovered the archival collection of Karl Tiren and produced an electronic remake of the yoik melodies Tiren had collected in 1910 (Sangen I Glemte). This experience inspired him to delve more deeply into the yoik tradition but to combine his unique training in highly original arrangements. Since 1997, he has also composed film scores for NRK (Norwegian national radio) and for children's films. During the 1990s, he headed the band Jazz Joik Ensemble, which subsequently became Transjoik, producing a number of CDs. Since the turn of the 21st century, Fjellheim has undertaken a number of large-scale classical cross-over projects, among them the yoik opera Skuvle Nejla (2006) and the Arctic Mass (Aejlies Gaaltije - the Sacred Source, 2004) for which he was awarded the Spellemannprisen. He was hired by the Norwegian government to create a yoik-based music curriculum that is now in use in Scandinavian schools. He has served as composer, arranger and producer on over 30 CDs and heads his own music company called Vuelie, which publishes books, sheet music and CDs by a number of artists, among them Ulla Pirttijarvi. In 2010 he accepted a teaching position at the Høgskolen i Nord-Trøndelag. He is a recipient (2002) of the prestigious Aiollas award, given to a distinguished Sami culture bearer and educator at the annual Sami Easter Festival in Kautokeino. With Ulla Pirttijarvi he has toured internationally; their most recent performance in Canada was in 2008.
Ulla is regarded as one of the finest traditional artists from Sápmi (”Samiland”). She lives in a reindeer herding family in Utsjoki, Finland. Her career began as a member of the Finnish group Angelit (formerly Angelin Tytot), a trio of young Sami women who put Sami popular music (including yoik arrangements) on the national charts. After their first two albums, she left the group to become a solo artist, signing with Time Warner Finland to produce her debut CD in 1998. Subsequently she has worked with Fjellheim to produce two more, including Áibbašeabmi (longing). A beautiful combination of her yoik-inspired songs, presented in an exciting musical surrounding influenced by pop, jazz and world music. She has played an important role as an educational consultant, teaching traditional yoik in the schools of northern Finland. She too is a recipient of the Aiollas award in 2007.