Traces…

The market is over, and life in Jokkmokk has started to return to normal. Here are two photos showing Storgatan, which was the center of the winter market area. It looks a bit sad, but it really isn’t. The traces of tens of thousands of visitors have already been covered in the snow that has been falling today, and even though the winter market is over for this time, there are plenty of adventures and experiences ahead. Jokkmokk has a lot more to offer than the winter market. More about that in the final post later tonight…

Björn Uglem at Ájtte museum

On Friday the 7th, Björn Uglem (who is, by now, a familiar name to readers of this blog) had two performances at Ájtte museum. The first was in the grand hall, and I was there to listen and photograph him as he showed throat-singing and Alaskan inuit dancing. He started his performance dressed in the magnicifient dress that I have mentioned earlier, and gradually took it off since it is way too warm to use indoors – especially when dancing.

The hall was full of people, so many that I had to sit on the floor as all seats were already taken. During the performance, many in the audience tried to sing along – and a few brave people even joined Björn on stage for a dance. Serious points, life wisdoms and stories were mixed with humorous jokes and surprises. It was a great show, with many good lessons and things worth keeping in mind. And spending time with Björn before, during and after the reindeer race on Thursday was nothing but a pleasure. I hope to see you back in Jokkmokk again soon, Björn!

Attached video: Björn Uglem shows throat-singing, encouraging the audience to sing along. He explains that you can practice in the subway (which makes the audience laugh) or the shower, but also says that if you practice in your bed with your partner beside you, it may be a good idea to explain what you do before you do it.

Sunday, February 9th, early morning

After almost ten hours of sleep, I am back at the computer to sort all the photos and videos from yesterday. I will continue to publish posts throughout the day, and also upload videos and photo galleries, before ending the coverage of this week with a summary tonight.

The roads in the market area has been opened up for regular traffic again, but there are still plenty of cars and trailers parked on the sidewalks. Many visitors have left Jokkmokk, but for those who are still here, this Sunday could be a good day to see the exhibitions that are still open. Ájtte museum with the art of Maj Doris Rimpi and Queering Sápmi among many other things, The Old Pharmacy with lots of handicraft and the clothes from the fashion show are still open. So is the workshop, shop and exhibition of Jokkmokks Tenn, which is a great place to find beautiful gifts and souvenirs.

(The video above shows Storgatan, yesterday afternoon.)

The last few hours

Daylight has faded away, and the last evening of the winter market is here. It will be full of entertainment events, dances, artist performances and lots of parties and festivities. Hotel Jokkmokk will serve a multi-course dinner, and after that the much-anticipated Sámi dance party will start. At Folkets Hus, singer Jan Johansen will perform with the band In Depth. I would assume that a lot of people in Jokkmokk will be away for many, many more hours tonight – as this is the final night that puts an end to this years winter market.

Personally, I am opting out of parties and other evening activities, to rather spend this Saturday night at home with my family. But I will do my best to collect stories and possibly photos from other people who will be at different events tonight, and publish it tomorrow.

Tomorrow, yes… There is really a tomorrow, despite the fact that the winter market will be over by then. It is commonly said that the winter market in Jokkmokk is what define the start and the end of the year. There is the time before the market, and the time after the market. The time after the market is usually very calm, very silent and very relaxed. The last thing I wrote in this blog last year, was that it was time to start a new year. But I will continue to publish material tomorrow, since I have a lot of photos and videos collected, and a number of more stories to tell. For example, I still need to show the video of inuit dance and throat-singing!

So, welcome back tomorrow for more posts, and for a summary of the 2014 winter market in Jokkmokk from the perspectives of a number of different people (including me)…

Webcam from Jokkmokk, currently showing the winter market

Just a reminder: There is a webcam page on this site, where you can see a realtime stream of the park in the middle of the winter market area.

webcam-jokkmokk

In about 10 minutes, I will walking by the webcam on my way to the symphony orchestra concert. Keep an eye on the camera feed (click the screenshot above to go to the webcam page), and I promise to wave to you all. If anyone manages to take a screenshot showing me waving, I promise to send a souvenir from Jokkmokk if you get in touch!

Saturday, February 8th: The last day of the winter market

Saturday, the third and final day of the main winter market, is always the day with the most visitors. The streets are crowded, sometimes so much that you need to stop and find ways to walk around the crowds. Saturday is also the day when salesmen sells the most of all days, and the day when there is a slightly better chance to successfully negotiate about the prices for the products you are interested in buying. The last few hours are, except for the mentioned bargaining, also the time for me to take a final walk through the market area and speak with people (both visitors and salesmen) about their experiences of this years market.

In an hour, I will listen to beautiful music performed by a youth symphony orchestra, hosted by talented musician and TV host Kalle Moraeus. To me, personally, it will be one of the highlights of the market. More about that later. But first: Time for a last walk through the market…

Sámi Duodji – Sámi handicraft foundation

Sámi Duodji has exhibitions of several forms of Sámi handicraft, with a focus on the traditional materials.

Inside the “folkvimmel”

Jokkmokk winter market - Friday, February 7th, 2014

Three of the streets in the market area, Friday afternoon, all full of people…

The word “folkvimmel” is Swedish, and can be translated as “crowds of people”, and it is commonly used to describe the winter market. Jokkmokk is a small town with a population of approximately 3.000 people. During the winter market, there are usually more than 30.000 people in Jokkmokk, a tenfold increase. Since the majority of people are here to see the main market area, the streets are more or less constantly full of people. Anytime you enter the main market area, you end up in the folkvimmel. And it is a big part of the experience, with a lot of random meetings between people of different backgrounds and from different parts of the world, as well as lots of things to see. The example from yesterday, with Björn Uglem walking around dressed in a huge Alaskan inuit dress, is just one of many examples. Running into old colleagues and friends from school are other examples.

For me and others who live in Jokkmokk, chances are big to meet old friends who have moved to other parts of Sweden – and in some cases to other parts of the world. The winter market has historically been all about meetings, both planned ones and random and co-incidental ones. This year, I had the pleasure of meeting a man who had come all the way from Fairbanks, Alaska, to experience the Jokkmokk winter market.

Now, the second day of the winter market is coming to an end, and once again evening activities have started. Tomorrow will be the last winter market day for this year. But there is still plenty of time for random meetings, interesting discussions and surprises. See you in the folkvimmel!

Fashion show: In the midwinter land

Today, there was a fashion show on the big snow stage in the middle of the market area. On display were clothes that were designed with personality and made from natural materials. Several of the outfits are for sale at The Old Pharmacy, and being hand made they are unique – there is only one copy of each outfit made. The park was full of people of all ages, and some eavesdropping on the people standing close to me confirmed that the interest for locally designed clothes is rather big.

Friday afternoon, halfway through…

The day has been full of activities, and almost no time for posting blog entries. It is now late afternoon, and I’m back at my office at Jokkmokks It-Center to review all the photos I have taken and the video clips that I have recorded. I will spend the next couple of hours posting entries about the shows and events I have visited earlier in the day. Once that is done, it will be time for dinner – and once again reloading and resting to get new energy for tomorrow.

The photos above were taken at the tourist information in the Destination Jokkmokk building. They have a new set of Jokkmokk merchandise, which makes for good souvenirs to bring home. They also sell the official winter market postcard, pre-stamped and ready to send right away. As always during the winter market, there were a lot of people there, and the Destination Jokkmokk crew were doing their best to help everyone out with whatever advice or recommendation they needed.

Friday, February 7th. at 12:30 – The reindeer rajd

Photo album of Per Kuhmunen and his family, keeping a tradition that has spanned over several decades alive: Walking through the Jokkmokk winter market with a reindeer raid. Probably the most popular photo motive from the winter market.

Guest post: Jokkmokks marknad; a great way to learn, experience and having fun

A few words from two visitors from The Netherlands, the low and flat country (now 10 degrees, rainy and stormy). For us the market is a great opportunity to experience live above the Arctic Circle during winter time, while having fun and learn about Sámi culture and with some luck to see Northern Lights. All good reasons to travel 2500 kilometers by plane, night train and bus.

On Wednesday Jokkmokk was already vibrant with activities such as building the market and the nice weaving-workshop from Stoorstålka. One of the highlights of our first full market day was the Reindeer race where participants and crew have as much fun as the public, great! Another highlight is the atmosphere; friendly and relaxed. Also the Sámi handicraft and colorful clothing are beautiful, positive to see that young people take pride in keeping their cultural heritage alive. Somewhat surprising, in a good sense, is that current challenges such as climate change and the risks associated with mining activities are also addressed during the market-week. One might be tempted to only highlight the ideal ‘touristic view’ of the region.

Two market days left, there is so much to see and experience it is unlikely to do it all. To name a few; we look forward to drink coffee in Länta’s Sámi hut, listen to Björn Uglem’s talk about his experiences with the Nunamiut people in Alaska, enjoy Slow Food Sápmi and see or buy handicraft in Östra skolan. And we will certainly go to the Reindeer race again, fun for all!

Tack,
Eelke and Pytrik

The Sami Education Center (part 2)

Today, February 6th, is the Sami national day, and since it usually happens during the winter market in Jokkmokk of which the Sami culture is a major part, it has been celebrated in many different ways in Jokkmokk today. While the reindeer race kept me busy for most of the afternoon, there were several events taking place which I would have wanted to see.

One such thing is the Asa Kitok Scholarship, which is awarded by Sámi Duodji to one artist working with fine Sami arts and handicraft, each year since 2005. This year it was given to Lena Sandberg Johansson for her beautiful work, which include engravings on glass. I missed the scholarship presentation ceremony today, but I will show you more about Lena’s art tomorrow.

I did, however, see the art of several previous Asa Kitok scholarship recievers today, during my visit to the Sami Education Center. For example the silver jewelry of Randi Marainen and the wood and horn art by Nils-Johan Labba. I also met Britt-Inger Blind, who works with a project that is creating a documentation for Sami food traditions, recipes and ingredients, and got material for another post that I’m hoping to finish and publish tomorrow.

Attached to this post is a photo album of exhibitors at the Sami Education Center, part 2 that follows the student exhibition that I posted earlier today.

Throat singing

Here is a teaser of one of the events that will take place in Jokkmokk tomorrow.

I have already mentioned Björn Uglem, with whom I participated in the reindeer race. Back in the early 2000’s, I was one half of an electronic dance music project which had a recording studio in Porjus, 44 kilometers north of Jokkmokk – the small town where I grew up and lived for the first 20 years of my life. After meeting Björn at a local event where we were both going to perform at the same stage, we quickly found out that we both had a very open mind for crazy projects. I invited Björn to the studio to record the throat singing that I had heard him do at the event where we met, and he suggested that we should try to mix his voice with some analogue synthesizer tracks.

In July 2004, he came to Porjus, and we recorded a number of tracks consisting mostly of experimental improvisations recorded in one take – all for the fun of it. Here is one example:

Björn Uglem will speak at Ájtte museum, tomorrow (Friday the 7th, 2014) at 14:00 and 16:00. I will be there to listen, photograph and record audio (and possibly video). If you are nearby, I recommend you to come and listen as well, as I think that it will be powerful and fascinating performances. A follow-up post will be published tomorrow night, for those of you who are following the winter market from other parts of the world.

Reindeer race at lake Talvatis

The first day of the reindeer race is over, and it was truly a great experience! Eight persons from different parts of Sweden participated. The event started with with four qualifier races, then two semi-finals where the winners of the qualifiers raced against each other – and then the final with the winners of the semi-finals.

I started in the third qualifier, racing against Björn Uglem – who arrived dressed in a traditional Eskimo outfit (including a face mask!) which created a lot of curiosity and many fascinated smiles. A lot of people wanted to take photos of him, and he put on a good show with throat singing and dancing for the audience. The race itself provided a lot more action than I had expected, with the reindeer in front of me kicking up snow and ice into my face – making it difficult to see anything. I held my head and face down, just trying to avoid falling off the sled. I could see that it was a completely even race, with Björn racing right to the left of me. I was not able to see anything when we crossed the goal line, but I was told that I won by a few decimeters so I moved on to the semi-final round.

After a quick interview, I watched the fourth qualifier – and then it was time for my next race. This time, I raced against a woman from Lidingö, who got a much better start – leaving me far behind. Once again, I didn’t see much of the race myself, because of the snow and ice hitting my face. But I managed to reach the goal line in two races without falling off, and I couldn’t be more happy about that!

My semi-final opponent lost her final against Bengt Hultberg from Vetlanda, southern Sweden, in another very even race. And after seven races, the first day of reindeer races at the Jokkmokk winter market 2014 came to an end, with Bengt Hultberg recieving a trophy made of reindeer antlers.

Thanks to the organizers for a great event, it was one of the most exciting winter market adventures in many years for me. See the slideshow above for photos from the races, and a photo of the amazing dress that Björn Uglem used. And thanks to Björn for participating with me, and for letting me borrow his beautiful jacket, hat and gloves for the race.

Now, the first day of the main market is coming to an end, and the evening activites are about to start. I will be heading home to get some rest, as tomorrow will be another long day. The plan for tomorrow is to focus on the main market area, the reindeer rajd, exciting food experiences and events at Ájtte museum (including a speech by Björn Uglem).

Time for the reindeer race!

Right now, I’m dressing up to go to lake Talvatis where I will participate in the reindeer race. If the technology allows it, I will record the race and post videos later this afternoon. I will race against traveller and public speaker Björn Uglem – who will be dressed in a truly special outfit. Photos and videos will follow in the next post – right after the race is over!

The Sami Education Center (part 1)

Samernas Utbildningscentrum (The Sami Education Center) is a folk high school in Jokkmokk with a very long tradition. It was established in 1942 and has educations for duodji (handicrafts), the Sami language, business, nature and social studies. Every year during the winter market, the students are are hosting an exhibition showing the work that they have created during their first 1,5 years at the education center. It is one of the most visited handicraft exhibitions during the market, and it is easy to understand why when you see the beautiful creations.

The education center is also a mini-market by itself, with other Sami artists (of which many are former students) who display and sell their art and handicraft. In total there are around 40 exhibitors in place.

I visited the education center this morning, and got a guided tour by headmaster Per Stefan Labba. Here is the first part of the photos I took, showing the student exhibition. A second photo gallery showing other exhibitors will be published later.