domenica 1 maggio 2016

Elin Kåven Interview

Hello RQL friends ! Today we have an interview with a very special artist quite dear to me : Elin Kåven or the arctic fairy . I'm especially excited for this interview for so many reasons. Before moving to Finland for good, as a family we made a wonderful trip visiting the 'great north', all the way up to the arctic circle and than more north until we arrived in North Cape in Norway. That was the first time I got to know the Sami people and culture and for me it has been love at first sight. I felt like I've been stolen something as a human being for not been told or taught anything about this ancient and rich culture and wonderful people in Europe. How is that possible. So since then I tried to learn more and more about Sami, and let me tell you it's not an easy task in english language. But long story short, during my 5 years long quest for learning more I bumped into Elin music and finally now, with this web-site of ours, time were ripe to connect with her for an interview. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did, since she is truly a fairy.



- Hello Elin, would you like to introduce yourself to our listeners\readers ?

Hello! I am Gárdin- Inggá Brita Elin. That is my sami name. The sami name is the name of one of your grandparents (Gárdin-Ingá), one of your parents (Brita is my mother) and your given name (Elin). Elin Kåven is my Norwegian name. I am from Karasjok in the north of Norway, I lived a away for about 16, years, but a few years ago I moved back to nothern Norway. I live in Alta now.

 - You belong to the Sami people, how was to grow up as a Sami ?

We hade a very close and dear relationship to nature. We always gather berries, fish, hunt and get our own wood for burning from the forrest. Every summer I would spend with my grandmother in the moutain house where we would fish and gather berries. The life cycle is very much tied to the seasons, and we follow the natures rythm in a different way then living in the city. The sami way of raising a child is to make the child as independent as possible. I feel like I learned by experiencing, we used knives at early age, and we played alot out in nature.

 - When did you start singing\composing ?

I started singing when I was a child. At the age of 4 I had already told my aunt I was going to sing on stage like my father did. He sang in a swing-band at the time. During my childhood I did alot of TV and radio for sami children. Sami children's programs are made by and for sami children. It was alot of fun! And it´s fun to listen to it now. I think I wrote my first ever song when I was about twelve. That song was about how the world would be if we all lived in the same building and we all spoke the same language and knew each other. How big the building would be... hehe.

- Do you play any instrument ?

I used to play alot of guitar when I first started writing my songs for performing. And the first year as a solo artist I did play guitar on stage, but when I got a professional guitar player, I started dancing instead of playing guitar on stage. I still play the guitar sometimes, but never on stage... 

- How does your Sami heritage has influenced your music ?

My sami heritage has become more and more important for my music. When I started writing and performing music it was mostly to express my own feelings, and for therapy, self-expression reasons. I wrote in English until I started to write in Sami - because I didnt want to loose my language. But I still continued writing in English as well. But since I started recording music I have only written in Sami. It´s is very rare for me to write in English now. But because I sing in Sami language my audience and everyone I meet tend to want to talk about my sami Heritage, so in that way this is something that I have very often had in my mind. It made me realise how unique we are and how important it is that we preserve our culture. It has also inspired me to learn more about my own culture, and the last years I have finally started joiking on my concerts. Joiking has been illeagal, so I did not learn to joik as a child, but now as an adult I understand that I can do it, and it has connected me with earth and nature in a new way. My music has brought me closer to my sami heritage and it has shown me the way to preserve our culture in my own way.

- Do you write either the lyrics and music or do you work with someone else ?

I write all the lyrics myself. But for my last album I worked with a known sami writer Inga Ravna Eira. She is a poet and also an expert in Sami languge. The sami laguage is unfortuately very coloured by Norwegian and English ways of saying things, so this time I wanted to make sure that my lyrics where written in as good Sami as possible. I wrote the lyrics, and she helped me adjust the sentences to make sure I use the correct sami casus or the way to build sentences.

- Would you like to say something about your creative process? What inspires you ?

I have always found the most inspiration in nature. I don´t know how to expalin it properly, but when I am in nature I feel like the whole world is supportive of my creative prossess. The trees and the tundra where my first audience, and they always felt like an supportive audince. And not only supportive but also encouraging. Like they where sayin: "Sing, Elin! Why don´t you sing? We want to hear you!". When I spend time in nature the songs and lyrics seem to come into my mind nonstop. They way I write songs is usually that I record a melody with or without lyrics on my phone or recording device, and later I willl adapt the lyrics and melody to each other. Not before this is done my producer and I will use any instrument to the song.

- Which kind of message can be found in your songs ?
I think most of my songs are personal songs of my own experiences and life, and my last album is also very private. I sing about my niece, grandmother, cat and ex-boyfriend. The lyrics are my experiences in life. My other topic is sami mythology. If I don´t write personal lyrics, I would write about sami mythologi like "ulda" underworld creature from nordic mythology, and I feel more and more like this is a topic I want to continue writing about.

- You're also a dancer. How important is dance for you (either in life and during your shows ) ?
My dancing is actually more important then many would think. I started my music carreer at the same time as I started teaching dance, and both of the careers grew simultaneously, and I became very successful in both. So successful I was no longer able to do both, because I had 2 different full-time careers to take care of. There was just not time. It was as a dancer I got my nickname "The Arctic faery" - because when I danced people would notice that I came form the north through my expression. They would say that I looked like a wild arctic faery that had been under the tundra for a 100 years, and now emerged dancing. After I realised that I could not be doing both as much as I wanted to, tried to combine dancing and music in a way that I would dance more and more at my concerts - and this is something I have loved to do, so I see more of this in the future as well.

- Would you like to tell us something about your last album ?
My last album is as I said more private then my other albums. This time I feel like I have actually returned to my roots. I have recorded joiking for the first time, and I have approached music in a more sami way. It is normal to joik things that are close to you, and things that you love, and that is also the reason why this album has become to private. The songs are written after I moved back to Sapmi after 16 years living in cities, and when i moved back I also felt like I connected with nature and the Sami culture, so for me this album is the album that is closest to my sami roots.

 - If you could make a wish, what it would be ?
To make a wish about anything? I think we all wish for happiness, don´t we? That is kind of what we all seek deep down. I think we are on earth to learn how to be happy and what happiness is. I wish that all people would know how to find happiness. I think that would make a huge difference in the world. People often look for happiness in wrong places. The world we live in is very much focused on material things, when the only thing that can actually make us humans happy is when we look inwards, and act on that - not the other way around. We often seem to think that someting outside of ourselves can make us happy... Unfortunaly this is something commercialism has taught us. That happiness is someting we can buy....

- Where is it possible to follow you ( social media, web-sites ) and where is it possible to buy your albums ? 
                                             
  I mostly on instagram @elinkaaven and on facebook facebook.com/arcticfairy 
But I also use snapchat a lot. @elinkaaven. and a youtube channel.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0na3SFhSUELcr5tyuCVRA             
My web page is www.elinkaaven.com and I also have a bancamp page for listening and buying my music. https://elinkaaven.bandcamp.com/ .       
 And of course ITunes, Amazon, Spotify, tidal and other digital platforms for music. Its also possible to buy my music on the German record label www.nordic-notes.de

- Do you want to say something to our listeners\ readers ?
Music brings you to magical places. I have been working fulltime artist and dancer for 10 years now. I feel very blessed to have so many great fans who always support me, they are truly beautiful people. I am happy to be inspiration to you, but at the same time you have also inspired me in so many ways. I truly look up to you! I am happy to have you in my life, and thank you for being so great people! I wish you all happiness and everything good!



Thank you so much Elin for this fantastic interview and for you wonderful music,
We really look forward to see you live one day !

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