Recording Orality: Vocalization as Ephemerality, Materialization and Meaning

  • Anna Nacher Institute of Audiovisual Arts, Jagiellonian University


In my paper, I aim at exploring specific materializations of ephemerality and meaning through the recording of vocal expression. A case study is supplied by joik and joiking, a traditional form of singing by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia and Kola Peninsula. Believed to be one of the oldest music traditions of Europe, joik is not so much a way of “singing about” as it is rather the form of embodying a landscape, a person or an animal through vocally evoking their most specific characteristics thus binding the performer and his/her environment (both in terms of that which particular song is referring to and the immediate situation of the performance where the joiker relies on the ability of the audience to decipher the meaning). A focus on the particular joik, Renhjorden på Oulavuolie (Reindeers from Oulavuolie) by Nils Mattias Andersson shows the specificity of recorded vocalization as the practice of ambivalent materialization of meaning — elusive yet tangible enough to let the audience grasp the sense of place.


sound studies, genealogies of e-literature, new materialism, ephemerality, yoik

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How to Cite
NACHER, Anna. Recording Orality: Vocalization as Ephemerality, Materialization and Meaning. MATLIT: Materialities of Literature, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 75-85, aug. 2018. ISSN 2182-8830. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 sep. 2019.
Secção Temática | Thematic Section