Jan and Cora Gordon on "Lapland's Pagan Music", 1925

The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 18 February 1925 reports an interview with Jan and Cora Gordon under the title "Lapland's Pagan Music":

"Jan and Cora Gordon, who combine a love of wandering in the more primitive and inaccessible parts of the earth with enviable literary and artistic talent, have just returned from Lapland, which, they tell me, is infected with mosquitoes in summer, in spite of its position far above the Arctic Circle. They tramped all over the country, sleeping in turf huts in conditions of great privation and discomfort, but they are full of enthusiasm at the discovery of hundreds of pagan songs which have been collected orally by a Swedish railway official during the last forty years.

The Laplanders were ostensibly converted to Christianity in the seventeenth century, but the old pagan custom died hard, and it is in quite recent times that they have made serious efforts to extirpate the remaining traces, the efforts being specially directed, sad to say, to stamping out the old folk songs, of which they are now strangely ashamed.

A curious thing about these songs is that the intervals are different from any known in European music. Their character is mainly descriptive. In a song about mountains, for instance, two high notes repeated at intervals signify that a particular mountain has two peaks. More will probably be heard of these queer song, for the Gordons, in addition to their other accomplishments, are very capable musicians."

"Lapp Nature Themes" from the collection of Karl Tiren, 
1) Bear Theme - "the bear was one of the most important features of Lapp worship. A woman was not allowed to drive the reindeer which had dragged a slaughtered bear."
2) Wolf Theme. "This melody is the one most used as blasphemy nowadays."
3) Lake Rautasjaure Theme. "The shake notes represent the little wavelets blown across the water."


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