Aejlies, which means ‘Holy’, was originally composed as part of a commissioned work for the Sámi church festival in Norway in 2013. The theme for the festival was “Holy Ground! Holy World”, referring to the understanding among our Sámi ancestors, as well as other indigenous groups, that the land we are living on - Mother Earth - is Holy and should be treated with respect and honour. The theme is also inspired by the biblical words “Take your sandals off your fee, for the place where you are standing is holy ground!” (Exodus 3,5), which resonates with how indigenous traditions relate to nature.
Only one word is sung in this work, which takes inspiration from the Sámi yoik tradition where one often only uses very few words in combination with so called yoik syllables. These syllables have no linguistic meaning, but are an important part of this ancient vocal tradition, allowing the human voice to describe something without the limitations words and language sometimes have.