Photo by Liisa Takala
My name is Mikkal Morottaja, I’m also known as Amoc and Aanaar master of the ceremony and I’m 21 years old.
I’ve lived in Inari, Finland, my whole life, except for when I went to senior secondary school and military service in Ivalo, a close by village. My mother tongue is Inari Saami as well as Finnish. There are really few Inari Saami people, no more than like 350 in the world, and most of them are over 50 years old. The reason I speak Inari Saami is because my father always spoke it with me, and I speak it at work.
I work as a language teacher at secondary school. I teach nothing but Inari Saami for a couple of hours a week, and I’m only doing it this year. Teachers who speak Inari Saami are so few so I came on as teacher because without me there weren’t going to be any Inari Saami teaching at all. I was a teacher at an elementary school for one year too, before my military service in 2003 and 2004. Back then I used to teach all subjects in Saami.
I’ve been writing rhymes for about seven or eight years but really I didn’t start rapping in Inari Saami until I went to senior secondary school at the beginning of the millennium. So for about six years.
My father has been very supportive. When I’m writing I often ask him for words that I don’t know or remember, or if there are some words that doesn’t exist Saami. Like urban words. My students know I rap too, but I’m not quite sure what their opinions are. But the elementary school students did like it. It’s too bad that my music isn’t really for children…
When I write my rhymes my subjects are a lot like fictional stories. Very often quite violating and aggressive. I also talk about my life and I do so-called punch line rap. I like Eminem, Jedi Mind Tricks, Tech N9ne and, surprisingly, Rammstein.
I’m releasing my debut album this spring. I don’t really have a deadline, but I’ve recorded almost every song of the album already.
Sometimes I am a little afraid of Inari Saami disappearing. But a lot of people are doing lot of work to keep it in existence. And I think that music never dies, so if I’m making my album, then Inari Saami as a language actually never dies. So I’m hoping that in that way I’m also doing my own work for the language and the culture.