Juri Vella (1948–2013) was a Forest Nenets who lived in the land of rivers in western Siberia and was one of the most illustrious writers among the minority peoples of Russia. Vella wrote about the history of the northern indigenous peoples and their everyday life today, observantly and with sympathetic humour. In addition to describing traditional ways of life, his writings showcase the problems that the constantly expanding oil and natural gas industry has caused to indigenous people.
Ruska Ensemble create a production where the lovely poetry of Juri Vella is performed with the aid of accordion, violin, vocals and compelling speech. Cry, O my heart! is a tribute to a great poet and activist who belonged to a people distantly related to Finns. It is a celebration of his legacy but also an appeal in favour of the Arctic indigenous peoples. The production was premiered in the main auditorium of the Kokkola Municipal Theatre on 9 September 2020.
Juri Vella, author
Jarkko Lahti, director and text selections
Tuomas Rounakari and Antti Paalanen, musici
On stage: Jarkko Lahti, Antti Paalanen, Tuomas Rounakari
Niillas Holmberg, translations into North Sámi
Karina Lukin, translations into Finnish
Veli-Matti Ersta and Marko Ahokangas, lighting and sound design for the premiere
Ruska Ensemble is a freelance theatre company based in Kokkola, focusing on ecological theatre and international collaboration with indigenous peoples. Its artistic directors are Jarkko Lahti and Ari-Pekka Lahti.
Further information: Jenni Latva