On Wednesday, Aug. 8, 6 p.m., the Harbor History Museum will welcome three special visitors from Norway. The lively trio of Norwegian-British storyteller Georgiana Keable, philosopher Martin Lee Mueller, and renowned Sami joiker and composer Torgeir Vassvik, will perform “Being Salmon, Being Human,” a unique storytelling performance combining traditional Norwegian tales, original music, and contemporary philosophy.
Inspired by Mueller’s award-winning book of the same name, and drawing on salmon stories from Sami and First Nations peoples of Scandinavia and North America, the performance takes us on a journey through the extraordinary lives of wild salmon — sentient beings who are born in rivers, traverse the oceans and return towards the end of their lives to their birth rivers to spawn and gift forward more life. The performance explores what becomes of this awe-inspiring creature and her journey in the face of an expansive, profit-driven feedlot industry.
“Being Salmon, Being Human” will be held at Harbor History Museum, 4121 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor. Admission is $20 for Harbor History Museum members and $25 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online on the museum’s “buy tickets” page or by calling (253) 858-6722; tickets may also be purchased at the museum front desk.
The life-cycle of the salmon has be
en celebrated in human cultures since time immemorial. How does the now-dominant story of separation affect our age-old relationship with this extraordinary creature? Who are salmon, and who are we in relation to them?
By interweaving stories old and new against a powerful backdrop of traditional song and contemporary sound art, “Being Salmon, Being Human” offers surprising and evocative insights into the ancient relationship between humans and the larger living world.
Mueller, PhD, received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oslo in 2016. Before that, he received his master’s degree in culture, environment, and sustainability at the University of Oslo’s Center for Development and the Environment. He has previously helped build teaching centers in rural Mongolia, worked as a kindergarten teacher, been an elementary school librarian, and led a wilderness school in the Norwegian forest. Recently he has also been touring as a storyteller to festivals in the U.K. and Scandinavia, with a stage performance inspired by his book, which weaves together philosophy, traditional storytelling, and Samí joik music. He lives in Oslo together with his partner and daughter.
Georgiana Keable is a pioneer for rebirth of storytelling. Storywalks in the forests and mountains of Norway reach thousands of teenagers annually. She started the Storytelling House (Fortellerhuset), founded the Norwegian Storytelling Festival, and received Oslo’s Artists Prize for outstanding contribution to the cultural life. Keable tells stories reflecting our relation with nature. She has told at festivals worldwide and recently published “Natural Storyteller — Wildlife Tales for Telling.”
Arctic soundpoet Vassvik creates a new vision of animistic joik – the vocal art of the Sami indigenous people of Northern Europe — and updates vocal and percussion rituals for the 21st century. As a Sami vocalist, musician and composer, his work connects tradition and innovation and sets trends in the global music scene. Moreover, he takes part in activities, concerts and conferences concerning the arts and rights of indigenous people worldwide. He has been described as “a magnetic and individual live performer, among the most fascinating and intense of Sami conte
mporary joikers. A true original.” (Andrew Cronshaw, “Folkroots”)
About Harbor History Museum: Harbor History Museum creates opportunities to experience the heritage of the greater Gig Harbor communities by collecting, preserving, and sharing the rich history of the area. Our vision is to be the cornerstone that provides a gathering place and a sense of identity for our community. Founded in 1964, the Gig Harbor Peninsula Historical Society, later renamed Harbor History Museum, opened its new facility in 2010. The museum campus includes an 1893 fully restored one-room school house; a 65-foot fishing vessel currently under restoration; 7,000 square feet of ex
hibition space; and a 900-square foot library, research and meeting room. The Museum provides a variety of public education programs. Our core educational program is the Pioneer School Experience (PSE), which serves more than 1,400 students every year. Led by a trained “school marm,” the children experience a pioneer school classroom complete with lessons, recitations, music, recess, and lunch. Our permanent exhibit features professionally designed exhibitions, larger-than-life experiences, and opportunities for hands-on exploration of our region’s rich history and unique heritage. Artifacts, video kiosks, hands-on exhibits, computer interactives, and a small theater bring Peninsula history to life in our permanent galleries. In addition, the Museum provides three to five special exhibits throughout the year so there is always something new to see and experience for our members and visitors.