Posts Tagged ‘Wardruna’

After being involved with Heilung for two years, and more recently with the worldwide-acclaimed movie The Northman as songwriter and actor, Jonas Lorentzen decided to focus on his own musical expression, based on a reimagination of Nordic Folk and spiritually driven music. The result is Nebala, spearheaded by Jonas Lorentzen, but assisted and graced by powerful talents such as Sebastian Gainsbourough (Vessel, The Northman, Manchester Collective), Kjell Braaten (Wardruna, Origami Galaktika) as well as non-musician minds assisting in the conceptual development, Doctor Mathias Nordvig (Professor of Pre-Christian Religion at CU Boulder) and Philosopher Naina Gupta (University of Kingston).

Nebala unveils today the new single ‘Ant Mér Sjalfri Þér’, a song about unfulfilled love, desire and longing consuming us. It refers to the myth in which Wōdan sought the Billingas magwia, the Maiden of the Fleeting Moment. In this myth, love and desire are ripped away from the ones who have let themselves be consumed. The artist also releases a new video, a short film in which the songs ‘Ant Mér Sjalfri Þér’ and ‘Laþu’ merge to create ‘The Eternal Child’.

Jonas Lorentzen comments: "This is the entire art film as we originally intended. A story about a man trying to come to grips with his own demons and desires. Inspired by mythology and Jungian archetypes."

Watch the video here:

Using traditional frame drums, lyre, tagelharpa, Tibetan singing bowls, and throat singing, Jonas Lorentzen has developed a unique Indo-Nordic sound for Nebala that toys with timescapes, soundscapes, and cultural boundaries to bring you back to the primordial experience of music itself.

He comments on the album: “When you let yourself be taken by desire and lust, you will be consumed by what the ancient Germanic peoples called Laþu. The ancestor of our modern word “to let,” laþu suggests giving into natural desire and emotion. When Wōdan sought the deepest knowledge of the cosmos he had to brave the dangers of the deep caves in Hnitbjörg and let himself be taken by the desire of Gunlaþu, the forceful goddess of the underworld.”

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Wardruna are releasing an official music video for the streamed live performance of ‘Fehu’. Einar Selvik says, “Fehu is a song inspired by ancient runic poetry. The word itself refers to cattle/livestock and wealth and the song discusses the duality of wealthiness. "Fehu" was originally released on the album Runaljod – Yggdrasil in 2013. It has been a permanent song in our live-set ever since the release and thus, it feels great to finally release a live version of the song.”

The release date of Kvitravn: First Flight of the White Raven has been moved to 10th June. A statement from Einar is as follows; "Due to a very unfortunate production issue, we are forced to move the release date of First Flight Of The White Raven in all of its formats to June 10th. On a more positive note and due to popular demand, we will make the DVD available as a standalone item and offer the concert as VOD (Video-On-Demand) through our World and US online-shops." He continues, "the DVD presale starts April 22nd along with a new digital single and video from the upcoming release. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and we are grateful for your understanding."

Watch ‘Fehu’ here:

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Photo Credit: M12 Kultur

Wardruna release an official music video for their song ‘Skugge’ (meaning Shadow). The song is an eerie sonic journey, voicing a dialogue between man and shadow or as Einar Selvik puts it; “it is a song about shadows, echoes and the balance between seeking answers and wisdom internally and externally”. The video was filmed and produced in Norway by Ragnarok Film in January 2022.

To shorten the wait for their upcoming release Kvitravn – First Flight of the White Raven (out on April 22nd 2022), the live version of the song is also released on all digital platforms via Music For Nations/Sony Music/Columbia Germany/ByNorse. Watch the video here:

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In 2022, a year after the release of Kvitravn and as a prelude to the forthcoming and much anticipated live dates, Wardruna are presenting Kvitravn – First Flight of the White Raven.

An immersive audio arrangement that underscores the experiential paradigm shift and masterful musicianship of their superlative and boundary-pushing virtual live experience First Flight of the White Raven of March 26th 2021. This new release captures their special set list consisting of songs from Kvitravn and a selection of favourites from the discography, and will be released on a 2LP, as well as 2CD that also features the original studio album track listing. To mark the event’s exceptional impact, it will also be available as a limited Boxset Edition including 2LP (black), 2CD, DVD with livestream performance and bonus documentary material and three videos (only available in the boxed set), flag of the CD album cover, certificate of authenticity for the box and an exclusive autographed card signed by Einar Selvik.

As a taster, they’ve shared the performance of ‘Solringen’ from the release.

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Wardruna’s UK tour commences in March. About the tour Einar comments “It has been more than two years since we last gave a performance in front of an audience. Needless to say, this long and unwanted hibernation has made us very excited to finally be able to realistically plan our return to the stage.”

Full list of dates in the UK and Ireland below:

Thursday 17th March: Southbank Centre, London

Friday 18th March: Albert Hall, Manchester

Sunday 20th March: Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Monday 21st March: Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Tuesday 22nd March: The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Wednesday 23rd March: Vicar Street, Merchants Quay, Ireland

​Plus more live dates can be found here: http://www.wardruna.com/tour-dates/

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By Norse – 26th November 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Hildring is the second album by Wardruna vocalist Lindy-Fay Hella with musicians Dei Farne. It’s been a long time in the making, with ‘Taag’ dropping as a single back in the summer of 2020. But what is time when the world is off its keel and the world is spinning at a different pace, one so rapid we’ve lost touch with our innermost selves? Lindy-Fay Hella and Dei Farne connect with a past world, a time before technology: not necessarily a more primitive time, but a time in which there was a closer connection to earth and nature, and also to the inner self, the core spirit.

‘Hildring’ is the Norwegian word for mirage, and it’s fitting, for despite the solid, tribal percussion that dominates the sound, paired with solid, chunky basslines, the remaining musical elements are fleeting, flitting, mellifluous, transient, impossible to grasp a firm hold of.

That isn’t to say the album is all airy atmosphere and no substance: quite the opposite, in fact, there’s a sturdiness and density to the richly layered compositions, and it’s a very fine balance of the seemingly separate elements, namely the solid, and the ethereal and airy. The drumming is immense, ribcage-rattling, rousing. There is a wonderfully rich, earthy quality to Hildring. In keeping with Wardruna’s quest to explore Norse cultural and esoteric traditions by delving into ancient history and mythology, so in this collaborative project Lindy-Fay Hella continues that focus. The sound is modern, but the album is deeply evocative as echoes of the ancient resonate forward through every note, and you feel the aura of generations past around your being as you listen. It resonates in ways beyond expression, beyond lived experience. It’s deep, and it’s powerful, and strikes a resonant chord from the off with the percussion-led title track, where soaring vocals and a driving bass melt together amidst spacious waves of sound, and it sets the bar and the form.

In something of a shift from the overarching style, ‘Insect’ feels rather more overtly electronic, with skittering glow-worm flickers flitting hither and thither, but it’s still packing a rare emotional intensity.

‘Compositionally, ‘Briising’ is minimal; drums, bass, sweeping, droning synth, and incidental cymbals accompany a balanced, inwardly-focused vocal performance. There’s a menacing, growling vocal that is again otherworldly, and if not scary, then unsettling. ‘I return to fire’, he repeats in a dark, gravelled monotone.

‘Taag’ goes big on the expansive sound, and it’s sweeping, immense, immersive. It’s bordering on the grandiosity of post-rock, and propelled by urgent drumming. Elsewhere, the sparse, looping synth of the appropriately-titled ‘Otherworld’ is relentless and resonant.

Throughout, Lindy-Fay’s vocals are outstanding, and the album showcases her remarkable vocal dexterity. Often light and airy and floating and soaring above all layers of human perception, Hildring is magical, mystical, beautiful, majestic, and powerful. There, I managed to not to use ‘epic’!

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Dreams are one of the guiding inspirations on the new album from Norwegian collective Lindy-Fay Hella (Wardruna) & Dei Farne and today they share the imaginative new video/track ‘The Lake’ from their forthcoming album Hildring (By Norse, 26th November).

About the meaning of the song, Lindy-Fay comments, “The Lyrics for ‘The Lake’ are taken from one of my cousin Roy’s dreams. We have been discussing the dreamworld for many years already. So, to my big surprise, I discovered that [director] Gaui’s story for the video also was directly taken from a dream. When eating breakfast at his and Marita’s cozy home in Faroe Islands, I asked: "The story for the video is very beautiful, how did you come up with that?” Gaui replied: “ Oh well, I dreamt about it. It is just taken from a dream.”

This kind of charming synchronicity is very befitting to Lindy-Fay Hella & Dei Farne, who have created a record which celebrates the power of all of our senses and encourages listeners to seek the magic in our surroundings, awakening curiosity and our sense of wonder.

Check out the official video for ‘The Lake’ below:

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Photo Credit: Raina Vlaskovska

Music For Nations – 22nd January 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Wardruna were recently the focus of a rather unexpected article on ‘the rise of dark Nordic folk’ in The Guardian. It was largely positive, about how a largely obscure underground scene was reaching a wider audience, and emphasised the elementary influences of the distinctly non-metal genre. It was a feature that also doubled as a plug for new album Kvitravn, which, we’re told, is a continuation of the Runaljod trilogy in musical terms, but at the same time marks ‘a distinct evolution in Wardruna’s unique sound’.

And it is indeed a unique sound, and the album begins with haunting acapella vocals and rumbling atmospherics before picked strings and pounding martial drums fill the air with bold patterns. The sense of scale and depth that characterises the album as a whole is brought to the fore from the very start. More than this, it’s a sense of something primeval and non-linguistic that pervades Kvitravn. Like many listeners, I have no comprehension of the words, which are sung in elongated vowelly drones, the voices coming together not so much in harmony but in throng. And there is something immensely powerful about that. I suppose that the voice as an instrument taps into some deeper consciousness and resonates on a level that’s more genetic or spiritual than gnostic.

Tense and mournful violins provide the main accompaniment to the lugubrious vocals on the six-minute title track. It’s the roar of the sea that brings the arrival of the funereal shanty that is ‘Skugge’. The thumping motoric ‘Fylgjutal’ with its brooding bassline and repetitive guttural vocal growling is incredibly Germanic, and referencing Rammstein doesn’t seem entirely inappropriate here in terms of connecting to anyone unfamiliar with Wardruna: the drums pummel and it’s intense in a relentless way, battering away for the majority of its expansive seven and a half minutes before taking a more poet-rock turn to the close. It all drives forward toward the ten-minute ‘Andvevarljod’ or ‘Song of the Spirit-weavers’ which is epic in every sense and encapsulates the album within a single, immense track.

The instrumentation is, by and large, spartan, and if the string arrangements connote more traditional folk, then ethereal droning backdrops and tribal drumming hark back to something more traditional still – that is to say, that what we commonly associate with ‘traditional’ is often fairly modern, and that all too often our sense of history and skewed and myopic.

Kvitravn evokes images of forests, of caves, of barren mountain tops and vast expanses of moorland, and wide open spaces without people… the occasional wolf or bear, maybe, but a preindustrial world, of wildness and wilderness. And while it does have a certain ‘soundtrack’ feel to it, nothing feel forced or artificial. Kvitravn doesn’t feel like an ersatz replica of Nordic dark ages, but as if it was actually created there and has leaked forward through time to the present, untouched. As such, it’s a moving experience.

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Wardruna today share the title track, and pinnacle moment of their upcoming album, Kvitravn (meaning White Raven). A music video produced by Ragnarok Films reveals a powerful narrative centred around this sacred, elusive creature, and namesake of the album.

Dramatic scenery unfolds from a bird’s eye perspective, and enchanting images of this rare animal are captured, as we follow Wardruna founder Einar Selvik and vocalist Lindy Fay-Hella through the wilderness. As the video unfolds, a question arises, is this sighting only good fortune, or is it destiny?

About the song "Kvitravn", Wardruna founder Einar Selvik states, “I am very excited to finally share this song with you. “Kvitravn” is a song that explores traditions of animal-guides and the symbolism and legends of sacred white animals found in Nordic- and other cultures all over the world. These highly regarded ghostly creatures, whether a raven, snake, bear, moose, reindeer, elephant or lion – are in animist traditions seen as prophetic, divine messengers, and guardians representing renewal, purity and a bridge between worlds.”

Einar Selvik continues, “Being fully aware of how rare it is to come across white ravens, we knew from the start that this would be an ambitious and challenging task to pull off. However, fate seemed to be on our side in this and the “impossible” piece of the puzzle fell into place as if gifted from the divine.“

Watch the spectacular video here:

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When circumstances forced Wardruna to postpone the release of their upcoming album Kvitravn, it was clear to them that they still wanted to release new music. Music and art can potentially carry great meaning in times of uncertainty. They decided that now was not the time to stay silent and headed straight back into creative mode and the studio to write and record the song "Lyfjaberg".

The Old Norse word Lyfjaberg means Healing-hill or Healing-mountain and is known from Norse mythology and the Eddic poem Fjölsvinnsmál as a place of comfort and cure for the ‘sick and sore’ who manage to climb the mountain and bear offerings at the shrines there – a gift demands a gift in return.

The video for "Lyfjaberg" was mainly filmed in the mountains at Tustna in Norway. The band shot the video in early May, when all of a sudden winter decided to return with full strength and they ended up wading in half a metre of snow for three days and nights. On many levels, the process of making this video reflected the meaning of the song itself. They all had to climb a few of their inner mountains to get it done.

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