Sunday, August 12, 2018

Wardruna's new album "Skald" & West Coast Tour: Sept 14 - 23 | Einar Selvik at The National Nordic Museum: Sept 17

Sharing a kinship with other pagan ritualistic music of central and northern Europe, like that of Heilung and Danheim, the music of Wardruna belongs to a new strain of dark folk music that draws from traditions in the Bronze, and Norse Age, as it moves to hybridize these into a 21st century sound. The process of approaching the past was described to Revolver Magazine by Christopher Juul of Heilung, "Denmark's Heilung are Creating 'Amplified History' With Human Bones". In order to connect to what was before," says Juul, "you have to disconnect from what is now." Their performances acting as much as a ritual in which they conjure primal wilderness of the Viking era, blending the theatrics of reconstructed swords and shields, with elk skin-drums, instruments made of human bones, Rune stones, and amulets, the resulting conjuring of the past is 'amplified history' as they call it. Speaking with NME, Wardruna's co-founder, Einar Selvik maps a related process towards accessing the past; “Lyrically, some of it is of my own creation. Skaldic poetry from the Viking age and earlier is at the core of Wardruna. It’s basically modern renditions of very old poetry.” Selvik is keen to stress that his music, lifestyle and aesthetic are not historical recreation, but more of an effort to draw on the past to illuminate what is missing from the present. “A lot of the old poems and major myths that we have from that time are very good at telling us of the cycle of nature,” he continued. “They map the relation of human beings to nature and describe it as a continuous cycle of life and death. I think why it resonates and connects so well with a lot of people around the world is because the focus is not on re-enacting the past or trying to be literal Vikings again; it’s about taking this old wisdom, knowledge and culture, and presenting it with a contemporary relevance and in a contemporary soundscape.” Having completed an album cycle over the course of seven years with, "Runaljod: Gap Var Ginnunga", "Runaljod: Yggdrasil", and 2016's "Runaljod: Ragnarok", "Norse Code: Wardruna's Runic Trilogy Transformed Norway's Musical Landscape", yet they remain steadfast in continuing their evolving hybridization of the sounds of an ancient past, and a new music of their own design. These themes are touched on by The Quietus in their, "The Terror of Stagnation: Gaahl of Wardruna", and "Ragnarok & Roll: Einar Selvik of Wardruna Interviewed". This year Wardruna bring their sonic rituals to domestic stages across North America with their first substantial tour of the west coast, proceeding the release of their newest album "Skald". Coinciding with this tour, Ivar Bjørnson & Einar Selvik's duo release “Hugsjá” explores related but more minimalist and sparse compositions for voice and instruments. These are to be heard the same night of Seattle's date at The Neptune, with the recent "‘Mad Dash to the Finish’ as Seattle’s new Nordic Museum Prepares for its Grand Debut", Einar Selvik will be performing a solo set at The National Nordic Museum.