Wardruna, founded in 2002 by Norwegian Einar Selvik, are dedicated to creating musical renditions of Norse cultural and esoteric traditions. With the use of the oldest Nordic instruments and poetic metres, lyrics written in Norwegian, Norse and proto-Norse tongue, Wardruna sets out to give new voice to ancient and ever-relevant ideas and wisdom from the past.
To say the music is unique would be an understatement, it’s unlike anything you will have heard before, have a look at the video below to get a flavour of it. Wardruna have gained more worldwide prominence since their involvement in the History Channel’s hit TV series Vikings (available on Amazon Prime and iTunes). On two occasions Einar has also appeared on-screen in a guest role.
On 21 October 2016 they release their next album entitled Runaljod – Ragnarok. It is the third instalment in a trilogy of albums that began with Runaljod – gap var Ginnunga (2009) and continued with Runaljod – Yggdrasil (2013), we explore the Runic theme here. In short, the ambitious idea behind the trilogy was to create musical interpretations of each of the twenty-four old Nordic runes.
To explore and celebrate the meaning of the Elder Futhark Runes was an ambitious aim. In Norse myth Odin hung on the World Tree Yggdrasil for nine days and nights to obtain the knowledge and inspiration of the runes, a magical alphabet imbued with symbolic power. Their study occupies academics to this day, there is also a flourishing fascination with their esoteric meaning that continues to stimulate debate. Wardruna have added to this living tradition with their musical exploration. It is a contemporary sound, but one that is characterised by the use of old and historical instruments like Kraviklyra, taglharpe, goat horns, birchbark lures and more. The vocals range from whispering voices to melodic song and mighty choirs.
Musically and conceptually there is a clear continuity between all three of the albums, but with time and experience comes refinement. And new elements have certainly been added along the way. Most notable on Runaljod – Ragnarok is the use of the Scandinavian bronze lures, whose iconic sound and appearance make them a perfect fit with Wardruna’s instrumentation and concept. Special guest performances by Einar’s own children and Skarvebarna children’s choir must also be noted. Here is a teaser for the album:
Runaljod – Ragnarok was written, recorded and produced by Einar Selvik from 2003 to 2016 at his own Fimbulljóð studio. A short tour in support of the album will commence in November, with concerts in Norway, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, France, Sweden, Denmark and the UK (full listings below). Many of the concerts have sold out already and further touring is planned for 2017.
Aug 18-21: Midgardsblot Metal Festival, Borre, Norway
Aug 27: Håkonshallen, Bergen, Norway
Aug 28: Håkonshallen, Bergen, Norway
Sep 2-4: Faerieworlds, Portland, USA
Nov 12: Eventpalast, Leipzig, Germany
Nov 13: Wytwórnia, Łódź, Poland
Nov 15: TivoliVredenburg, Symphonic Hall, Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 16: Union Chapel, London, UK
Nov 17: Union Chapel, London, UK
Nov 18: Trabendo, Paris, France
Nov 19: TivoliVredenburg, Pandora, Utrecht, Netherlands
Nov 25: Nalen, Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 26: Nalen, Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 27: Nalen, Stockholm, Sweden
Nov 30: Slagthuset, Malmö, Sweden
Dec 1: Portalen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Jan 21: Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway