Some time ago an acquaintance from Australia asked me if I could recommend some folkloristic music from Scandinavia. Being a generally friendly git I gave him the recommendation to check out Aryeh Frankfurter – Harp Songs of the Midnight Sun and Eliwagar – Fjellfolk Saga Fra Forntiden. Now only a few months later I sit here with the new album from Eliwagar, Fra Hjertet av Norden. For those unfamiliar with the band it is a pagan folk band from Norway fronted by the lovely Runahild Håleygir with her husband Bjørn on guitar and additional vocals on Håleygirland. The music is gentle and has a rustic feeling to it that feels at the same time beautiful and melancholic. The album production is gorgeous and comes with beautiful images of the wonderful Norwegian landscape that have a certain magical feeling to it. Being a Scandinavian myself this is enough to light my primal heart on fire and dream of returning back to the wild forests of the north where I was born and raised.
Musically Fra Hjertet av Norden feels like coming home and I bet that anyone even slightly into pagan folk should feel right at home with this album. The beautiful guitar of Bjørn blends perfectly with the divine vocals of Runahild and summons a serene yet otherworldly atmosphere across the whole assembly of fiddles, flutes and ancient drums. The lyrics are beautiful and poetic with strong ties to the archaic landscapes of mother north and even if you don’t read or speak a Scandinavian language the wonderful singing radiates magic in its most primal form. It is a dedication to the old ways and the old gods who were before and in today’s mechanical society where the cities sprawl across the globe like a spreading cancer it feels good to know that there are individuals who still respect and love nature and all it gives.
One highlight on this album is Melankoli i Skumringen with its slow and serene strings accompanied by the lovely and sad vocals of Runahild, beautiful and sad it tells the tale of a lonely man wandering the landscapes searching for a reason. Another really strong track is I den Vakre Gyldne Glød who is the direct opposite with its positive message of dance and festivity under the glowing sun. All in all Fra Hjertet av Norden is a wonderful album that really deserves a place among the highlights of this year’s folkloristic music. It is a magical journey through the mists of the past and manages to sound both genuine and intimate while being crystal clear in its production. The delicate use of instruments works in perfect harmony with Runahilds brilliant vocals and really crowns the sound of this album. In the end Fra Hjertet av Norden gets a strong recommendation from me. It is a genuine and well-crafted album that emanates the power of magical nights under the northern lights. This album will be a boon companion in my nightly strolls on the sylvan mountains of the north.
02. I den Nordiske Vinterklem
04. Melankoli i Skumringen
07. Et Norrønt Kjærlighet Sagn
08. I den Vakre Gyldne Glød