N°124 WardrunaNú Ninja Helga Mjöll
Wardruna is a Norwegian music group formed in 2003 by Einar Selvik along with Gaahl and Lindy Fay Hella. Their music is inspired by Norse cultural traditions, in the way that they take thoughts, tools and methods from the past and use them to create new music which builds on the contemporary as well as the ancient. In their own words: The whole purpose of Wardruna is sowing new seeds and strengthening old roots.
They play on many Nordic historical and traditional instruments including kraviklyra, tagelharpe and lur, but they also use nature sounds and non-traditional instruments like trees, rocks and water.
Einar Selvik (a.k.a. Kvitravn or White Raven), the frontman and main composer for the group, was born in Norway in 1979 and grew up in Osterøy, close to Bergen. Before Wardruna, Einar was the drummer in the black metal band Gorgoroth. He has said that at one point metal stopped inspiring him and that he needed to grow out of it and get closer to his truth. He identifies with modern paganism, where people have a close relationship with nature and take strong responsibility for their own behavior and what they put out in the world.
Wardruna’s first album came out in 2009 and was called Runaljod – Gap var Ginnunga. It was the first part of the Runaljod trilogy featuring musical renditions based on the runes. Other two were Runaljod – Yggdrasil (2013) and Runaljod – Ragnarok (2016). Some of the recordings were made in various locations or under circumstances that have particular significance for the rune in question.
The fourth album, Skald (2018), was recorded live in the studio with the intention of capturing the raw and uncompromising energy of a live performance rather than aiming for a flawless and polished expression. It set out to give voice to the ancient craft that once lay at the heart of the Norse oral traditions. The material for that album originates mostly from Selvik’s acoustic concerts, material made for the TV-show Vikings and lectures he had written.
Wardruna’s fifth full-length album Kvitravn (2021, White-Raven) marks a distinct evolution in their sound. The album features a very broad selection of instruments, and prominent guest appearances and inspiration was taken from concepts like Northern sorcery, spirit-animals, shadows, nature and animism.
Now, Wardruna has released an album with live-in-studio recordings that were performed in Covid times and streamed live online. The track list includes songs from Kvitravn as well as fan-favourites and is called Kvitravn – First Flight of the White Raven.
In the genre of New Nordic folk music in Scandinavia, Wardruna is undeniably the biggest. They have a huge, loyal, and versatile fanbase all over the world. Their music seems to have a powerful effect on people from all walks of life, different age groups and ethnicities including people that otherwise are into other kinds of music, like classical music, metal or even jazz.
Wardruna’s official website
Wardruna on Spotify
Wardruna on YouTube