Wardruna are a Norwegian music group founded by Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik who make significant use of traditional and historical instruments such as deer-hide frame drums, Kraviklyra, tagelharpe, mouth harp, goat horn, lur and more. Non-traditional instruments and other sources of sound like trees, rocks, water and torches are also used.
Runaljod-Ragnorok is the final part of their ‘Runaljod’ trilogy – a musical rendition of the 24 runes in the Elder Futhark. Some of the recordings are done outdoors in places, or under circumstances, of significance to each rune.
Wardruna are also known for doing a few special concerts, often in places that compliment their music, perhaps most notably when they performed in front of the majestic 1100-year-old Gokstad ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Norway. That must have been quite a spectacle.
Over the years Einar Selvik and Wardruna have also gained a broad audience through their substantial musical involvement in the History channel’s hit series Vikings – I’m currently catching up on the first 4 seasons on Amazon and their music works brilliantly with this show.
This album is exactly how you would imagine Viking music to sound in 2016! Drumming, rhythmic percussion, drones, chanting, distant horns and layered harmonising vocals with some extremely long reverbs! Reminds me of Swans in parts. It’s a relaxed ambient affair for the most part but those Vikings can also sound pretty scary if they choose!
Favourite tracks: “UruR”, “Isa”, “MannaR – Drivande”.