CD cover

Ranarop (Call of the Sea Witch)
(Finlandia Innovator/Warner Finland)

Gjallarhorn is a quartet from Ostrobothnia, the Swedish speaking area of Finland. They are aggressively modern while still being very closely tied to both folk musical traditions and ancient mythology. The heart of the band is a mixture of fiddle, didgeridoo, percussion, mandola, fronted by the sometimes ethereal vocals of Jenny Wilhelms. Ranarop (Call of the Sea Witch) (Finlandia Innovator/Warner Finland) is an almost epic album, with a sweeping sound that proves how broad a stroke simple acoustic instruments can make.

Audio Clip
King and Enchantress (excerpt)

The songs deal with mystical events, witches and gods and the woes of the sea, but they are carried on a contemporary sound. The old minuets, ballads and waltzes of Sweden and Swedish speaking Finland are given new life in the hands of this band. Instead of synthesizers, they rely heavily on the droning rasp of the didgeridoo, which lends both a modern feel and an ancient tone to most of the songs. Wilhelms voice is splendid, beautiful, but with a slightly sharp edge that befits both the subject matter and the music. Don't be surprised if this band makes a more international name for itself in the coming years. In the tradition of folks like Hedningarna, Gjallarhorn speak in tongues and their music reaches you though the language barrier with effortless beauty and strength. - CF

Sound file is a short excerpt from the album Ranarop (Finlandia Innovator) and is used with the expressed permission of the authors.

Read and interview with Gjallarhorn by Andrew Cronshaw

See also: Finland, Sweden

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