Wardruna is an original band from Norway specialized in ethnic Nordic folk music; played with Nordic instruments, lyrics and poetry written in Norwegian. It is formed by a trio of musicians that collaborate together to create one of the most interesting acts out there. Their music has a strong theatrical and enigmatic nature: you can appreciate it in how their songs are conceived – in fact, to just call them “songs” is not fair to all the work behind the atmosphere they create with their music.
Wardruna is making a new type of ethnic music that involves sounds from everywhere: from those of the Mother Nature, passing by tribal chants and choirs, and ending with more traditional western instruments, like a violoncello or a tambourine.
Their modern approach to traditional ethnic folk music is quite attractive to the audiences who seek for a contemporary sound of the musical traditions from their homeland; and the people that comes to Wardruna’s music will not only listen to music, but a complete immersive experience in a well elaborated concept behind each album and each track.
They have released three albums so far, all of them part of a trilogy. The concept behind said trilogy is quite appealing for those like us who are familiar with the Nordic mythology: the runes and their power.
Wardruna’s trilogy will experiment and do a musical rendition to the 24 runes that form the elder futhark. In runic language, the futhark is the oldest form of runic alphabet for the ancient Germanic tribes during the 1st and 2nd centuries, and whose purpose went from practical writing to magical uses.
Having this millenary tradition as their inspiration, they released gap var Ginnunga in 2009 as their artistic statement and first studio album. As we said before, their music is more an atmospheric and sensorial experience than “songs” in the traditional meaning of it. The structure of each piece obeys to the significance of each rune, this being the reason why they recorded every track under meaningful circumstances (even outdoors!) to the furthak. This commitment goes beyond the artistic ambitions and transcend to the spiritual level.
Hagal is one remarkable track from this production. Starting with sounds from the pouring rain and a mouth harp, it immediately takes us to the Nordic steppes to experience the magic through a progressive crescendo that is continuously adding more elements to retain our attention.
Algir proceeds to show us the important role of the congregation around such a meaningful symbol as this runic word (which was used by Nordic neo-paganism), and the sounds from the people can be heard throughout the whole musical piece. Ár var alda incorporates the violoncello as the melodic instrument that will take on the leading role, literally speaking to us with each intervention, being accompanied by mysterious drums and a perpetual note that serves as the foundation of the musical structure.
By 2013 they released Yggdrasil, continuing the legacy of the runic trilogy started in gap var Ginnunga. In an effort to not repeat themselves with each new production, they try a new combination of elements while being loyal to their own concept. Yggdrasil is known as the Tree of Life in Nordic mythology, and its branches are keeping together the nine different worlds. Tracks like Fehu are capturing the mystical meaning behind this first rune in the alphabet, and tying it to the mystical concept of the album’s title.
To conclude this trilogy, Wardruna released a new album Ragnarok on October 21, 2016. Ragnarok is a term which describes the cycle of life and death, something must to reach it’s end so something new can start it’s life.
Wardruna’s magical music is also used as a soundtrack of the awesome “Vikings” TV series which is incredibly fits the atmosphere and the mood of the content and perfectly complete the cinematographic part of the show.