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Wardruna – Journey into the forgotten

Imagine a valley bathed in fog, decorated with dense forest at the foot, with a swift stream flowing down, and in the background stretching the harsh peaks of the nearby hills. Around you can only hear the rustling of leaves, the sound of water, the sounds of fauna hiding in greenery.

Forget about mobile phone coverage, the words Internet and civilization. Feel the fresh blast of untainted air, close your eyes and travel back in time to a period of pagan mysticism, simplicity and freedom. That’s how Wardruna plays.

When I first came into contact with Wardruna’s music, I immediately knew that I was dealing with something that is difficult to describe in words. Listening to their music is an experience in itself, which probably everyone will experience in their own way. The fact is, however, that their music immediately grabbed me.

Wardruna is a Norwegian folk band playing ambient music. The band was founded by Einar Selvik, better known as Kvitrafn, who was active in the black metal band Gorgoroth as a drummer (the band also includes former Gorgoroth vocalist Gaahl). He was prompted to create such a project by a deep passion for Nordic shamanism and runes. Wardruna’s albums are thoughtful arrangements, arranged on the basis of 24 characters of the runic alphabet, known as the older futhark. In order to create such music, Kvitrafn used not only his extensive knowledge of runic writing and folk legends, but also his ability to play traditional, ancient instruments such as goat and cow horns, ritual drums, violins, harps, lyres and bone flutes. Many parts were recorded in the open air, far from civilization, in accordance with the meaning of individual runes.

From the beginning, the assumption of the project was to release three concept albums – the first of them, released in 2009 “Gap Var Ginnunga”, is a perfect introduction to Wardruna’s climates – minimalist folk, patiently and without haste enveloping the listener with its magic. The second album, “Yggdrasil” (2013), is an ambitious and slightly more experimental continuation of the journey. For the culmination of the work we will have to wait until the release of the third album, “Ragnarok”.

Wardruna’s music, which can be heard especially on the first album, is characterized by elements typical of ambient. It is captivated by the minimalist arrangement of songs, in which the slow rhythm of rumbling drums is slowly joined by additional instruments and melodies. Similarly, they last for minutes, after which we hear some whispers, some choirs, and through ambient begins to resound mystical aura and ancient atmospheres. Sometimes you can feel contact with nature, perhaps with our ancestors, with times when human nature was not yet bound by modern conventions. That’s why Wardruna’s sound seems to be so promiscuous, ruthless and authentic.

The second album has a distinctive force, mainly due to the greater emphasis placed on the extremely strong choir. This would be in line with the concept of this album – according to the band members, the first album represents the act of sowing a new seed, while the second is strengthening its yield, gaining strength.

However, whatever the concept of the artists, Wardruna is simply a sound that I recommend to anyone who treats music as a springboard from our reality and a source of unforgettable experiences. Wardruna allows you to break away from the daily rush, focus, meditate, make contact with this forgotten part of our consciousness, in which we are really free.

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