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Audio CD, Enhanced, November 7, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
Maybe that's why this music sounds so untamed and transcendent. It sounds truly pagan, not in a tacky "let's-pretend-like" sense (like so much deliberately "pagan" music) but in a fiery, direct way, tribal and present, vivid and hallucinatory at the same time.
In short "Sjofn" is one of the best "folk" recordings I have ever heard. You can spend a lot of time with this recording and still not discover every nuance. That is true of all the Gjallarhorn I have heard so far, but never more so than with this CD. Beautiful, primitive and fey, "Sjofn" is not to be missed.
The narrative of Gjallarhorn's songs spring primarily from Nordic mythology. The Gjallarhorn is the horn with which the gatekeeper god, Heimdal, sent messages from the gods of Asgård to the mortals of Midgård. The name of the horn is related to the word gjala, which means 'to shout' or 'to sing out.'
--This CD is essential in every world-music fan collection--
Five solid gold stars.
The first track 'Suvetar' appears on the Nordic Roots 3 sampler; that it was an invocation of welcome to the Goddess of Spring was evident without a translation of the words. That the vocalist succeeded in communication without the assistance of an understanding of the words demonstrates the skill of Jenny Wilhelms. Her vocals alone are sufficient reason to listen to the album. The untraditional percussion instruments and the didgeridoo also work sounding "traditional" despite their non-Nordic origins. So add the instrumentation as another sufficient reason to listen to the album.
There are four ballads on the cd: "Tova and the King", "Dejelill and Lagerman", "The Water-Sprite and the Maiden" and "Su Su Ruskadirej". There is sufficient relationship to the ballads of the British Isles for these cuts to be "familiar with a difference". There is a prayer to the Holy Spirit, a rune song, two or three dance numbers.
I was prepared to not like "Dolphin calling" - the notes implied a human/nature recording interplay that rarely works. This piece mostly works. I would, however, expect it's reception to be more divided than that of the remainder of the cd.
Gjallarhorn, however, pushes the bounderies into unknown territory. I've played this for a lot of people and they've had the same reaction: AMAZING.
One of my greatest musical discoveries for the year.
I first saw Gjallarhorn live back in 1998, and was immediately completely zonked by the sound.
Jenny's voice is amazing, the songs are hauntingly beautiful and Martin's production is razor sharp while still sounding raw.
Above all, this album has that natural barefoot "toes in the soil"-feel that almost every ethno-fusio band misses. This is just so immediate and honest... There is zero pretention but maximun magic present on this album!
The first album is also great (I hear there is a remastered version available now since the band wasn't happy with the first version they had to make in a hurry), too bad that the third (Grimborg) moved to a maybe more artistically diverse direction, losing a lot of the natural charm and feel of serendipity at the same time...
And I'm so glad it did.
Jenny Wilhelm's voice can be summed up in one word: incredible. It's full and nuanced with a wide range--not to mention just plain beautiful. I was really not sure how I'd like the didgeridoo, not being a particular fan of that instrument, but it really adds to the overall effect of the album. It can be playful, sonorous, evocative . . . the perfect match for Jenny's voice.
If you've never listened to Nordic music before, this is a great place to start. I plan on buying Ranarop at the very earliest opportunity!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This product is very nice and can be a good addition in your collectionPublished 14 months ago by Patrick Warren
The music, the use of mode and rhythm, and the variations in tempo are positively spellbinding. Lyrics are in Finnish (of which I know very little), Swedish (which I wish to... Read morePublished on October 24, 2009 by Christopher R. Travers
This is very first experience owning any Finnish musik; I am Swedish. I must say its a first time and perfect choice to start out! Read morePublished on September 4, 2007 by Pippi Giza
Really beuatiful traditional scandinavian folk sung by a beautiful female voice. Very entrancing. Actually if you like Hedningarna this is somehow better at times.Published on August 29, 2007 by Lovblad
Haunting lyric driven by an almost Medieval beat that brakes into something more modern. It is a good balance, and comparison to world music from North Africa, Tuareg rock... Read morePublished on May 12, 2007 by Mortone
This is a wonderful compilation of Gjallarhorn's sound. From traditional Norwiegian melodies to a Moari/Norse sound. Read morePublished on March 19, 2006 by William Henning
I just want to put in another 5 star review. I am another who can truly feel the power of the Goddess in this recording. Read morePublished on March 31, 2004 by Nicole M. Masika
I was first exposed to Gjallarhorn via the World Music Videos program on WorldLinkTV, and of all the many musicians I've found in this way, none has impressed me as much as... Read morePublished on July 8, 2003 by Frank J. Perricone
I gave this one a 4 because I would rate the earlier album, Ranarop, one notch higher than this one, though a couple of tracks, (especially Ye Ride So Carefully, and the Icelandic... Read morePublished on April 30, 2003 by Thengling