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Sjofn Enhanced

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Enhanced, November 7, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Gjallarhorn's debut made them plenty of friends with its unusual mix of Nordic folk and didgeridoo. The three years since their last disc have given them time to develop their unique sound and return with a highly satisfying album. Singer Jenny Wilhelms has learned to use her voice to its fullest, and her fiddle playing, along with that of Christopher Ohman, provides the melodic base of the band, while the didgeridoo offers an underlying drone, a technique shared by other Nordic bands such as Garmarna. Beautifully arranged, the opener "Suvetar" makes for a seductive entry into an album that constantly amazes with its depth. Like Wimme, the Finnish-based Gjallarhorn are pushing at the bounds of Scandinavian music, even including samples of dolphin sounds on the closing "Sinivatsa." There's little doubt they've evaded the traditional sophomore jinx. --Chris Nickson

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Goddess Of Spring
  2. Tova And The King
  3. Dejelill And Lagerman
  4. Intro From Jeppo-Polska
  5. Minuet From Jeppo-Polska
  6. Come, Holy Spirit
  7. The Water-Sprite And The Maiden
  8. Su Ru Ruskadirej
  9. Mountain Haunted
  10. Oravais Minuet
  11. Dance A Little...
  12. Hjaoningarima
  13. Dolphin Calling


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 7, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: November 7, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Northside Records
  • ASIN: B0000516VE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,414 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Gjallarhorn Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This CD makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. "Suvetar," the album opener, is a 3000-year-old fertility goddess chant-song and gives off magick energy like sparks from a bonfire. From there the CD varies in intensity but never in quality. Jenny Wilhelm's voice is a treasure. It reminds me of Sandy Denny and Maddy Prior simultaneously, and she flies above the band with effortless grace while they pull and roil and flare beneath. The songs are about love in its many forms, and on the liner notes it is claimed that the goddess Sjofn (a love goddess from the Norse tradition) is the "guardian" of this recording.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Gjallarhorn (pronounced "Yal-lar-horn"), The band is Finnish, but hails from a Swedish-speaking area on the West Coast of Finland, a fringe geographical area where 50% of the people speak Swedish and the music remains Swedish in character. Most of their repertoire is the folk music of these Swedish-speaking Finns, from the unique minuets and ballads that have only survived in Ostrobothnia, to the oldest traditional waltzes.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm uncertain by what standards to judge this music - most texts and tunes are traditional but the instrumentation and recording techniques are not. I am inclined to place the album in the same category as Lisa Gerard's "Duality" and the works of Loreena McKennit, whatever category that might be.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
I saw this in the record store, read the back ant the use of instruments really intrigued me. I am so glad that I bought this CD. From the minute "Suvetar" started I was entranced. I can't describe the style other than to say that it does for with a great deal of other Scandinavian music.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
The title sums it all up, really.

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...
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Format: Audio CD
I have no idea why I bought this album. I'd never listened to any other Scandinavian music before, hadn't really heard anything about it even, but for some reason this album found its way to my wish list and finally my CD player.
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!
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