Pagan Radio Network
Mystic sounds of Norway and Iceland
Steeped in culture and rich with history, Volva Songs EP strikes a chord for anyone who has ever been interested in the northern countries like Norway, and Iceland. Have you have ever wondered what kinds of songs the early Vikings might have sung around a campfire? In my opinion, I don't think you can get much closer than Volva Songs EP. Volva is Old Norse for “Staff Carrier”, what we could consider a bard or storyteller. Kari uses the staff as a rhythm instrument, a method she calls “Volva Stav”.
She explains: “My work as Volva gently pulls the threads of our indigenous European tapestry, mends them to our immigrant memories, and spins a new thread for our children that is true, restores identity, and creates cultural healing. ”
The acoustic guitar is used in some of the pieces to add a warmth to the songs. The ambiance created by these songs drips with the essence of the “old ways”. Even if you aren't fluent in Norse or Icelandic (neither am I), this is a rich and wonderful album to enjoy, it truly transcends words and relies instead on the emotions that it stirs.
"Dromte Mig", the fourth song on the album is by far my favorite. I'm reminded of a video that I had seen of one of Kari's performances in which she sings this song. Throughout the song, she is spinning thread with an old fashioned drop spindle. As I listen to this song, I can vividly see a group of women sitting around singing and spinning their thread, carrying on a tradition that was passed from mother to daughter. This song relates that bond of passing tradition down through a family or community. The song starts off slow and soft and builds to a wonderful crescendo.
Number three on the album, "Oppi Li" is one of those songs that is, in my opinion, pure unadulterated fun! The only musical accompaniment is a drum and of course Kari's ever-present Stav. No other instruments are needed as Kari's wonderful voice could easily carry this song a capella. This piece has a wonderful tempo that will have you wishing for a bonfire to dance around.
"Svarterabben", the last song on this album, coming in a close second, is another favorite of mine. It combines a beautiful melody, wonderfully played on an acoustic guitar, along with Kari's powerful and wide-ranging voice. I love the tune to this song, whenever I hear it, I want to join in and sing along. . . if only my voice had the range.
This is an album that I have wanted to write a review about for some time. I have always been fascinated in the histories of the various peoples of the world. There is so much that was once known, but through the passage of time has been lost, it's exciting to see someone actively working to recover some of that history. I applaud the work of Kari Tauring and hope to hear more of her work in the future.
If Volva Songs EP sounds like something you would like to experience for yourself, you can get it here. Kari has a number of videos on her site in which she not only performs, but also explains in greater depth, her use of the Volva Stav.
~ Reviewed by Chris "Thaskalas" Madison:
Pagan Radio Network