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SKÁLD sends the listener back a thousand years, to raids led by Vikings and times when savagery rivalled with subtlety

SKÁLD is a unique project in music inspired by Nordic mythology. They decided to breathe new life into the poetry of the ancient skalds, whose ancient language – Old Norse – told stories of the Vikings and their gods.

In the early Middle Ages, the skalds of Scandinavian society were storytellers, poets and musicians. Thanks to some unique documents — like the wonderfully poetic Edda — part of the Skaldic legacy has come down to us over the centuries. 

It is that legacy which the ambitious music project SKÁLD brings to life again today by immersing the listener in a rich, evocative soundscape created using a broad palette of instruments chosen specially for the occasion. Tribal percussion, with shamanic drums of varying sizes, are used to evoke martial strength and victory. Other smaller percussion — like bones taken from animals, or deer antlers — has particularly pagan inspiration, while the musicality of stringed instruments like the lyre, the talharpa, the citole played with a bow, the jouhikko, and the nyckelharpa or keyed harp, reveals the wealth of Scandinavia's culture. As for the omnipresent song, it carries all these aspects within it at the same time.

And SKÁLD is above all a vocal project, carried by three singers who are specialists in the song techniques of the skalds, singing that has come down to us by means of the rare surviving accounts of the period. Making use of the full power of their voices and extraordinary tessituras, their songs, whether guttural or lyrical —yet always profound and organic —give birth to a multitude of strong, evocative images.

The group's repertoire takes its inspiration particularly from La Völuspá and Gylfaginning, both of which are contained in the poetic Edda. These texts deal with Scandinavian cosmogony as well as mythological episodes featuring the gods of Ásgard.The singers of the SKÁLD ensemble also bring the runic alphabet back to life, throwing light on the symbolic places of the Vikings' universe such as Valhalla or the nine kingdoms of Yggdrasil, and painting portraits of titanic confrontations between Asesand giants. 

Thanks to SKÁLD, you will board the famous langskips that accompanied explorers of the impossible on voyages to discover unknown lands; you will engage in awesome battles that ring with the clash of axes and swords as they strike the shields of warriors; you will dance in the midst of the Völur, the priestesses who foretell the future —and then, in a state of trance, you will cross the Bifröston the back of Odin's horse as a guest invited to the banquets of Nordic gods.

SKÁLD — no ordinary music project — will plunge you into a distant tale, one that takes its source in a primeval age when the kings from the seas of the North caused empires to tremble...

30 July 2020
Meadow stage


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