Posts tagged “folk

“Wolf Totem,” by Tengger Calvary – Mongolian Folk Metal

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Country of origin: China

Location: Beijing

Genre: Mongolian, Folk Death Metal

Themes: Tengrism, Shamanism, Mythology

In Mongolian shamanism, Tengger (also spelt Tengeri) is the sky-father, lord of the celestial sphere.

I’ve posted a song from this band before, and now I’m posting another because that’s just how good these guys are. Tengger Calvary’s music evokes the raw power of ancient armies on horseback riding across the vast Manchurian Steppe. The band links their music to a traditional Mongolian sound by their use of throat singing – a unique type of vocals in which two different pitches are produced at the same time. This style of singing was developed by the Mongolian people as part of an animistic belief set. Animism is the belief that objects of nature have their own spiritual power. Throat singing takes this a step further by imitating the sounds of nature itself.

In addition to achieving the ambiance and feeling of Mongolian Shamanism, the band’s musicians also implement their own death metal technicality, in terms of powerful guitar solos and heavy drums. Tengger Calvary successfully combines elements of Folk and Death metal in a way that doesn’t feel forced or synthetic. If Genghis Khan and his armies rose from the dead and started playing metal – this is pretty much what it would sound like.

Of course there is also the obvious fact that there are not that many folk metal bands in the world that write songs about Mongolian Spirituality and Myth, so these guys are truly a gem.

TENGGER CALVARY LINKS

Facebook 

YouTube Video Collection

Metal Archives Listing

Blood Sacrifice Shaman Album

Metal-China-Wiki Article

WANT TO LEARN ABOUT MONGOLIAN SHAMANISM? 

Check out the Circle of Tengerism


Týr – By the Sword in my Hand

Týr refers to the Germanic God of courage, strength, justice, victory, defense, and battle.

Genre: Progressive Folk Metal

Themes: Norse Mythology/Paganism

Band Location: Faroe Islands (an archipelago and autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark)

Lyrics: Click Here

Any Heathen metal head or Folk Metal enthusiast is familiar with the band Týr. A Folk Metaller without Týr in their playlist is like a warrior without a sword, a witch without her broom or me without a secret stash of chocolate in the house. It just doesn’t happen.

This band has been going strong for about 16 years now with 7 full length albums to their name. While they may experiment with their style a good bit, the heart of their music lies in heroic themes of warrior battles, Norse glory, and in general just having a fucking fun time.  The song I posted above has to be one of my favorites and is pretty characteristic of their sound.

As mentioned above, their name is connected to the Germanic God of justice, Týr. The most famous story about Týr is how he sacrificed his hand to the wolf Fenris in order to bind him.

Týr also was originally known as Tiwaz. The Tiwaz rune is named after him and symbolizes fighting for truth and one’s beliefs, as well as standing for dedication and valour in combat.

tiwaz

Tiwaz rune pictured above. Image Source


Folk Metal Playlist

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VIEW PLAYLIST HERE (VIDEO WON’T EMBED)

This is a playlist of folk metal songs similar to Falkenbach’s Gjallar. Enjoy! I liked almost all of the songs on this list, and even heard a few new songs that I had never encountered before.


MÅNEGARM – Sons of War

“We stand united. We are the sons of war!”

Band’s Country of Origin: Sweden

Genre: Viking/Black/Folk Metal

A pumping folk metal video of warrior dudes doing warrior things. The word Månegarm itself refers to a wolf that lives on the blood of dying humans and at Ragnarök hunts down and swallows the moon – I can think of no name more metal for a Norse Folk Metal Band. One of Månegarm’s signature qualities is that they have had traditional instruments from the start. Their songs have a professional quality violin sound in the background along with the occasional flute as well. I find this particular song a little bit repetitive (a lot of folk metal is honestly), but the power driven melody and chords make up for this repetition. The vocalist also has skill in flawlessly exchanging growls for the occasional clean vocal. It is certainly a song I would put on my playlist – if I needed a playlist for riding a steed into battle followed by some quality drunken shenanigans.

RELEVANT LINKS

Encyclopedia Metallum Entry

Review on Sputnik Music

Official Facebook


Saor – Children of the Myst

SAOR means “Free” in Scottish and Irish Gaelic

Band Location: Glasgow Scotland

Genre: Scottish Folk, Atmospheric Black Metal, Post-Rock

Members: Andy Marshall (Can you believe this is a one man band?)

Themes: Scottish Heritage, Highland Nature/Landscapes, Sorrow

Imagine if the Folk Metal band Belenos had a baby with the progressive rock group Pelican. The baby would be Saor: a band that has the power and mystery of Folk Metal, but the creative melodies of Prog Rock. Saor brings the traditional Celtic sound to the music with  instruments such as the  tin whistle, bodhrán and bagpipes.The music itself is emblematic of the stunning Scottish landscape. If you go to the band’s facebook, you can see some amazing images of Scotland. It’s pretty impressive that one artist, Andy Marshall, was capable of putting this all together.

“Children of The Myst” is the opening track for the album Aura, which will be released June 6th 2014. Saor may be a very new band, it was formed in 2012, but already its music is going to the top of Folk Metal Playlists. If you would like to hear more of their work, check out their facebook:

SAOR FACEBOOK

AURA ALBUM REVIEW ON THE METAL FOUNDRY

 


Eight Folk Metal Bands (Including Drudkh and Primordial) Collaborate on an Album

oneandalltogetherforhome

One and All, Together for Home comes out May 23rd 2014

In an effort spearheaded by the Ukrainian band Drudkh, eight different Folk Metal bands have come together to produce a compilation album. I’ve included a list of the eight bands below:

  • Drudkh (Ukraine)
  • Ava Inferi (Portugal)
  • Primordial (Ireland)
  • KAMPFAR official (Norway)
  • Winterfylleth (England)
  • Häive (Finland)
  • HIMINBJORG OFFICIAL (France)
  • Mondvolland (Netherlands)

Each band listed above has used music as way to link the listener back to their culture’s respective folk traditions and history. In this album, you’ll find that these bands have created their own unique way to represent traditional folk songs as well as the melodies from their musical heritage.

The Irish band Primordial has recently released a preview of their Dark Horse on The Wind on Metal Hammer (a song that will appear on the One and All, Together For Home album). Dark Horse on The Wind is a folk classic that is an ode to the pain of Ireland’s Civil War. Enjoy!


Eliwagar – Ægishjálmur (A Video That Captures The Norwegian Spirit)

For those of you who haven’t read my previous posts on Eliwagar, they are a Pagan Folk group in Norway. This video definitely tops all their other videos in capturing the epic beauty of the Norwegian landscape and spirit. Enjoy the view of the fjords as well as a mid-video sword fight.

LINKS

Official Eliwagar Site

Eliwagar Facebook

Runahild Interview On Paganland Fanzine


Primordial – Heathen Tribes (Celtic Folk/Black Metal)

Most Relevant YouTube Comment: This band is “somewhere between Flogging Molly and Korpiklaani.”

Genre: Celtic Folk/ Black Metal

Lyrical Themes: Cultural heritage, struggle, history

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Primordial was originally a cover band that covered songs by Black Metal groups such as Bathory and Venom. But then they started performing their own Celtic influenced music. In terms of vocals this song has the organic simplicity of a punk, or Flogging Molly song. Yet this song still packs a punch with atmospheric, black metal instrumentals. While this song is pretty simple, it does convey the power of a primordial, ancient past.

Lyrics:

This is my church
It stands so tall and proud
It has done for all time

It has no walls
Yet its vast halls
Reach from shore to shore

To whatever shore
You know as your own
We stand as one, we stand alone

We are born
From the same womb
Hewn from the same stone

From the frozen Baltic
I watched sunrise over Athena
Walked the battlefields of Flanders
And saw duskfall at Cintra

Beneath the spires of Sofia
Fields of crosses at Arnhem
Armenius stood tall in Teuteborg
Senatus Populusque Romanus

To the fjords of Hordaland
Shadows of ancient Albion
At the shore of a 1000th lake
Saint Vitus dance in Praha

Yet when to Ireland we Return
I know that I am home at last
And every sun that sets
Takes me closer to her Earth

(Source)


Three Asatru Perspectives: Universalism, Folkism and Tribalism

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A majority of my information in this post will come from Uppsala Online

The words “Heathen” and “Asatru” today refer to the modern revival of the old Pagan Norse/Germanic religion. The main difference between these two words is that Asatru refers to a specific set of beliefs in this group – while Heathen is a broader term referring to all Neo-Pagans who follow a Germanic/Norse pantheon of Gods and customs.

Asatru specifically is a modern Icelandic compound of the words Áss (which refers to the Aesir Gods) and trú (which literally means faith). So, question to the crowd, what does this mean? True booty? No. Asatru translates into a faith in the Aesir Gods. (Vanatru has the same roots and refers to the worship of the Vanir). If you are curious about the difference between these two groups, feel free to do research. But today I want to talk specifically about three different perspectives in the modern Asatru and Heathen community: Universalist, Folkish, and Tribalist. Universalism and Folkism are the main two perspectives, but Tribalism has been suggested as a sort of middle ground between the two.


Universalist: 

Universalists believe that anyone of any background can become a Heathen. It’s pretty simple. This allows for greater freedom of choice and for more people to come to the Old Norse Religion. For example, if there was a practitioner whose direct bloodline was Japanese, they could still practice Asatru as long as they lived by the nine virtues, understood the lore, learned the runes, took responsibility for themselves and their actions and used common sense.

The main argument I’ve seen against Universalism is that it is too open ended. Folkish and Tribalist Asatru believe that much more criteria should be required before someone can call themselves an Asatru.

In defense of the Universalists, most Universalist viewpoints I’ve read still believe that followers of Asatru should follow certain guidelines and rules – that it isn’t some free for all in which you can do whatever you want.


Folkish:

The Folkish perspective is that Asatru is an ethnic religion that should be mainly practiced by those with a Northern European heritage. They believe that ethnic religions connect the practitioner to their landscape’s ancestors, bloodline and traditions. Folkish Asatruar have made the argument that they are not white supremacists, but that they believe that every Folk should worship its own ancestors. Many Folkish Asatruar cite that Shintoism for the Japanese as an example of a valid ethnic religion – and that they want to do something similar with Asatru and the Northern European people.

One of the arguments made against ethnic based Asatru (Folkism) is that there were many Non-Norse folks in the Eddas and other legends who took part in Norse rituals. Norse slaves came from Celtic, Slavic and even Middle Eastern lands. These slaves were expected to abide by the customs and rituals of the Norse people when they lived in Norse lands. While the lives of slaves were pretty grim and there is certainly no way to sugar-coat such a practice, it is true that the slaves were sometimes emancipated by their masters and allowed to live among Norse society. Conversely, when the Norsemen settled in new lands, they adopted some of the customs in the new territories that they settled in. These points are all explained on Uppsala Online:

“Norsemen, when travelling afar, often took part in the religious rituals of the lands they traveled to, such as is found in the example of prime-signing, where travelling heathens took part in Christian ritual without renouncing their native gods. If the ancient heathens thought every bloodline had its own gods that should be stuck to exclusively, then why did they engage in this practice? Similarly Radbod the Frisian, an Asatru hero, was going to take baptism to honor his friends’ gods (until a Christian priest said something stupid).”


Tribalist

While Universalism and Folkism are the two main spectrums of the Asatruar community, Tribalism has been suggested as a middle-ground, or a third opinion by websites such as Uppsala Online. There is a confusion of terms here because Tribalists still call themselves “Folkish” Heathens, but they typically are accepting of non-white Heathens among their ranks. They describe themselves as Folkish because they believe that there must be a deep adoption of Norse Culture in order for one to call themselves a Heathen or Asatru. They believe that anything otherwise is just a surface level adoption of Asatru. To become a Tribalist Asatru you either must have Norse/Germanic descent or you must be adopted and oathed into the community. This is similar to Judaism where one is either automatically born into the tradition via bloodline, or converted into the community.


Conclusions

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I think what is important to remember is the character of the Norsemen themselves. They were a people who deeply valued honor, courage, individuality, exploration and growth. Those of us today who feel called to practice the spirituality of these Norse Ancestors will never get to live in the 9th century and will not directly experience the world of the Viking Age Era…unless you build a time machine that is. For those who feel called to the Asatru and Heathen ways, they will be forced to do so in the context of the modern world. Therefore I say it is impossible to practice Heathenry EXACTLY as the Ancient Norse once did.

However, I personally believe that those who feel called to these old ways, will prove themselves via the mettle of their honor – and not by the shade of their eyes or skin. I agree that Asatru shouldn’t be a simple surface level religion, that it should involve a deeper commitment than simply knowing that Thor is the God of thunder or by simply wearing a cool Mjölnir (hammer of Thor) around your neck. Yet if you gauge admission by appearance – is that not very superficial in practice?

We must remember that Thor’s sons, Magni and Modi, were mothered by the giantess Jarnsaxa, and yet they are not only considered divine despite their “impure blood”, they are considered so divine and mighty that they will take up Thor’s hammer after Ragnarok, and become the defenders of men and gods alike (Uppsala Online).

Further Reading

Paganism and Racism

Top Norse Blogs

Living Asatru

13 Odinic Rules of Life

Runes Shall You Know


Heathen Foray – Inner Force

New HD Single was released September 11th

Genre: Melodic, Viking Metal

Country of Origin: Austria

Themes: Norse, German Mythology, Paganism, Fantasy, Battles

If this song doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will. Great driving melodies, powerful clean vocals, Heathen Foray certainly embraced their inner force of creativity for this single.


Ensiferum – In My Sword I Trust

Rise My Brothers! We Are Blessed By Steel!

Genre: Viking Folk Metal

Themes: Legends, Fantasy

Country of Origin: Finland

Interesting Fact: Ensiferum means “Sword Bearer”

WARRIORS EVERYWHERE ALSO ENJOYED THE FOLLOWING ENSIFERUM SONGS

Smoking Ruins 

One More Magic Potion

Lai Lai Hei


Moonsorrow-Sankarihauta

The name of the band was inspired by Celtic Frost’s song “Sorrows of the Moon”

Genre: Folk/Pagan/Black Metal

Lyrical Themes: Paganism, Legends, War, Folklore, End of the World

The band originally started out as a black metal band. Over time they started adding folk elements to their music and eventually Moonsorrow evolved into a pagan/folk metal band. This was evident in their debut album, “Suden Uni”. According to Metal-Archives, they have once again started reaching for a darker sound, starting with the “Verisäkeet” album.

The video for this song was put together by a fan who took clips from “Course of the Ring” by director Uli Edel.

Official Website

Facebook

Metal-Archives


Wardruna Music Video – Løyndomsriss

Genre: Ambient/Folk

Themes: Norse Paganism, Spiritualism, Runes

I’ve already wrote about Wardruna before in a past article. However, I was so awestruck by the power of this video, that I had to share it with you all. As mentioned in my previous article, Wardruna is a group founded by the ex-members of the legendary black metal band Gorgoroth. Wardruna contains much of the same Dark Ambience of Gorgoroth. Wardruna also delves deep into Norse Mythology and uses traditional instruments, natural objects and mystical chants. The video Løyndomsriss evokes much of these ancient feelings.

Interesting Facts: The Wardruna song “Fehu” was the soundtrack for an episode of the History Channel’s “Vikings” series.


Mongolian Folk Music – Börte

Perhaps the group Börte got their name from Genghis Khan’s first wife, who was also named Börte.

HEALING SOUL SPIRIT SONG

 

GOBI

 

LINKS

Boerte Official Site

Boerte Music 

Boerte Videos on Bing


Sava – Wylde Hunt

Genre: Medieval, Folk Music.

Location: Artists are from Germany.

About: The impressive musicians in this band seem to have a wide and worldly scope of musical training. The violinist, Thomas, studied folk music in Ireland and Sweden. The drummer, Benjamin, studied in India. Four out of the five musicians in this band are approved ensemble directors. With that aside, this is some intense bagpipe and flute action that you can definitely rock out to.

LINKS

Sava Homepage

Sava Facebook


Myrath – Tales of the Sands

Myrath means “legacy” in Arabic 

Genre: Progressive Metal with a Middle Eastern Folk Influence

Location: Tunisia

Interesting Fact: Myrath was the first band from Tunisia to be signed on a label (according to Metal-Archives). They’ve also toured with Orphaned Land.

Myrath Facebook

Myrath Official Site


Heidevolk – Ostara

Here’s to Spring! Lift your horn and drink plenty!

(I know I know, I’m a day late, but whose to say that procrastinators can’t enjoy the spring time?)

Also, just a reminder of the Paganfest dates, since Heidevolk may be pillaging a venue near you:

3/30 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
4/01 – Tempe, AZ @ 910 Live
4/02 – West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
4/03 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
4/04 – Reno, NV @ The Alley
4/05 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
4/06 – Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
4/07 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
4/09 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room
4/10 – Regina, SK @ The Exchange
4/11 – Winnipeg, MB @ Zoo Cabaret
4/12 – Saint Paul, MN @ Station 4
4/13 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
4/14 – Columbus, OH @ Al Rosa Villa
4/15 – Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
4/16 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Note
4/17 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
4/18 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
4/19 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance Theater
4/20 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium (NE Metalfest)
4/21 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre


Nechochwen – Allumhammochwen – The Crossing (Native American Folk Metal)

Location: West Virginia

Nechochwen is an exploration of Native American Indian heritage and spirituality through classical guitar, ambient music and metal interludes. The artist is interested in the preservation of Shawnee /Lenape and other woodland tribal traditions. For more information, check out the links below.

Official Page

Newest Recordings

Facebook


A Tree Without Roots

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”A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey


Tengger Calvary 长生天铁骑 – (Nomadic Mongolian Folk Metal)

Listen to this band or Genghis Khan will light you on fire.

Tengger Calvary is a one man band hailing from Beijing China. 天然 (Nature), the man behind the band, is heavily influenced by Mongolian Spirituality. “Tengger” is the high lord, father of the sky. This band presents the ideal harmony between elements of modern metal and Chinese and Mongolian folk. In many folk metal bands, the folk instruments can overwhelm the song: as if to say – “hey everyone! We’re folk metal!” rather than writing a comprehensive song.

Yet in Tengger Calvary, Horse head fiddle, Mongolian throat singing and Buddhist bells work together well with modern elements of metal  – such as catchy guitar hooks, molten hot solos and double bass drumming.

MONGOLIAN THROAT SINGING, MIMICRY OF NATURE

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Mongolian throat singing is the production of more than one pitch in the chest or throat at the same time. The open landscape of Mongolia allows for sounds to carry a great distance.  Often, singers will travel into the countryside looking for the right river, or will go up to the steppes of the mountainside to create the proper environment for throat-singing. The singing itself is connected to an animistic set of beliefs. Animism is the idea that the objects of nature have their own spiritual power. Throat singing takes this idea a step farther, attempting to mimic the sounds of nature. (More information about Throat Singing)

TENGGER CALVARY LINKS 

tenggercalvary

Myspace 

Facebook 

YouTube Video Collection

Metal Archives Listing

Blood Sacrifice Shaman Album

Metal-China-Wiki Article

CURIOUS ABOUT MONGOLIAN SPIRITUALITY? 

tengerism

Check out the Circle of Tengerism


Fferyllt – Yule

Cheesy Video, Kick Ass Song

Genre: Folk Metal

Themes: Paganism, Asatru, Druidism

I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate the day with some Yule themed music. First of all – yes, I know this video is a tad cheesy. And no, I don’t know what 1970’s movie they got the footage of their viking ship from. Nor do I know why their singer is wandering through the woods wearing what looks like a prom dress – or why the guitarist is wearing an Abercrombie shirt in the video of all things! Big folk metal no no!

But with all that said, I also understand that not every band can afford to have thousands of dollars at their disposal for the making of a professional video. Everyone has to start somewhere. Also, I think some aspects of this video were clever. Such as the montage between the casting of the runes to the pushing of dials on the sound mixing board – bringing together elements of the old and the new.

With the video aside, I think their music kicks ass. So much great folk metal comes from Russia these days. I swear, they must have a hidden folk metaler machine in Moscow somewhere.


The Hobbit, When Simple Folk Become Heroes

9 Out of 10 Dwarfs Approve of This Movie. 

 

The significant thing about this movie to me wasn’t just the dwarf battles, the beauty of the elves, or the godly power of wizards. The most powerful thing to me was that in a world full of magical, mythical beings, it is the simple folk who are the heroes. Tolkien chooses Bilbo Baggins, a mere hobbit, to be his protagonist. Bilbo leaves behind a domestic life of worrying about his doilies and when he’s going to eat second breakfast – to running from Orcs, finding treasure, dining with elves, and exploring the depths of Goblin infested mountains.

Why does Tolkien choose a Hobbit for his hero? Gandalf explains:

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of everyday kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”

In triumphing over evil, we often think we need some kind of superman to step in and save the day. That we need the most powerful of armies or the most famous individual. But sometimes the most effective thing, can be a simple act of everyday kindness and hospitality. Even you – yes little old you – can make a difference! How many would be suicides or shooters were prevented by someone who had enough love and kindness to be that person’s friend? How many times has your life been saved by that friend or neighbor who took the time out of their day to help you out?

Hobbit2ndEd

This movie is a reminder to me that we can’t forget the everyday, simple kindness of folk. That perhaps, the modern evils of our time reflect a more isolated society where people take less and less time to help one another out – let alone even know their neighbor’s name. There has been a loss of kinship and brotherhood in this “every man for himself,” “me first,” “consume as much as you can”generation.

It was ultimately the hoarded wealth of the dwarf king Thrór that lured the dragon Smaug to destroy his kingdom. Smeagol too is broken down into a pathetic and lonely creature as a result of his obsession with his precious – the ring. As values shift towards self ascension and money, the world ultimately gets subsumed by a great evil. Maybe we should be a little more like the hobbit and less like a Smeagol in our every day lives.

smeagol

Picture Source


Ensiferum – One More Magic Potion

Top You Tube Comment: “It really looked like medieval Metalocalypse”


Sixty Slavonic Folk Tales

 

From exclusively Slavonic Sources

Check it out HERE