Danish composer, vocalist and classically trained multi-instrumentalist Myrkur (a.k.a. Amalie Bruun) has always paved her own path and challenged underground preconceptions of heavy genres. Just after newfound motherhood, Bruun set out on a journey into the very heart of the Scandinavian culture that marked her own childhood with the release of her new album, "Folkesange". Due out March 20 via Relapse Records, "Folkesange" relinquishes black metal for a refined yet far-reaching evocation of traditional folk, combining songs ancient and new to sublimely resonant effect.
Today, Myrkur has unveiled lead single and album opener "Ella" which she explains is "the result of years of studying, playing and listening to traditional Nordic folk music. This is my version of a new folk song, with roots planted in history and in the past. It is my ode to mankind and our connection with nature — a rite of passage as a woman and a rebirth ritual in the sea."
She continues: "Three years ago I decided to share a video where I performed an old Scandinavian folk song on the nyckelharpa. After this, I realized that I had a strong need to create an album within this universe and that other people also wished to hear this. So I started working on picking out what old songs to reinterpret as well as write my own version of this. 'Ella' is this."
On Myrkur's first two full-length studio albums (2015's "M" and 2017's "Mareridt"), she recast black metal in the most personal yet expansive of terms, their blending of Bruun's Danish folk roots with tempestuous internal struggles breathing new life into a subgenre whose followers can be rigidly possessive.
After the nightmare-induced visions that wrought themselves throughout 2017's immensely acclaimed "Mareridt", "Folkesange" offers an emotional sanctuary, a means to reconnect to something permanent and nature-aligned. It's an awareness that's become deeply bound to the album's organic, regenerative spirit.
Storytelling, rites of passage, and the invocation of a continuity that passes through time and generation are all part of folk music's tapestry, and "Folkesange" taps into all these currents in their most essential form. In part a purist's approach to the genre, free from over-interpretation and fusion, the use of Kulning (an ancient Scandinavian herding call) and traditional instruments throughout, such as nyckelharpa, lyre and mandola offer a deeper, more tactile connection to their source, an unbroken line of communication back to the past.
But the album is no museum piece; it resonates in the here and now, aided by the spacious production of HEILUNG member and musical collaborator Christopher Juul. Cinematic yet intimate, "Folkesange" exists in a state of boundless reverie, bourne by string-led drones, cyclical, elegiac rhythms and Bruun's frictionless voice, all carrier signals for deep-rooted, ancestral memories, and associations felt on an elemental level.
An immersive experience in its own right, but also belonging to a wider, pagan folk-based renaissance that has attracted a devoted following worldwide, "Folkesange" answers a need that has become ever more pressing in turbulent times. A zeroing in on a resonance that is both intrinsic and enduring, it's a rediscovery of personal grounding, and an experience that reaches beyond culture to remind us of a shared, deeply rooted inheritance. A tuning fork that binds the personal and the universal, "Folkesange" is a reminder that the most transcendent experiences are those closest to home.
There will be several "Folkesange" limited deluxe vinyl versions available.
"Folkesange" track listing:
02. Fager Som En Ros
03. Leaves Of Yggdrasil
05. Tor I Helheim
07. Harpens Kraft
09. House Carpenter
11. Gudernes Vilje Vinter
Photo credit: Shawn Brackbill