Krauka

Krauka

BandFolkWorld

Using implements of destruction and pillage ranging from hide drums to shawms to jew’s harps to chainsaws and axes, this Nordic quartet hacks into the Scandinavian permafrost to dig up songs of battle and giants and drinking and dismemberment.

Biography

www.krauka.dk
www.myspace.com/krauka1
http://www.last.fm/music/Krauka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_73FiM9XNc

Since the release of their first album and continuing with the following two albums, Krauka (Gudjon Rudolf, Aksel Striim and Jens Villy Pedersen) have followed their own quite unique agenda.

On their debut album Vikinga Seidur, they sought to faithfully recreate the tones and songs of the Viking era, using inspiration drawn in equal parts from compositional and instrumental archeology. On the follow-up album Stiklur they opened up for a more modern universe of sound by mixing both electric and electronic elements and including more of their own compositions. Their new album makes a surprising connection between past and present, blending a progressive modern musicality with thousand-year old tones in a tasteful dish which bears the title Bylur .

In Rudolf’s Icelandic mother tongue, the word ”bylur” has the double meaning of ”noise” and ”snowstorm,” an ingenious play of words. Not only because the CD is partly recorded in Iceland, with its both beautiful and violent weather—but also the fact that the tracks themselves often turn to the Nordic forces of nature for their inspiration. Sun, snow and ocean are the natural inhabitants of these tracks, which seem to flourish outdoors, where the campfire burns and the dance is on, followed by a Viking dip in the ocean. In many ways, we delve so deeply into the Nordic memory, that nature is truly a shaping force, both when the snowstorm rages and when the sun tingles gently on the skin.

In comparison with Krauka’s earlier, more tradition-bound albums, Bylur makes something of a “noise” in that the group, while retaining the instruments of the Viking period, have really stirred things up. Not that tradition has been pushed to the background, the tracks still resound with strong, poetic male voices, rebec, hand drums, Jewish harps, lyres and flutes, and they still draw on Icelandic text sources and medieval song tradition. On several of the numbers they use an ambient background with an often harsh and ominous electronic sound and the ancient instruments are forced to play modern melody patterns, and the sound of the electric guitar is naturally interlaced with the sound of the past. In several places a sampler is used —the most revolutionary instrument of our times—to form collages of background sounds, which match those we can encounter in the most experimental end of electronic music, but which quite naturally drift into Krauka’s universe. On one number, electronic and hand-played rhythms combine to form the whirling base for a sort of medieval rap. Many of these surprise elements are a result of the close cooperation between the band and the producers Thorkell Atlason og Henrik Corfitsen. Out of this fusion a new, cohesive beauty has been created: as simple and earthy as the soil of the North, but often riddled with a magic and a longing, which is just as familiar to us as it was to our distant forefathers - and not least imbued with an infectious feel for everything which makes life worth living, for better and for worse—from the pricking of food on your tongue to the stormy soul of battle.

Bylur is the past at its most radical—and the present where it delves deepest into the soil. It is an experiment without many parallels in modern music, played by three actually quite old-fashioned musicians with the joy of their work tattooed on their souls—and with a captivating, folk sound, which at the end of the day is hardly foreign to even the most hardcore avant-garde fan . It is a door, which allows us to recognize both what we were and what we are becoming in our times, when the world has come knocking with new sounds and impulses. It is the row, the snowstorm, and so infinitely much more.

Discography

2002: Vikinga Seiður
2004: Stiklur
2006: Bylur
2009: Odinn

Set List

We have about 60 songs (20 of them are traditional nordic songs and melodies, mostly from Iceland and Denmark).
Concerts: one hour (or two sets) with good amplified vikingrock and folkmusic
Vikingmarket: 3-4 30 minute acoustic sets a day and finishing with nordic chaindance
Schoolconcerts: 45 min. of music, storytelling and dance