When we put together two of the best Nordic musicians together (Wardruna’s Einar Selvik and Enslaved’s Ivar Bjørnson) in a project like Skuggsjá, we can expect the fusion of two distinct worlds and two different ways to make music about Viking roots and Norse traditions. This project is the result of that combination for 2014’s Eidsivablot event in Norway, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. They decided, luckily for all of us, to record those songs and the result is quite interesting, as it is one of the most desirable records of the year.
The introduction is typically “Wardruna” with 2 atmospheric tracks: “UllKjem” and “Skuggsjá”. Then we enter in the “Enslaved” side with the guitar of Ivar making the debut on the majestic “Makta Og Vanæra (I All Tid)”, and continues on the progressive “Tore Hund”. The ethnic side of this project is always present, as we can count with folk (not festive but more runic so to speak) on “RopFråRøynda – MæltFråMinne”, “Kvervandi”, and “Skuggeslåtten”, an instrumental track that flows really well in our ears, into a crescendo of stunning music. “Vitkispá” it’s a nice presentation of what we can find in this opus to Norwegian culture. Ivar Bjørnsongives vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards to the record, while Einar Selvik gives also vocals, taglharpa, Kravik-lyre, goat-horn, birch-bark lure, bone-flute, percussion, and some electronics.
The album also features contributions from the following musicians: Grutle Kjellson and Lindy-Fay Hella on vocals, Eilif Gundersen on birch bark lure, Olav L. Mjelva on Harding fiddle, and Cato Bekkevold on drums. Featuring a variety of Norway and Scandinavia’s oldest instruments, as well as poetry in Norse and Norwegian, Skuggsjá tells the history of Norway and its people. Is truly a fusion of Norway’s past and present both lyrically and musically.