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For our fourth record, we draw inspiration from various resources: from the silver records and tape-recordings of Iðunn, the Icelandic Rímur Society; to Reverend Bjarni Þorsteinsson’s collection of folk songs; Vésteinn Ólason’s book on folk ballads; tape-records from both the National Museum of Iceland and the Árni Magnússon Institute; as well as private collections.
The nature of folk songs is such that they are passed around from one person to another, and it is safe to assume that they have changed during this process of handling among different performers before taking on a more material form in various written and recorded sources. In light of this, we approach this subject as a dynamic repository and fashion it in our own way.
We wanted to highlight the status as well as the experiences of women, though there is generally a shortage of sources about them in this regard. In our quest, we came across the valkyrie Sigurdrífa’s ancient counsel on how to wield magical runes to – among other things – aid women experiencing the pangs of birth or to win the love of another, and we composed new music that includes selected chapters from the Ballad of the Victory-Bringer.
The poetry on the record comes from various periods, the oldest being from the 13th century, and the youngest from the 19th century. The themes are rather distinct from one another; but all the poets shed light on experiences that reflect the Icelandic climate, the rural areas, the tremendous forces of nature, or the impacts of trauma that are inherited through generations.
Many of the younger poems on our record illuminate these profound experiences, mostly of women, as well as the hardships in Icelandic nature and culture. However, an utter hopelessness does not cast a shadow over these depictions of experiences. Rather, many of the poems also embrace a sense of unfaltering perseverance, tenacity, drive, dauntlessness, and liberation. These are Runes of Salvation.