Hello everyone! It’s Meredith, and I’ll be posting more often about some of my favorite new music, and what I’m listening to when I write. I usually listen to soundtracks and instrumental music, but sometimes I stumble onto a song or album that I can’t get enough of, and it inspires a character or dramatic moment in one of my novels. I have playlists for all my novels on Spotify, and am constantly looking for new music, so let me know what your favorites are right now!
This week my favorite album is Vikings Memories, the newest one by SKÁLD, a French group who sings in the tradition of Old Norse/Scandinavian/Viking folk songs. (Their name itself means ‘bard’ or ‘poet’ in Old Norse.) They write and arrange most of the songs themselves, but some of the lyrics are taken from the Norse and Icelandic sagas. The whole group is an incredible ensemble, but the two standout stars are the main singers, Justine and Pierrick.
Justine’s powerful voice leads most of the songs, and she also sings in the background in a haunting chant style. Pierrick’s voice is so deep it almost doesn’t register unless you’re listening on headphones or really good speakers, but it has such strength and raw feeling.
My favorite tracks are Norðrljós and Fimbulvetr.
Norðrljós means ‘Northern Lights’, and the flowing strings and rhythm certainly evoke the aurora rippling through the night sky. The lyric video is a gorgeous visual of this, and gives a sense of the spellbinding language too. The lyrics speak of the Northern Lights as the bridge to heaven, the Bifrost, and there’s a wistful sense of longing in the text and music.
Fimbulvetr is a slightly darker sounding song, and the lyrics tell of the return of winter and long nights. One line says: “wind-time, wolf-time, the sun grows dark,” so it’s not exactly a cheery song (even though the final lines do mention spring returning soon.) The video is a wind-swept journey in itself, and the voices and instruments come together in a really haunting way.
The whole album is great, with some songs providing the perfect soundtrack if you’re writing an epic battle scene (like Sækonungar or Hafgerðingar), or others are perfect for quiet meditative moments (like Sólarljóð). Even if you’re not writing anything Norse-inspired (I’m not at the moment, but it’s certainly giving me some ideas. . .), give SKÁLD a listen, and be transported, even if just for a little while.
I’d also definitely recommend you check out their first album, Vikings Chant, which also has some gems!
Let me know what your favorite music is in the comments below, and thanks for reading!