Norwegian Folk Rockers Gåte release their new music video “Hemnarsverdet”. Hemnarsverdet is an old Norwegian folk tale hailing from the region of Telemark. It is a story about a personal vendetta, blood revenge and the fatal consequences of these motifs. Watch the music video HERE!
A stranger arrives at a gathering of people with a serious errand.
He’s looking for the man who took the life of his father. Faced with his father’s murderer the stranger begs his sword for aid in his lethal mission. The sword answers that it must be forged and made much stronger first. When this is done, the stranger swings the sword and kills – not only the murderer, but also all the others present including an infant.
Making the stranger beg the sword to stop in the name of God. The sword stops and says that if he had not mentioned God’s name, the stranger himself would have been killed.
The fact that the sword seemingly acts of its own free will and kills relentlessly, is a telling expression of how much damage blood revenge could cause, and that only the word of God has the power to put an end to this savagery.
Gåtes song is based on a written version of this tale from 1853.
In the video the stranger seeking revenge is dressed in black, while the murderer is dressed in white. Soon a battle commences between the two men, starting off with Halling, a traditional Norwegian folk dance, before they fight to death.
Though the deadly outcome of the dance may seem farfetched in this day and age, the reality was quite different back when Hemnarsverdet was sung far and wide.
In fact, in the 18th century more than 50 killings were recorded as a result of battels between Halling dancers. Which may also explain why some of the songs from this era also depicts Halling and Halling music as sinful and dangerous activities, where you were likely to be lured into sinful actions or alliances with the Devil.
With “Til Nord”, Gåte deliver an emotive and epic collection of tracks, revisiting some of their own classics and adding a new track as a taste of great things to come. They are delving even deeper into the musical past of their country, with a contemporary approach.
Listen to the EP in its entirety here: https://orcd.co/tilnord
Order CD or LP here: Gåte – Til Nord
The work Gåte with loving respect have put into their songs is both breathtakingly bold and an amazing listen. By deducting keyboards, electric guitars and modern drums, Gåte have shifted their focus to a more archaic percussion style and acoustic instrumentation.
Gunnhild Sundli’s exceptional vocals, which played a major role in catapulting the band to stardom in Norway, have confidently been reduced in complexity, but gained in folk-attitude and expression.
In stylistic terms, the transformation can be explained as a shift from Folk Rock to Nordic Folk. Yet Gåte remain true to themselves even when exploring new possibilities in the musical territory pioneered by acts like compatriots WARDRUNA or Faeroese singer EIVØR PÁLSDÓTTIR.
The first single and opening track ‘Kjærleik’ is the perfect example of how the band have transfigured their sound. If you play the old and the new version of ‘Kjærleik’ back to back both pieces remain unparalleled and unique in their own way. and woriginal recording of ‘Kjærleik’ remains to be an outstanding piece. Both are clearly labelled Gåte and revolve around a traditional axis and complemented by a modern reinterpretation; but where the original remains outstanding in its originality, the rework amazes with its fresh perspective.
Gåte were founded in 1999 by violin player and keyboardist Sveinung Sundli who quickly recruited his sister Gunnhild Sundli as the singer. Sveinung’s violin and Gunnhilds unique vocals brought a firm base in traditional music to the sound, which was complemented and contrasted by modern instruments such as bass, drums, and electric guitars.
The resulting Folk-Rock blew minds and detonated ears.
With the self-titled EPs “Gåte” in 2001 and 2002, and their debut album “Jygri” (2002), the band from Trondheim exploded onto their country’s music scene. Their records and acclaimed fierce liveperformances rewarded GÅTE with the Norwegian Grammy (“Spellemannsprisen”) for best new band, and their music ravaged the charts.
With their sophomore full-length “Iselilja” (2004), Gåte started to gain international recognition, but singer Gunnhild Sundli moved on to pursue other career paths. Without her outstanding folk influenced, wide ranging vocals that are equally at home in rock and jazz, the Norwegians went onto a hiatus – despite charting again with their live album “Liva” (2006).
During their absence, Gåte´s stature kept growing as no other band could fill the gap the group had left behind. So when, out of the blue, the band announced a return to the stage with a tour in 2017, the tickets sold out at record speed. And with their third album, “Svevn” (2018), the Norwegians once again underlined their exceptional status and musical prowess.
Now, instead of comfortably resting on their well-deserved laurels, the band – who has always been eager to break new ground and expand their artistic horizon, dare to explore a new fascinating path as illustrated by “Til Nord”. At the beginning of an exciting journey into the uncharted corners of Nordic folk, Gåte stand firm on home ground as they present yet another stunning masterclass of musical innovation on “Til Nord”.
The Vikings return, and this time they bring beautiful gifts.
Gunnhild Sundli – Vocal
Magnus Børmark – Guitar, vocal, percussion
Sveinung Sundli – Hardingfele (main instrument from Norwegian folk music), violin, pedal organ, vocal and percussion
2. Hemnarsverdet 3. Horpa
5. Til deg