Sinikka Langeland, Wolf Rune Review
Sinikka Langeland is back with a new album called Wolf Rune. Langeland has worked for decades with the mythological part of the cultural heritage of Finnskogen (“Forest of the Finns”) and is the country’s foremost interpreter of, and advocate for, the vocal folk music from this region of Norway. This work has resulted in several book and album releases. She has been described as “Constantly developing. A world-class performer, Langeland upholds her reputation by maintaining high quality in every detail.” Wolf Rune is Langeland’s second recording for the ECM label and one that sheds new light on her multifaceted works as a Norwegian folk singer and kantele player. Few artists embody the spirit of place as resolutely as Langeland and her songs, compositions, poem settings, and arrangements reflect, in different ways, the histories and mysteries of Finnskogen, Norway’s ‘Finnish forest,’ which has long been both her home base and inspirational source.
Langeland is playing three kanteles, of very different character and capacity, on Wolf Rune. Her 39-string concert kantele, built by Hannu Koistinen, is heard on “Polsdance from Finnskogen,” “Row My Ocean,” “The Eye Of The Blue Whale,” “When I Was The Forest,” “Don’t Come to Me With The Entire Truth,” “The Girl In The Headlands” and “Wolf Rune.” Throughout the album, Sinikka makes full use of the instrument’s five and a half octaves. “The range is almost like an entire piano. Many people are surprised by how big and deep its bass is,” Langeland notes.
“Winter Rune” features both the concert kantele and a 5-string kantele made by Kaijo Säteri. The 5-string is also heard on the two “Kantele Prayer” pieces. Langeland: “It’s a challenge to figure out how much music you can create with a few strings.” A 15-string kantele built by Erkki Okkonen is played with a bow on the opening “Moose Rune” and plucked on “I See Your Light.” In “When I Was The Forest,” the use of an E-bow coaxes new colors and textures from the concert kantele. However, here, too, Langeland keeps in mind music’s time-honored role of responding to and echoing the sounds of nature.Bottom Line: Wolf Rune is a gem of rune songs, spells and incantations, religious tunes, and traditional folk dances, as well as verses that testify to the interlinking nature of all things. With writers from 13th-century medieval mystic and philosopher Meister Eckhart (quoted and adapted on “When I was The Forest”) to contemporary playwright and poet Jon Fosse (“Row My Ocean”), and Langeland’s lyrics, too, have an almost shamanistic vibrancy as on “The Eye of the Blue Whale”: “The eye of the blue whale/It was already here/we were without a body/ swathed in sinew, flesh, and blood/we were without words.” Grace and elegance abound throughout Wolf Rune, and it results in a meaningful listening experience that will connect you with nature and inner peace. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Sinikka Langeland: Website |
April 9, 2021