A music post: music from the arctic, Norway, Australia, Scotland, and Finland


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I suppose I haven't posted any music lately. I've been listening to a lot of stuff though, here are some things on repeat:

Sapmi by Torgeir Vassvik is an amazing album, though it's throat singing of sorts, so it's a bit of an acquired taste. Torgeir is from Finland and is Sami, the indigenous people of the Scandinavian high arctic. He combines overtone singing and joiking, which is a traditional Sami technique meant to capture the the essence of a person, place, thing, animal, or phenomenon. I own quite a bit of arctic music and this one really brings me back to the Arctic more than any other. I can feel the sighting of the bear in the pine-wood forest in the song Bjørnen / Máddu or the sound of rushing water in a mountain brook in Water Song / Siiggát.

Here is more music I suppose is an acquired taste...bagpipes:

The bagpipes are not just Scottish, you can find them in a great many countries from the Middle East to Estonia. Unfortunately, the art of bagpiping has died out in Norway, but Elisabeth Vatn has resurrected them admirable, combining them with some interesting jazz and country influences on her album Piper On The Roof. 

I am a huge fan of Martyn Bennet and have been for some time. Sadly, he died quite young of cancer a few years ago. I had some of his other stuff, but just acquired this album recently. Glen Lyon remixes songs sung by his grandfather and mother in Scots Gaelic, a language I know a little of, but even if you don't you can enjoy this album. One of my favorite songs is "Cave of gold":

An ancient Hebridean legend tells of a famous piper who goes into a cave to find out why it claims so many lives. From deep within, his pipe music echoes out, telling those listening that a green fairy-demon is attacking him. This surreal song imitates the pipes and begins "It's a pity I didn't have three hands, two for the pipes and one for the sword." The chorus repeats his promise to return.

In more contemporary pop music, I've been enjoying Making Mirrors, by Australian artist Gotye

It's quite an eclectic album, but I really love the videos that have come out so far for the album, such as Bronte, which is about the loss of a beloved pet, but the video takes it to a whole other level of lush gorgeousness and wistfulness...

Speaking of wistfulness rediscovered this animated gem recently in my old Youtube favorites. It was done by Italian animator Bruno Bozzeto and is set to Sibelius' Valse Triste from Kuolema for orchestra (Op 44). It is quite a haunting reflection on the inevitability of losing things: