Asynje – “Hugormen” (The Vipera Berus).

Hey people! 🙂

I’ve shared a song by a Danish singer with you yesterday, and today we have a Danish band. Asynje is closely associated with another highly successful Danish (and Faroese) folk band called Valravn. Their name, as far as I’m aware, means a female As in Old Norse, with As (plural Asir) being the Old Norse word for god.

The title of this song – “Hugormen” – is the Danish word for a type of snake which is apparently called the vipera berus in English. The Scandinavian name roughly means the striking snake. I haven’t found any translation of the lyrics, but looking at them and trying to deduce things by myself, what I do know is that the lyrical subject is addressing this snake, and I’m pretty sure she’s asking it for something, and my best guess is that she’s asking it not to harm (to “preserve” literally) her and her species, or perhaps her offspring, so then she’ll preserve its species/offspring too. Quite an interesting alliance. As in a lot of Nordic folk, here you can also hear the vocalist (Nanna Barslev) use a vocal technique called kulning, which was, and perhaps still is, used by shepherdesses to call their flocks, or communicate with each other from a longer distances. It literally means cow calling. I guess I’ve never ever shared any music where kulning would be used, and I really like it, hence I’m mentioning it now.

Trollguten – “Skogen” (The Forest).

Hiya people! 🙂

For today I thought I’d share with you one of my recent discoveries when it comes to Norwegian music, which I’ve found very interesting. Even though I don’t speak or learn Norwegian as such, only Swedish, I do seem to feel some kind of affinity with Norwegian music, and a lot of that music happens to be somewhere on the electronic music spectrum. This also is the case with this artist.

Trollguten (which means the troll boy in English) is Norwegian producer and singer-songwriter Kristoffer Björntvedt (or maybe it’s with the Norwegian ø, I’m not sure as I’ve seen both spellings), who has also made music under quite a few other aliases, playing around with different kinds of electronic music, from electro pop to what they call russ music in Norway which is like a dance subgenre I guess we could say, often with easy-cheesy, cringey or downright obscene lyrics, particularly associated with russefeiring, or russ celebration, that is when high school pupils (russ) are in their last semester of school and celebrate the fact that they’re finishing high school and are now adults so they can drink and apparently often do a lot during that time, but from what I understand it’s also just generally party music, regardless whether you’re a russ or not.

I’m not going to mention all the different names/alter egos/whatchamacallit he’s known as, because with at least one of them (the one that’s most successful and under which he makes the aforementioned russ music) he’s anonymous and doesn’t want people to know who he is. Actually, I wonder if it isn’t a bit of a Pulcinella’s secret because, while I myself happened to come across his less well-known music projects first (which is very fortunate because otherwise I’d probably not be encouraged to delve deeper), there seem to be a lot of people in the interwebs who know only this russ music activity of his, and are wondering who he is, and it doesn’t require any special detective skills to figure that out, there’s even a thread about him on what seems to be a pretty popular Swedish forum. Still, I believe privacy is a crucially important thing so I’m not gonna reveal the secret. 😀 I suppose if any young Norwegian/Swedish folks, will be reading this, they’ll guess whom I’m talking about anyway. Also if I wrote the sort of lyrics he does under that particular pseudonym I think I’d also much prefer to stay anonymous, hahah, although for him it’s apparently not this that’s the reason.

Anyways, the first project of his that I’ve heard of, about a month ago, and that also took off quite well in his country as it seems, was Travelle, and I liked it a lot immediately. It’s maybe not what I’d typically listen to, even when it comes to electronic music, but something about it really spoke to me, and also I really like when people are raw and real with their music like that, expressive but without being overly exalted. And then I learned about his other musical activity, and even though definitely not all of his music spoke to me, I really liked his versatility, I always like that in people, whether it’s in music or whatever other area. And I like it when people who do music solo do everything themselves, as then you can get quite a consistent picture of the mind behind it. Another thing that I always appreciate in musicians that he also is is that he’s really prolific. Sadly, the project he’s most prolific in is that russ one, and he hasn’t done anything as Trollguten in ages, and nothing new as Travelle in couple years either, but I suppose he invests himself most in the russ stuff because it’s simply what people want the most, and so it pays off the most, as he hasn’t got quite as much attention with all the other stuff as with that.

And then I also happened to learn that not only does he make music in Norwegian, Swedish and English, but he also apparently loves languages and can speak German and Spanish. Somehow I would never have thought that this could be the case. Moreover, he tends to speak in quite a peculiar mix of Swedish, Norwegian and English from what I’ve noticed. Mixing languages is fun! And I think it must be all the more fun when you live in a country where people can actually understand you when you do so. 😀 I wish I could do that, but everyone around me is monoglot and they’d think I’ve gone even more crazy than ever. On the other hand, I always used to mix up languages spontaneously and involuntarily when I still used to drink alcohol, so maybe it has this sort of effect on him as well.

I think I might share some of his Travelle music in the future as well, but since Trollguten was an earlier thing and it’s also really really good, I thought we’d listen to this first. He’s originally from near Stavanger in the southwest of Norway, although is currently based in Oslo, and as Trollguten, he sang his lyrics in the Stavanger dialect.

I’m not good at understanding Norwegian by ear, and even looking at the lyrics I don’t get everything so wouldn’t be able to translate it for you, but from what I gather, he/the lyrical subject’s on some trip in the forest with a girl, that would have been nice, except she’s being in a quarrelsome mood or something like that, and wants to leave him, so he’s trying to convince her how bad an idea it is, because they’re deep in the forest and because she’s afraid of the dark, and allergic to birch, on top of that.

Fffrrreeezzzing!

Yeah it’s really freezing here today. Snowing almost all the time since yesterday and very icy. My gramma whom we invited today for some time to stay with us almost collapsed on the steps when she was coming in, so slippery it is.

So as you know I had an almost sleepless night. Yeah luckily I managed to fall asleep about an hour after I wrote that post in the morning and had a few hours of sleep. It wasn’t very refreshing, but it was definitely something. Otherwise I would probably become very groggy after some time. We all went to the church in the morning. We went there on foot, it is about 7 minutes walk from us till there, so not that very far, but my leg was burning a lot after I got home. It’s shitty, I thought it healed at least a bit. and then my uncle dropped gramma (my Dad’s mum) to us. I was writing a lot with my pen pals. Also I played with Zofijka for a while. At 4 we went to church again, but now by car. Now as it is Lent, there is a special devotion on each Sunday of Lent related to that in Poland, apparently it doesn’t exist in any other Catholic countries, I think its English title would be something like Bitter Lamentations and it is about Christ’s passion and it is sung. We dropped gramma to her house afterwards and did some shopping. Zofijka felt very sleepy early on and she went to bed about 7 PM so very not like her. She wanted me and Misha to be with here so we were as she was falling asleep, she often wants us to be with her before she falls asleep. I told her a story. I don’t usually do that, only sometimes, but she really likes it. Zofijka’s stories are very special. They are about a fictional creature called Jim, which looks like a human, actually like a 10-year-old boy, but he is a Jimosaurus – the last Jimosaurus in the world and is 10000 years old, despite looking so very young and being so child-like. Jim lives in Australia (Zofijka had a slight obsession about Australia when I was making it all up so hence the location) in a little hut in the forest. He’s the king of that forest and all of the animals there can talk obviously. Jim’s best friend is – Plim – a pretty clumsy, forgetful, awkward and sluggish but very kind-hearted and sensitive koala who rules the forest on Jim’s behalf when Jim’s not there and a bit scating, but incredibly loyal bee called Sophie who is very good at cooking and making different curing mixtures and taking care of animals and people. Jim can eat normal people food and he likes it, but it isn’t nutritious for him. Really nutritious food for him is helping people. When he feels hungry, which happens very often, he takes out his binoculars and leather wings and climbs up on the roof of his hut. Then he looks at the whole world and searches for people or any other beings who may need help. If he finds someone to helps, he takes quickly what he needs, sometimes takes Sophie with him if any medical intervention is needed, puts on his wings and flies there. So as you see poor Plim has to be in charge most of the time actually. So Zofijka’s stories are always about different people or animals or plants or even sometimes things that Jim helps. She always says she loves Jim. But she always falls asleep so quickly that I highly doubt he can hear the whole story.