Hey guys! 🙂
I’ve been planning to share this Norwegian folksong with you for ages, but somehow never did it in the end, so finally that’s what I’m doing today. This is one of the first Norwegian folk songs I’ve ever heard and instantly fell in love with it, the version I heard first was the one by Kirsten Braten Berg, and I just loved the harmonies in it, the way it sounded and just the general feel of it, even though I could understand barely anything out of it and it didn’t make too much sense. Usually if you can speak Swedish, you can understand Norwegian well enough that you can at least figure out the context, but my Swedish was only crawling at the time and even now I can’t really understand much out of it on my own, I guess because the lyrics are quite archaic.
Last year I also heard Helene Boksle’s versioon for the first time, Helene Boksle is a well-known Norwegian singer to me whom I like a whole lot and have shared a
in her interpretation ages ago, so you may or may not recall her.
I really love both versions of this song, so, like I often do, I had a hard time deciding on one, and in the end chose to share both of them with you, as they are quite different from each other. Kirsten Braten Berg’s feels more raw, solely with the accompaniment of Ale Moler, and Helene’s is more rich and contemporary. Both are very expressive in their own, different ways.
The song is about a young girl called Heiemo – I couldn’t find any information on the origin of the name so it’s possible that it’s somehow changed and functions in a different form these days or fell out of use. Nykkjen is a creature in Norwegian, but also generally European folklore, also known as Neck, Nokk and lots of other similar things. It is some sort of a water sprite which “by default” has the form of a water-horse, but is also a shapeshifter, and it likes to lure people to the water with singing and music, quite like sirens, and then kill them. So this Nykkjen creature fell in love with Heiemo upon hearing her singing, and decided to kidnap her and then kill her. But things turned around and Heiemo courageously stabbed Nykkjen to death.
Below is the translation of this song that I found
apparently written by a lady called Sheila Louise Wright.
– wake up you noble youngsters-
The Water spirit heard it, striding on the sea,
– Because you now have overslept –
Heiemo sang her poem, it was singing in the hillside
The Water spirit heard it, the pagan dog.
The Water spirit spoke to his helmsman:
“You steer my ship upon christian land!”
“I will go upon christian land,
the beautiful maid I will have.”
He then enters her house
with high hat and rosy cheek
The Water spirit danced and Heiemo sang her poem
it pleased all folks in the houses
“Now every one has to go to his own home,
Heiemo I bring with me on the ship.”
“Heiemo, Heiemo, quiet your wrath,
You should sleep on water spirit’s arm.”
She stabbed the water spirit in his chest,
the nail ran into the root of his heart.
“Here you lay water spirit, naked to raven and dog.
Still I have my singing need.”