Gjallarhorn – “Herr Olof” (Master Olof) & Nordman – “Herr Olof Och Havsfrun” (Master Olof And The Mermaid).

Hiya people! 🙂

So recently I’ve shared the music of quite a few Nordic folk artists with you, and I thought we’d stay in this Nordic folk climate for a while yet. The song I want to share with you is one of the first Swedish folk songs that I’ve heard of. Herr Olof (or master/sir Olof in English, Gjallarhorn translate it as master so we’ll stick to it here) is a young knight, who one day decided to visit the court or homestead of a mermaid. She greets him very happily, stating that she’s awaited him for fifteen years, and then proceeds to ask him all sorts of nosy questions – where he was born, where his family live, where are his fields and meadows etc. etc. but most importantly “Where do you have your fiancee, with whom you want to live and die?” Herr Olof has one answer to all these questions, that he has all these things and people at the king’s court. Then the mermaid finally lets him in and gives him “the clearest wine” to drink, after which herr Olof actually changes his mind and decides that all he has is now at the mermaid’s court, and that she is the one with whom he wants to live and die.

Usually, if I share two or more versions of the same song with you in one post, it’s because I can’t decide which one I like more. It’s not the case here though. I’m very partial to Gjallarhorn’s version, because I love Gjallarhorn in general, but I also do like Nordman’s version because this is the first version of this song that I’ve ever heard and I thought it would be interesting for people to compare perhaps. This is also one of very few songs by Nordman that I actually like, because their way of mixing folk and pop together just doesn’t speak to me. Of course I’ve nothing against mixing folk and pop, I often love it, but I simply don’t like the way they specifically do it with most of their music, it feels a bit cheesy.

When it comes to Gjallarhorn, it is thanks to them that I developed an interest in Finland Swedish, or at least the amazingly cute accent that Finns have when speaking Swedish. The band’s members are all Swedish-speaking Finns, but I didn’t know it when I first came across the music, so I was very amazed hearing the vocalist’s accent, and then I figured out why she sounds the way she does and that she’s Finnish, I decided to have a deeper look at finlandssvenska and totally sank. It’s just such a cute accent! The name Gjallarhorn means hollering horn in Old Norse, and refers to the horn belonging to Heimdal – the watchman of the Norse gods – who, according to the Norse people’s beliefs, was to blow this horn during Ragnarok, so loud that the whole world would hear it.

Gjallarhorn – “Herr Olof”:

Nordman: “Herr Olof Och Havsfrun”: