Byrdi are back with their single celebrating the winter solstice ‘Solsnu’ where the central theme is the recurring cycle of death and rebirth. This is represented thematically as a duel parallel of the end of world at Ragnarok and its rebirth and also on a temporal level at the solstice where the old year dies to be renewed or reborn again. The lyrics are based upon the Voluspá but stylised and reformed by the talented Nash Rothanburg.
It begins with the jawharp setting the trance-like pace as the deep, male chanting begins retelling the Nordic spiritual and mythological account of Skoll consuming the sun when the darkening days are grim, cold and deaf. The stars will fall from the sky to make way for the new days and season to come. Freki runs, the bloodstained Garm strains against his fastened ropes, the bright-sworded Surtr to blame and we go again, repetitive and recurring where the land and the seas once again weep and the eagle soars over the waterfall a second time and so on. It is accompanied with the fiddle and percussion that weave their magic through the tale.
All is recounted as an incantation – a Nordic hymn in reverential praise to the sun. It has a deeply spiritual quality and evokes both the feelings of empowerment yet of caution and of fear. Byrdi (translated as a burden – in life or the accountability through our lives we have to carry) are probably one of the best Nordic folk acts around. Their beauty lies in their diversity to create such contrasts between the dark and the light – of which they can musically depict with ease. They stir the soul and arouse the imagination perhaps romantically making us mindful of the gods but more aptly they reconnect us to nature. Blessed with living a rural life in the wilder reaches of Norway surrounded by lakes, woodlands and mountains, the band are wholly authentic and serve as a medium to connect all of us to that ideal through their music wherever we may reside.
‘Solsnu’ is a work of remarkable, yet simple, craftsmanship and is thoroughly recommended to all those who seek a spiritual path and immerse themselves in the cathedral of the forest or the shrine of the mountain peaks far above the mundane.