WILW: Wardruna

What do I even say about this group.

Maybe I should start with the fact that I am in no way of Scandinavian descent. DNA tests on me reveal that I have, sadly, absolutely no claim to the Viking tradition or heritage. This depresses me for a multitude of reasons, not least of all that I can’t point at this music and say, “This is the music of my people.”

The more I listen to Wardruna, however, the more I come to question that. Scouring the comment section of anything published online (but perhaps most notoriously, videos on YouTube) is a reliable way to get a first-person tour of the gutter of humanity. I frequent comment sections to watch the dumpster fire. YouTube comment sections are like a series of never ending, slow-motion train wrecks without any real casualties. They are the best, and worst, kind of entertainment.

Yet it quickly became clear that the comment sections on Wardruna videos was different. Comments with thousands of likes voiced feelings eerily similar to my own: lamentations that they could not claim the music for themselves; declarations of love for a language they did not speak; awe; wonder. “All my life, since I was a teenager, I knew I was born in [the] totally wrong country and most importantly, in [the] totally wrong century” one user posts. The comment section agrees. I agree. I like the comment. I restart the music video.

Wardruna might not be the music of my people, but it’s certainly the music of my soul. It calls me home to a place I’ve never been, filling me in equal parts with fear and wonder. It is not to be missed. (If you want a more mainstream introduction to Wardruna, check out this incredible collaboration performance between Wardruna and Aurora, performing the song Helvegen, made famous in the television series Vikings.)


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