As the first single of American folk project Hagathorn’s upcoming album “Björndansen” (The Dance of the Bear), we give you “Hvittenland”.
While most of the record consists of material derived from traditional folk music, “Hvittenland” is one of two tracks which are not traditional pieces but rather original Hagathorn songs inspired by Nordic folklore and fairy tales. The tunes and underlying concept are so closely intertwined that the composition progresses with the story and the melodies follow the plot. Invoking hidden magic through enchanting music, “Hvittenland” transports listeners to an ancient land few mortals have ever seen.
Will Ott commented:
There is more to this world than what we see. As folklore tells us, at certain times of year our world can cross paths with other lands and beings of a magical nature. “Hvittenland” is one such land, as known from the Norwegian fairy tale De tre prinsesser i Hvittenland. This tale and its themes are the inspiration behind the Hagathorn composition and music video for “Hvittenland”. It stands to remind us of the hidden and unseen magic in this world that we can discover if we just learn how to listen to nature and to truly see.
“Björndansen” (The dance of the Bear) is the new album by Hagathorn, a folk project by American musician Will Ott. The material is largely derived from traditional Nordic folk songs which feature added improvisation and thematic elements to compliment the original melodies. Two of the tracks are not traditional but rather original Hagathorn compositions inspired by Nordic folklore.
The atmosphere and aesthetics of “Björndansen” are conjured with a historic sound driven by rhythms from an older era. Mystery and melodies from the past intertwine to invoke feelings of magic, ancient forests, and rural antiquity.
“Björndansen” will be released as a CD-digipak by Nordvis on June 3, 2022. All instruments featured on the album – mandola, gothic harp, hammered dulcimer, viola, octave mandolin, cello, and bass viol – performed by Will Ott.
When Will Ott founded Hagathorn back in 2018, he sought to conjure through music the essence, magic, and folklore of poetic landscapes such as old hedges, homesteads, meadows, and forests. Will is directly inspired both by residing on a historic farm and spending long hours out in the woods and fields working, observing, drawing, writing music, and recording the sounds of nature. When he’s not performing his own original compositions, Will prefers to pay homage to historical music by playing songs written long ago.
Through historic and original folk compositions and arrangements, Hagathorn’s essence is imbued with old enchantment, nature, and folklore. One of Hagathorn's undertakings is to transport listeners to a more poetic time and place, such as when our ancestors were more harmonious with nature. The spirit of Hagathorn endeavours to breathe life into feelings and emotions from forgotten times, helping us to rediscover our connections to the old magic that is still alive within us.
1. Metsän Kuningas (Trad. Finland Arr. Hagathorn) 2. Björndansen (Trad. Sweden Arr. Hagathorn) 3. Skog Brudmarsch (Trad. Sweden Arr. Hagathorn) 4. Polska från Hälleforsnäs (Trad. Sweden Arr. Hagathorn) 5. Ängsälvor 6. Vänner och Fränder (Trad. Sweden Arr. Hagathorn) 7. Hia Hia Svärmor (Trad. Sweden Arr. Hagathorn) 8. Stures Schottis (Trad. Sweden Arr. Hagathorn) 9. Hvittenland