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Steind: R (2003)

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Steind: R No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Rímur is touted as an ancient Icelandic chant form originating during the age of Vikings. I think that perhaps it is better considered similar to the a cappella ballad singing popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States. While certainly pre-dating that American music, rímur is nevertheless more about telling stories in one voice than conveying simple spiritual concepts.

This rímur form is that of an epic song with its basis in narrative poetry. A rímur can address subjects ranging from tales of ancient warriors, life’s lesson, and songs to the seas to horse purchases. A rímur cycle could last hours, but on this recording are presented in discrete "packets" from famous rímur chants as performed by the greatest living practitioner of rímur, vocalist Steindór Andersen, an Icelandic sailor bent on preserving this art form. The songs are monophonic and very expressive while staying with certain parameters. The language is not a pretty one, but its use in these pieces is still very effective.

For more information, see Naxos World Records .

Track Listing: Altaraimur I; Altaraimur II; Altaraimur III; Epigrams By Jon S. Bergmann; Gunnarsrimur; Andarimur; Epigrams By Bjarni Gilason; Uppinrimur; Jornsvikingarimur; Lysing Afhesti; Bernotusrimur; Haustio Nalgast; Numarimur; Rammislagur; Gongu-Holfsrimur; Jornsvikingarimur II; Lagnaerri; Numarimur II.

Personnel: Steind

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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