DENMARK (FAROE ISLANDS): Slør - Eivør
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
An angelic voice which penetrates into the soul amidst a backdrop of danceable rhythms inspired by her tiny nation's nature and people
Folktronica, which was once an experimental fusion genre, has swept into the broader public consciousness in recent years, with artists from within the mainstream dabbling with it as audiences become accustomed to their sound. From the increased inclusion of more electronic elements to the work of groups such as Bon Iver, Milky Chance, and alt-J through to the more pastoral sounds entering seasoned electronic impresarios’ work, such as that of Dan Snaith (in his various incarnations) and Four Tet, the public at large have had moments of exposure to the genre. Yet, without wishing to discredit artists who have dabbled with the style, there seems to be a lack of either confidence or more likely inspiration to pursue such a sound. Then came the Nordics…
“...she is crying out with the voice of her ancestors who maintained the land for her, as well as singing on behalf of her neighbours who rightly feel that their traditions and culture that they are proud of should be appreciated outside of their own tiny islands.”
There is a common point of view that exists amongst much of the region’s most highly-esteemed musicians that nature plays a vital role in influencing their sound and when it comes to folktronica that is very obviously the case. Take a listen to artists such as Aurora or even Björk and one can clearly hear the inspiration that is drawn by the wondrous surroundings that they grew up in. Halfway between Aurora’s Norway and Björk’s Iceland lies perhaps some of the most awe-inspiring nature known to man, the autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark - the Faroe Islands. The incredibly beautiful archipelago is home to an amazing coastline full of high peaks, ironically unlike their parent country which has a rather flat terrain. It was no surprise to learn that the Faroese as such have an incredibly rich musical culture. Waking up every day surrounded by a sense of natural wonder, many Faroese citizens chose to channel that creative energy into music.
Yet, what is it that separates star Eivør from both the rest of her compatriots, propelling her to international stardom like no other, but also from other Nordic artists who play within the same genre? The answer to that first question is not meant to be disparaging to other Faroese musicians, but rather a recognition that Eivør has an almost unique timbre to her voice that gives her the X-factor that many people are just simply not born with at birth. However, this seems like an awful contradiction to what one might hypothesise is the reason that perhaps makes Eivør superior ahead of other Nordic folktronica stars; the very fact that Eivør hails from such a tiny nation with its own unique culture and language places an extra pressure on her to proliferate the beauty of the Faroe Islands through her music, thus giving her an edge over her folktronica counterparts. Though this incongruence might seem difficult to compute, both things may be true at the same time and Slør might just be the proof of it.
Despite still being very young at the time of release, Slør was seemingly Eivør’s umpteenth album release. However, for the first time in her career Eivør released an English-language version of the album alongside it. Whilst, the English-language version is certainly digestible, as the music remains, of course, of a high-quality, Eivør seems to lack something which the Faroese version contains. My spine tingles when I listen to her on tracks like Í Tokuni Brotin, Røttu Skógvarnir and my pick of the bunch Verd Mín, in a way in which it fails to do in English. It is no wonder why her powerhouse vocals on Trøllabundin were in fact kept on the English-language version of the album. My theory is that, though the lyrics speak to me about the deeply relatable sense of wanderlust that Eivør has, not being engaged with the meaning of the lyrics is part of the beauty of the album when sung in Faroese, as it instead feels like she is crying out with the voice of her ancestors who maintained the land for her, as well as singing on behalf of her neighbours who rightly feel that their traditions and culture that they are proud of should be appreciated outside of their own tiny islands. Though musically the album is clearly evocative of the nature of the land where she was raised, with epic compositions such as Mjørkaflókar and Í Tokuni, in some respects what elevates the album is the pride for her fellow countrymen combined with her God-given vocal talent.