Four years had passed since Wardruna enchanted their listeners with their mesmerizing debut album gap var Ginnunga, which also was the first part of a planned trilogy.
In the ensuing years, the group spent a lot of time on adapting their music to a live format and establishing a live band.
This resulted in a handful of very special concerts, perhaps most notably when they performed in front of the majestic 1100-year-old Gokstad ship at the Viking Ship Museum in Norway.
With the use of the oldest of Nordic instruments and poetic meters as well as lyrics written in Norwegian, Old Norse and Proto-Norse tongue, Wardruna, after nearly three years in the making, were finally ready to return with the second album in the Runaljod trilogy, entitled Yggdrasil.
Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Einar “Kvitrafn” Selvik had, together with vocalists Kristian Espedal (aka Gaahl) and Lindy-Fay Hella, managed to make a strikingly beautiful and intense continuation of what was started with their first album, but without falling into the trap of merely repeating themselves.
Yggdrasil was also graced with guest appearances by renowned Icelandic composer Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Icelands leading rímur singer Steindór Andersen.
The Runaljod trilogy is a musical rendition of the 24 runes in what is often referred to as the elder futhark.
Some of the recordings are done outdoors in places or under circumstances of significance to each rune. Wardruna primarily use old and historical instruments such as primitive deer-hide frame drums, Kraviklyra, tagelharpe, mouth harp, goat horn, lur and more.
Non-traditional instruments and other sources of sound like trees, rocks, water and torches are also used.
These elements are carefully woven into a rich musical landscape and complemented with whispering voices, melodic song and mighty choirs.
Although Wardrunas music share characteristics with music typically labeled as folk, world and/or ambient, none of these genres can really describe their unique style. It truly must be experienced.
Yggdrasil was written and recorded by Kvitrafn from spring 2010 to winter 2012 at his own Fimbulljóð studio and various outdoor locations.