Northern Lights – The Frozen North (Viking Sand Art And Music)

This brief article is concerned with the promotion of a truly beautiful project depicting sand art in combination with authentic folk music reminiscent to the Viking Age. Northern Lights – The Frozen North is an artistic audio-video production recalling ‘the story of the Sons of Arngrim who set sail for the Shetlands in a freezing December. They got stuck in the ice and after there was no crumb left to eat they decided to play the dice. The loser would become the food. The skipper lost the game. The ice melted right after that cannibalistic meal and the ship was set free. But what to do without the steersman? Then a dove, or was it an angel landed on the ship mast and guided them home.’

This well crafted body of work delves therefore deep into the tragic tale of the sons of Arngrim on through their voyage to the Shetland archipelago (situated to the northeast of Scotland) at some point during the early Middle Ages. The sand artist magically depicts the brothers’ fated voyage to Hjaltland (i.e. Old Norse for Shetland) with great talent and insight.

Excerpt from the Northern Lights – The Frozen North. Image source: Youtube

Furthermore, the folk song performed in the Youtube video down below is ‘Dei Frealause Menn’ (i.e. The Mariners in Distress), a Norwegian version of a widespread ballad recorded from the folk tradition of Norway. The vocal and instrumental music is performed by The Frozen North (Tuireamh Mhic Fhinin Duib – Dei Frealause Menn) and by Northern Lights (please check www.lorcanmacmathuna.com).

Throughout much of the Viking Age, the Shetlands were a key transit archipelago to the Norwegian Vikings on their way to both other parts of the British archipelago or to Iceland. Some of these Norwegian Vikings eventually settled these islands as centuries went by, thereby creating an important Norse cultural heritage that would last to the present day (hence, there is no wonder that the flag of the Shetlands is a Dannebrog-based one). Last but not least, Hjaltland means ‘Hilt land’ or ‘dagger land’ in Old Norse.

For more related work (including sand art), please also see Colette Dedyn’s Youtube channel. Enjoy!


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