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Traditional European music making a comeback in pop culture?

by Kyle Rogers

Photo Right: The Latvian band Skyforger incorporates traditional instruments with guitars and sings uplifting songs about regional folklore.

Celtic, classical, and various other forms of traditional European folk music are being re-introduced by modern heavy metal bands. Especially in Europe.

Members of the Swiss based Eluveitie dress like Gallic warriors in concerts. They play heart-pounding “death metal” infused with uplifting traditional Celtic music. Their lyrics are about Celtic mythologies and holidays. Some of their songs are sung in an extinct Continental Celtic dialect.

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The cultural resurgence is not limited to just the style of music. Kari Reuslatten, a leading female pop star in Norway, was attacked by the “mainstream media” in Norway for being “too nationalistic” for her songs praising Norwegian culture. She also recorded heavy metal remakes of traditional Norwegian folk songs. Liv Krull, another well-known Norwegian singer recently dedicated an entire album to the story of Leif Ericson.

Despite Norway’s far-left socialist government which outlaws freedom of speech and condemns the displaying of its own flag as “an ultra-nationalist provocation,” much of Norway’s popular music is crying out for Norwegians to return to their cultural roots.

In Finland, the band Amorphis has dominated charts for well over a decade. Each album combines Finnish folktales and mythologies with intricate and talented guitar work. Their albums have created interest in Finnish history among legions of fans in Europe and North America. I was fortunate to see Amorphis live on one of their American tours.

Another Finnish band Korpiklaani sings about Finnish folklore and incorporates traditional folk music. Below they perform a song at a major outdoor music festival in Europe.

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Bands from every corner of Europe, from Portugal to Russia, that are embracing uplifting styles of music and moving lyrics about our heritage.

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While most “neo-traditional” bands are from Europe. The Los Angeles based band Flogging Molly incorporates traditional Celtic and Irish Pub-style music with modern heavy metal. They pack huge venues with all white audiences ranging from teenagers to people in their 40’s and 50’s. Lately they have been including in major outdoor festival tours. Many fans even wear kilts to their concerts. I have seen them live three times. Their live performances are phenomenal and will ruin the albums for you.

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Other culture resurgent-based bands you may like are Tyr from the Faeroe Islands, Otyg from Norway, In Extremo from Germany, Arkona from Russia, Skyforger from Latvia, Heidevolk from the Netherlands, Thompson from Croatia and many more. Many bands buck the established major label protocol of singing all their songs in English.