Man, I've been at this blogging thing a year and three-quarters and I've only mentioned Hedningarna in three posts. I'm not much given to absolutist statements, but one that I will make is that Hedningarna's Tra is the best album released in the nineties (Nirvana and Oasis fans, please send me your home addresses, so I can personally administer beatings to you if you disagree). The beauty of Tra is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts- as great as the individual songs are, listening to the entire album (from haunting opener Täss'on Nainen to sweet closer Tina Vieri, with such tracks as the rage-flecked howl of Min Skog and the joik-inspired Tuuli along the way) packs a punch that the individual songs just can't match.
Here are some videos of Hedningarna performing live on Spanish television while at the height of their powers, when the band was fronted by two unearthly Finnish vocalists. I'm going to post all four parts, and you'd best watch them all, if'n you know what's good for you. Turn the speakers up to eleven, my dears! Part one features the songs Vettoi and Joupolle. Check out the groovy instruments, including a small bagpipe and a bizarre hurdy-gurdy type thing:
Part two of the performance comprises one song, Suet Ulvoo- check out that weird fiddly thing featured in this performance, have you ever seen the like? It looks like something Dr Suess would have cooked up:
Part three opens with Ukkonen, a "spell" to raise thunder (Ukko being the Finnish equivalent of Zeus), and continues with Pornopolka (don't drive while listening to this song- it "enheavies" the foot), a different sort of "spell" entirely:
The performance closes with the song Gorrlaus, a sultry number which, ostensibly, is about a nighttime horse-ride:
So, you watched the videos, now go out and purchase Tra- if there's one album which has the BBBB Top Quality Guarantee, this is it. I'm going to close this post with a shout out to my great and good friend J-Co, who first heard Hedningarna when he purchased a sampler CD from Northside Records which had a large sticker on the front reading "CHEAPER THAN FOOD". The sampler CD included the track Räven on it, which inspired J-Co to buy the album. Within six months, everybody in our circle of friends had purchased it as well.