Hlíftstefna (2023) for triple-split treble choir a capella and staff with text and music by Beige Cowell. ca. 3 minutes.
In Viking Era Scandinavia, women played an important role in society via magic. This ‘woman’s magic’ was called seiðr, a practice both feared and highly venerated, even amongst the gods. Seiðr was most often used for divination, giving prophecies of people’s fortunes, harvests, and battles. In order to perform the magic, a Vǫlva (or priestess) would gather women from the local village or those that traveled with her. These women, called galrdakona, would sing galdr, a chant-like vocal style to channel magical energies and connect with spirits.
Hlífstefna, which translates to “Blessing/Summons of Protection” is a chant song written with some of these inspirations. While galdr itself was more sonically similar to a style called kulning, here the voices merge modern and ancient characteristics to create something new. The text, an approximation of Old Norse, is written by myself as a dialogue between the singers/ galdrakona and the foremothers of old.