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Gjallarhorn Ranarop / Call of the Sea Witch album cover
3.98 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro (0:20)
2. Konungen Ochtrollkvinnan (The King and the Enchantress) (5:27)
3. Herr Olof (Master Olof) (4:20)
4. I Fjol Sa (Last Year) (3:10)
5. Solbon/Askan (Prayer for Sun/Thunder) (6:32)
6. O-Vals (Non-Waltz) Nyland (3:38)
7. I Riden Sa... (Ye Ride So Carefully) (4:37)
8. Sjojungfrum Och Konungadottern (The Mermaid and the Princess) (6:57)
9. Folkesongen (Folk Song) (4:30)
10. Elviras Vals/Oravais Menuett (Elvira's Waltz/Oravais Minuet) Traditional (5:10)
11. Eldgjald (Gjalder Song) (4:18)
12. Ramunder (4:14)
13. Kulning (Calling) Traditional (2:02)
14. Eqilogue (1:11)

Total Time: 56:26

Line-up / Musicians

- Jenny Wilhelms / lead vocals, fiddles
- Jakob Frankenhaeuser / didgeridoo, percussion, mandola, vocals
- Christopher Öhman / viola, fiddle, mandola, vocals
- David Lillkvist / percussion

Guest artists:
- Okay Temiz / tablas, darabouka, finger cymbals, slagverk, percussion
- Tomas Höglund / backing vocals
- Marcs Söderström

Releases information

CD Elektra/Asylum 19627 (1998)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Buy GJALLARHORN Ranarop / Call of the Sea Witch Music

Ranarop: Call Of The Sea WitchRanarop: Call Of The Sea Witch
Finlandia 1998
$198.91 (used)
Ranarop: Call Of The Sea Witch by GjallarhornRanarop: Call Of The Sea Witch by Gjallarhorn

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GJALLARHORN Ranarop / Call of the Sea Witch ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(62%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

GJALLARHORN Ranarop / Call of the Sea Witch reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Gjallarhorn are a band that have shown a strong interest in percussion since their beginning, and there are several such exotic sounds on this (their debut) album. Turkish jazz musician Okay Temiz appears as a guest and is credited with playing the tabla, darabouka, finger cymbals and “slagverk”, which I think is a generic term referring to any combination of instruments that one happens to pound on with a stick or mallet. This gives the album a world music sound and a musical range that the band themselves didn’t quite have the expertise to pull off at that point in their career. But they would remedy that by adding master percussionist Petter Berndalen to their lineup by the time they recorded the follow-up to this album.

I guess there’s a central theme here focused on Norse mythology and folklore, as is most of Gjallarhorn’s music. In fact, the album was named as Finland’s 1997 folk CD of the year, and the group was named folk band of the year. That’s really what established them for the rest of their career. But unless you know Swedish, Finnish and whatever obscure regional dialects some of the lyrics are printed and sung in you will have to rely on translated song titles and your imagination to figure out what Jenny Willhelms is singing about.

As with their other albums Ms. Willhelms’ voice is striking, wide-ranging and expressive without becoming shrill (for the most part), as sometimes happens with female Nordic singers. She also seems to sing more on this album than on the subsequent three, perhaps because there is noticeably less instrumental variety here than on those records. The band seems to be working to find their sound and doing an admirable job, but with not quite the sense of purpose that ‘Sjofn’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘Grimborg’ would have.

I’ve compared these guys to Garmarna before and probably will again since it’s a valid comparison, and even more so with this album on songs like “I riden så...” where the Turkish percussion is not so noticeable and the band’s more fundamental Nordic folk sound comes to the forefront.

There is one tendency on this album that I found a bit annoying, and it surfaced again on ‘Grimborg’ so is worth mentioning. With some of their more mellow tunes (relatively-speaking of course – this is folk music after all), the band offers up nothing more than one or two instruments (typically some sort of hand drum and some bleats from their didgeridoo), then Ms. Willhelms languidly chants out some old Nordic folk tale. The real problem is that the instrumentation is so sparse that not only is the mood of the album lost, but those songs are actually quite hard to hear so you’ll want to be close to a volume knob as you listen to this record. “Sjöjungfrun och konungadottern” is the most noticeable song like this, but “Kulning” suffers from this as well. Speaking of “Kulning”, Willhelms does some of her trill pagan chanting on that one – that’ll make your hair stand up.

I’m sure this album is more important to Swedish and Finnish folks than to someone like me. I like this band, and although some of their later albums suffer from overproduction and what seems to be too much focus on mass appeal, this debut is a great snapshot of a band in the process of becoming something cohesive, articulate and special. Progressive folk fans will undoubtedly find this record enchanting, as will most world music fans. Four stars for an excellent debut, and well recommended to those types of people I just mentioned.


Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The first album by the celebrated Ostrobothnian quartet (named after the 'Yelling Horn' of the mead-drinking Old Norse deity Heimdallr) opens with a sudden burst of aboriginal revelry, sounding not unlike a band of night clubbers party-crashing a pagan fire ritual. It's a compelling prelude, not just to the album itself but for the career of a new and exciting group of musical time-travelers, embracing their antique Scandinavian heritage from inside a modern recording studio, without a trace of anachronism in sight.

Their debut is the most traditional of the band's four albums, but in truth the Prog Folk category is only a flag of convenience, hoisted over the Gjallarhorn page in these Archives because no one has yet defined a sub-genre called Progressive World Music. The group (now defunct) made its home in a Swedish-speaking corner of Finland, while cultivating strong spiritual ties to a much wider span of Nordic myth and history, expressed with a cultural integrity that bands like Dead Can Dance (fellow travelers, but tourists by comparison) only dream about achieving.

Thus, the prominent didgeridoo: an odd choice for instrumental support in a group so far removed from outback Australia, but not unheard of in Scandinavian folk music circles. Here the ancient aerophone functions almost like a second vocalist, in stark contrast to the soaring voice of Jenny Wilhelms, and capable of a growling, coughing virtuosity all its own, sounding like a barely domesticated animal recalling the freedom of its life in the wild.

I had to blush when re-reading that last observation, clearly made while under the album's almost transcendental spell. But I'm letting it stand, as a reflection of the music's hold over a sensitive listener. The delicate ballads ("I Riden Så..."); the urgent prayers for sun and thunder ("Solbön-Âskan"); the medieval folk tunes, minuets, and fables...all combine to keep the distant past alive and vital, in a form no less fresh than they were, centuries ago.

And, as a welcome bonus, the album was re-released in 2002 with an extra track: "Reindeer Dreaming", part of a soundtrack to a documentary film by Antii Haase. The movie follows a tribe of indigenous Australians invited to attend a local arts festival in Finland: a true meeting of far-flung kindred souls, concluding an album that also feels like a surprise visit from close friends you never knew existed.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Ok. I first heard this through library's collection and it was a hit! Before Gjallarhorn I was listening to a Swedish group Garmarna for awhile and liked it a lot. But when you find something as good and enjoyable from your own country, it surely is a moment of pride and happiness. I bought th ... (read more)

Report this review (#32014) | Posted by | Tuesday, October 12, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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