I had the opportunity to meet Baldrs Draumar and ask them some questions before their show at Cernunnos Pagan Fest !
- Hi Baldrs Draumar ! First of all, happy birthday to your band since you celebrate your ten years for the band !
Thank you !
- Can you introduce the band for the ones who discover you ? Can you explain the band’s name, where does it come from and why did you choose it ?
So our band’s name is Baldrs Draumar, and its roots are in Norse mythology. Baldrs Draumar is one of the main parts in Edda and it’s norse, nordic, and it means « Baldr’s Dreams ». And Baldr is Odin’s son, and he gets his dreams of the Ragnarök, of the ending of all the nine worlds. That’s what our first album is about. So the name comes from Norse, ancient Norwegian, but we sing in Frisian, but we have the same gods.
- Two years ago you were at Cernunnos Pagan Fest for a metal set. Today it’s for an acoustic one. I suppose you don’t have any preferences, but according to you, are there any differences concerning the atmosphere, the way of acting on stage, etc ?
There is a difference. When we’re going with a metal set, we tend to be as warriors of our time with bloodstains and we bring this energy of especially the battles that the old Frisian warriors have fought. With acoustic shows, we tend to be as bards who tell the stories, we tend to talk more with our audience about what we are singing, because both times we sing in the Frisian tongue, our own language, but in acoustic shows we tend to tell the people more about what we sing about.
- You are preparing a new metal album entitled Magnus, how far are you in its preparation ? Will there be some surprises, and when do you think it will be released ?
At this point we are recording, 80% of the album are done, and it should be released in November. And it’s not only a metal album, and it will also contain a comic book. Why, just because of the old tales, there will be a picture and you can know what the album is about. It’s something very different, I don’t know if it has already been done by another band but we did it ! And if you can’t understand Frisian, you can know what the song is about thanks to the picture.
- You said it sooner, one of your main characteristics is singing in your local tongue which is called « Frysk » if I’m right. Could you make a little presentation of this tongue ? And I wanted to know if children learn it at school in the Netherlands, or is it above all a story of transmission from generation to generation ?
So now Frisian people aren’t so numerous, the Frisian region isn’t big anymore, it’s now a part of the Netherlands, a small part in Germany and a small part in Denmark. But when you go back around 700, Frisian people were one of the most fierce tribes, and we were at the economical centre of the world. And we were called « Magna Frisia », it was a really big country, it went from Belgium to the Netherlands through Germany and Denmark. It covered the North sea’s coasts, everything was Frisian, and we were like sorts of vikings, traders, and we have the same old Gods as in the Norse mythology. And from the moment the Christian god arrived on our lands, Frisland began to become smaller and smaller. We aren’t a land anymore but it’s still a province of the Netherlands, a small part, and we still speak the Frisian language. And in our part, it is still learnt to children at school. And we’re coming with our music to bring it a new life again, we want to make the young people learn about the Frisian roots, to be proud of this tongue and our culture. It’s a very very ancient tongue, it’s older than English, it’s one of the older alive languages. You know, back in medieval times, the North Sea was like our highway, it was much faster to travel over seas, so we had good contact with what England is nowadays and with Scandinavia. So our tongue, with our goods, our merchandise, moved to all these places.
- Could you say in Frisian : « We are glad to be in France for Cernunnos Pagan Fest » ?
« Wy bin grutsh om hjirre yn Frankryh te wêzen en op Cernunnos Festival be spyljen ».
- I wondered where do your stage names come from, does it refer to anything special ?
Yes, it does, because we didn’t want to use our real names in the media, so we chose stage names. My name for example is « Dondervuyscht », which means « thunderfist » because I’m a drummer. And there is Vuurschpuwer, which means « firebreather » because when we met him, he was hired by techno festivals to do firebreathing shows. And there is Wildgeraesch, which means « roar », because he’s the singer of course. Finally, Zuypschuyt who is like a guy who comes from the shadows and who murders you.
- Viking thematics are quite important in your music, is this culture important where you live ? It’s true that when we think about Vikings, we don’t think about the Netherlands at first !
Yes, Viking means « travel », so Vikings are travellers, they lived around the North Sea, so Scandinavia, North of Germany, the Netherlands, all those people looked for better lands, they went to trade. When you think of Vikings, you tend to think of people who prayed the old gods, but when we think of the Frisian people, we are one of the last people who hold on to the old gods. When Francs and Saxons started praying the Christian god, the Frisian people stood against that and kept their gods. In Frisian, we call Vikings « wytsingers ». When you look back in the time, because we come from the northern part of the Netherlands, people call us « the people from the North ».
- So it explains why Frisian gods are more or less the same ones as Viking ones.
Yes, for Odin we have Wodan, for Thor we have Þonar, but we have exactly the same gods. But we have some typical Frisian gods that don’t exist in other religions. Forseti for example is Baldr’s son.
- We can hardly speak about folk music without speaking about traditional instruments. Excepting classical instruments in metal music, can you play other ones ? Are there typical instruments in your region or in the Netherlands more generally speaking ?
There are some typical instruments, not a lot in Frisland, but there are a lot of traditional instruments from the whole region we were just describing. For example a simple drum, so we play this kind of drums as well. We have a guitar like an instrument which is called « bouzouki ». We can also play the flutes, animal horns, so we use these instruments as well, and we use the guitar because we need to have a basic line.
- Your country is well represented at Cernunnos Pagan Fest since there is also Vanaheim. I suppose you know each other very well …
Yes, we know each other very well, we played together a couple of times, they are great guys !
- This is the end of the interview, thank you for having answered my questions, and I wish you good luck for your show later !
Thank you !