The excitement is palpable in the impressive queue stretching out in front of the mythical Parisian venue. That evening, the public awaits the sold-out performance of the Nordic/pagan music collective (sometimes billed as “experimental folk”) Heilung.
Like their precursors of Wardruna directed by Einar Selvik, Heilung has been delighting an increasingly wide audience with their music and their timeless universe for several years, honoring not only the sounds of Northern European countries, widely acclaimed thanks to the success of the Vikings series, but also a form of art of living strongly marked by the spirituality that they advocate through not concerts, but ceremonies.
To accompany them in the performances of this tour, two artists of great quality, chosen with taste and about, Eivor and Lili Refrain.
Text and photos by Tetralens (tetralens.com)
After a short tour of the lower room and the balcony with the Heilung scenographer, I see the place filling up constantly, for an almost full gauge when the stage lights are already rising on the appearance of Lili Refrain.
A total discovery for me. This little piece of female orchestra, alone at her turntable of loops, succeeds in a few minutes in captivating an initially more or less skeptical audience.
The Italian artist is distinguished by a rather personal and relatively new musical style, combining a multitude of heterogeneous influences, not agglomerated, but woven with finesse, giving rise to a result at the crossroads of dark wave, folk music , and mild psychedelia; we feel like a Dead Can Dance or Arcana filiation, but in version 2.0 slightly infused with electro arrangements.
Anyway, the result is immersive and captivating, and we leave the set with the strange impression that the tracks, whether from Mana, his 2022 album, or the three previous opuses, have left their mark on us.
The virtuoso artist from the Faroe Islands is here tonight as a quasi-soloist; indeed, only a keyboardist accompanies him. On a short excerpt from his discography, Eivor (Pálsdóttir) takes us on a journey and interprets titles highlighting his very particular timbre in a vocal journey as crystalline as it is guttural.
She begins the set with the relatively new track written as the theme for The Last Kingdom series, and ends it with the gem of tradition and vocal technicality that is Trollabundin.
The minimalism of the majority of the titles, the play of light, underlines its charisma beyond its music, and offers a suspended parenthesis of rare elegance.
- The Last Kingdom
- I Tokuni
After a relatively short break, the room fills even more with an impatient audience, and fills with wisps of smoke, giving the atmosphere a special vibe. In a sober and calm entrance, Kai Uwe Faust, Maria Franz, and the whole collective come together on stage. This gathering turns into something special. And we understand that we have switched over to the time of the ceremony. This first phase is not considered by the collective as a performance strictly speaking, but rather as an immersive premise for them and for the public.
The first track played, In Maidjan (extract from Ofnir, 2018), puts you directly in the mood of Heilung, with these phrases punctuated on percussion like heartbeats, against a background of windy breaths both beautiful and disturbing . A slow progression of more than twelve minutes that envelops us.
The next piece, Alfadhirhaiti, is the logical continuation of this dive into a suspended time, awakening in us a kind of collective consciousness, the impression (or the memory) of a connection to others and to a nature still alive somewhere.
After Asja, the opening track of Drif (2022 opus), I have the pleasure of seeing Krigsgaldr back on stage. I was told that the staging had become more complex. And while I’ve seen Heilung perform multiple times, here the richness of movement, performance, and lighting effects make the ceremony incredibly immersive. Like a complex and contrasting masterpiece, a sort of work by Gustave Moreau, set to music, the sound of which awakens the deep self, the instinctive.
With a majority of tracks from Ofnir and Futha (from 2018 and 2019 respectively), the set puts little emphasis on the last album, Drif, but thus maintains a coherent progression. The interpretations of Norupo and Traust, or Svanrand, generate a frenzy on all sides in the public which has mostly joined the collective trance.
On Hamrer Hippyer, the energy spreads absolutely everywhere in the room, and the public accompanies this last song with a rather impressive standing ovation.
A superbly organized and interpreted evening, vibrant and intense, in a bubble that is both timeless and yet which awakens our instincts deeply linked to nature and to others.
- Opening Ceremony
- In Maidjan
- Hamrer Hippyer
- Closing Ceremony
This article was written by Tetralens, who is also the owner of all the photos you have seen above.
Tetralens is a photographer based in Paris. If you want to chat with her about her work and/or collaborate with her, you will find all her information below!
TETRAlens brings together all the expressions of my photographic work, recent or dating back several years. I mainly present an extract of my captures of live concerts, mainly from the stage Metal and Rock, as well as a small overview of my other photographic subjects, such as landscapes, details and architecture. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to capture through my lens what my eyes wanted to immortalize: the sharpness of a light, the strength of a moment, the softness of a gaze, the energy of a moment, those things that make the world more beautiful. From a very young age, this passion has followed me in my daily life or in my travels, my eyes constantly looking at nature, cities and people as a source of inspiration to nourish my artistic expression. The most emblematic channel being live music, the events through which the human is a vector of the most positive vibrations.