Skáld is the name of the new French Nordic folk band that, in a short time of exposure on the Internet, has attracted a significant following.
The project originated when composer-producer Christophe Voisin-Boisvinet found a trio of talented singers, whose voices, according to him, had atypical timbres: Justine Galmiche, Pierrick Valence and Mattjö Haussy. Together, they decided to delve into the poetic world of the ancient scalds, the poets, musicians and storytellers of the High Middle Ages, similar to the bards of the Celts. For this purpose, they sing songs in Old Norse that tell the story of the Vikings and their gods.
Skáld’s mission is precisely to bring this legacy to life. Thus, they seek to insert the listener into a sound landscape that is evocative of those times. Using tribal percussion, with shamanic drums of different sizes, they seek to exalt martial strength and victory. They also use animal bones and deer horns as elements of percussion, in addition to the lyre, the talharpa, the citole played with a bow, the jouhikko and the nyckelharpa. With this diverse set of instruments, they bring to life the richness of Scandinavian musical culture.
The group’s inspirations come especially from the poem Völuspá from the Poetic Edda and the first part of the Prose Edda, Gylfaginning. The texts were adapted and transformed into music by Christophe Voisin-Boisvinet and deal with the Scandinavian cosmogony and episodes involving the gods of Asgard.
Skáld has as its main mark the work of its three vocalists Justine Galmiche, Pierrick Valence and Mattjö Haussy. The trio studied the vocal techniques used by scalds from the surviving records of that period. With this ability, they use all the power of their voices in a deep and organic way. A highlight should be given to vocalist Justine Galmiche, whose voice really embodies this description as few do out there.
Galmiche, Valence and Haussy have different musical backgrounds. In common, they share the mastery of singing techniques and knowledge of Scandinavian cultures. The three play ancient instruments, studied ancient languages, or participated in historical reconstructions of the Viking Age. They argue that the present moment of interest in the period is far from being a passing trend. Instead, it is a lifestyle to be practiced daily.
To date, the group has released five of the thirteen compositions on the Vikings Chant album. The album will be released on January 25, 2019 on vinyl and CD. It can already be pre-ordered.