Týr: faroese tradition in heavy metal

This is the translation of an article written by our admin Heathen, published on the most important italian site about Scandinavian languages and culture.

The article deals with the faroese tradition in Týr’s music. You can read the original article, in italian, here



Týr can without doubts be considered the most important ‘ambassadors’ of the faroese culture and language in the musical field. The band was created in 1998, by Heri Joensen, singer, guitar player and main composer. In few years the band produces albums full of norse mythology and faroese tradition.

How Far To Asgard, the first work dated 2002, contains a modern version of a popular faroese song, Ormurin Langi, while the second album is dedicated to the Eric the red’s saga. In their latest album, Valkyrja, we can ear a song about the Grindadráp, the whale hunt. Land is the richest album in scandinavian texts and faroese music:  Gandkvæði Tróndar,  for instance, is a poem by Djurhuus, revolving around the figure of Tróndur I Gøtu.

Even though the style of the band changed through the years, from a more progressive metal, to a faster and catchy one (also thanks to Terji Skibenæs’ techinal skills on guitar), their main characteristic never faded. All their lyrics are always related to norse mythology, without a religious fervor that other bands tagged as ’viking metal’, often have. For the band the norse mythology is seen as cultural heritage, not as a religion.

What makes Týr different from the long list of viking metal bands is actually their feroese culture. Many songs are sung in their mother-tongue, taken from popular ballads (like Ólavur Riddararós, Fipan Fagra or Regin Smiður) or based on feroese melodies, re-arranged by Heri Joensen.

It is the frontman of the band that explains their attitude on their official site:

“We play traditional music dating back to the Vikings, that is not preserved anywhere else in the world, not even in Iceland, is passed on in an oral tradition here and it is still alive and well. That is what we build our music on and draw great inspiration from,”

The band repertory also contains some songs in danish, norwegian and icelandic (Ramund Hin Unge, Sinklars Visa and Brennivin) and some songs based on non-faroese melodies. Valkyrjan for instance,is based on Solveig’s Song by Edvard Grieg, taken from Ibsen’s Peer Gynt.

Týr can be proud of their status of main ’feroese cultural exporters’. They do are the most famous artists from the archipelago, considering that faroese musical scene is really active and often relies on their own culture.

Many people got interested in the feroese language and culture, thanks to Týr’s songs. The growing numbers of the fan base can also be good for a raise in the interest in this tiny nation.



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