MYRKUR – Folkesange (10/02/2018 @ Konepajan Bruno, Helsinki)

Event: Myrkur – Folkesange
Date: 10/02/2018
Location: Konepajan Bruno, Helsinki
   
Translation: Giup
Bands:

  • Päivi Hirvonen
  • Myrkur
 

Until the very last I had hoped that Myrkur and Árstíðir would open for Sólstafir in Helsinki as well, on November 13th, but it didn't happen. I was kinda envy, especially because my fellow Aristocrat Giup saw the three of them in Zagreb, but I took the lump and rejoiced for the fact that, at least, Aristocrazia would get a nice live report from it, exactly as it happened. According to my colleague, the Danish singer's superb performance in the Croatian capital city was a bit penalized by the absence of all the orchestrations present on "Mareridt" and by a stripped-down line-up; such a pity, but it lessened my envy over time, eventually.

Some months after these events, Myrkur announced a handful of acoustic folk gigs around Europe and Helsinki, this time, was among the chosen cities together with Stockholm, London and Utrecht. I really wanted to (re)see Amalie, "Mareridt" has become an almost everyday listen for me and folk music is one of those things that resonate with my soul: obviously, even the thought of not being at Konepajan Bruno was out of discussion, also because it would have been the first concert of the year.


Päivi Hirvonen

I didn't have the least idea where the place was, I looked for it on the map and I was definitely wrong, convinced it was in a totally different part of the city. Fortunately, my friend and photographer Marco also planned to go, so we decided to go together — since the lucky dog lives, as I would have discovered moments after, five minutes away from said venue — and I arrived safe and sound, without getting lost, slipping on the ice or sinking in the snow. Talk about goals!

Konepajan Bruno is a fairly big structure, a warehouse basically, where fairs and yoga sessions take place, among other stuff. Definitely not nice-looking, I expected something totally different, I don't know, like a pretty usual venue. After leaving jacket and backpack in the coatroom I see that, despite being practically sold out, there are just a few seats and almost each one of them occupied. Miraculously, and with Marco's help, I find one and, after a couple minutes, I notice it's freezing cold, for fuck's sake. So I spend the thirty minutes between my arrival and the coming on stage — dimly lighted — of the opening act, Finnish artisti Päivi Hirvonen, asking myself if it would be a good idea to go back and take the coat or stay there and suffer: since I live in suffering, I choose the second option.

Päivi comes on stage for a lightning fast sound check and at 20:10 finally starts her performance, for the joy of all of us. I've deliberately chosen not to listen to her beforehand, in order to be hit by surprise, and in fact it was a surprise: Päivi is performing alone, accompanied by her violin and her jouhikko, a traditional Finnish instrument, and amazes everyone with an exceptionally powerful voice, multifaceted and delicate at need. Already after the first song "Viinanpiru" (a musical rendition of what happens when even the purest of souls gets trapped by alcohol) we can hear an ovation from the now fairly numerous audience. The artist introduces herself, talks to us and I feel cold for her as well, since she's wearing half sleeves. The low temperatures don't seem to bother her anyway, and the four songs with which she delights and entertains us flow like spring water: first "Ruskatanssi", dedicated to the falling autumn leaves; then the sad "Eikä Mun Saisi Laulella"; and finally "Ragnarök", with which she tries to interpret musically the moment right after the end of the world, when things are not like we know them anymore and we don't know what's left.

Definitely a nice discovery and we all greet her, with heartfelt applauses, also to warm ourselves. Once home, I went to listen to her debut album, "Alku – The Beginning": a nice one, but it conveys much, much more in a live context. I hope to be able to see her again somewhere.


Myrkur

At 9PM sharp, Myrkur and her supporting musicians for the evening come on stage, adorned with tree branches here and there: there are two of her choir singers, who we had the chance to listen to in some videos published by Myrkur herself on her Facebook page, and Chris Juul (member of – among others – Heilung and Valravn), who plays mandola throughout the evening. Amalie wears a long, sleeveless dress and I feel a bit cold for her too, despite Konepajan Bruno being packed now, with many people standing and other ones sitting in front of the stage, making the photographers swearing in order not to walk on them.

We are then taken through an hour of almost angelic choirs, folkloristic melodies belonging to nordic traditions or original compositions, like "Den Lille Piges Død", played as an encore, closing piece. Everything starts off with "Vølvens Spådom" and "Jeg Er Guden, I Er Tjenerne", taken from the live album "Mausoleum", and I can feel shivers up to my synapses. Myrkur alternates between piano, nyckelharpa, shaman drum and guitar; talks with us, but in a very shy way, revealing herself as a kinda introverted person. Among the songs, "I Riden Så" e "Varulven" peek out, reinterpretations of Gjallarhorn and Germana's songs that go by the same names, respectively; the traditional "Fager Som En Ros", for which Amalie invites Päivi to join her and play on stage; the original piece "Himlen Blev Sort" (final bonus track from "Mareridt") and "Två Konungabarn", performed alone, by herself.

The warehouse in which we are has suddenly a whole new beauty to it, it's not cold anymore and we all focus exclusively on what we're listening to: three perfectly harmonized voices, something which gives me some deep spiritual pleasure, a glimpse of Nirvana; traditional instruments interacting with each other and also a bit of impromptu when Päivi is on stage, since the songs played with her haven't been rehearsed before and are fed to the audience with amazing results. Four Danishes and one Finnish sharing folkloristic moments: almost moving instants, I swear, not counting the perfect acoustics which allows us to enjoy every single aspect of voices and instruments; we can even hear Myrkur whispering her attacks to the choir singers. At the end of the concert we practically wear out our hands, getting a first (and last, as it turns out) encore, and when the background music starts coming out of the speakers we understand that it's over, nothing else we can do. Some Italians sitting behind me comment: «Otherworldy stuff».


A mystical experience, without any doubts. I am exceedingly happy to have witnessed an acoustic Myrkur concert, I couldn't have hoped for anything better. I hope there will be other occasions to see her live, maybe in a theatre just for some eye candy because, as already said, Konepajan Bruno's acoustics was really great. Having no cash with me, I couldn't chip in for the world's economy, buying some merchandise. After finding Marco again, we went to the nearest pub, struggling and carrying his backpack with photocamera and stuff with its broken zip, which failed just a couple hours ago, to check if his card, rejected at the venue, worked. Spoiler: it didn't work.

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