La Mandragore ensemble
Tireless seafarers, the Vikings roamed and traded across the known world from Iceland to the Mediterranean Sea, flourishing as a culture, creating mythical stories, and influencing a number of European traditions.
La Mandragore, a historical five-member ensemble from Québec, Canada, imagines the music of the Vikings had they had the time and leisure to notate it. Playing folk instruments from the Mediterranean and Scandinavian regions, and singing songs and tales in Swedish, Norwegian, Old Norse, and French, the ensemble presents an authentic and eclectic collection of Viking-inspired music on their debut Big Round Records release, MIDGARD.
The title of the album, the Norse word for “middle-earth,” emphasizes the traditions and stories of the Scandinavian culture, with music setting ancient Scandinavian dances such as the polska and halling in pieces like Alexs Polska and Seans Dancer, as well as folklore and stories about warriors (Kassias Saga), outlaws (Grettis Saga), and shepherdesses (Ingrieds Lilja).
Enthusiastic, engaging, and expressive, La Mandragore capture the voice of a culture that disseminated throughout Europe, masterfully playing Scandinavian folk instruments such as the sackpipa and the nyckelharpa (a Swedish keyed fiddle), while displaying their modern sensibilities and aptitude.
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La Mandragore distinguishes itself in two ways: its energic and contagious dynamism and its approach to the music, equal parts musicological rigour and modern creativity. The group presents unique arrangements of ancient melodies and of world folk music on a panoply of heterogeneous instruments, from the crumhorn to the nay, from the ud to the bouzouki and the gaida, and a whole range of percussion instruments.