Heilung, the Nordic Folk Collective’s Riveting Fall Tour in North America

Alex de Borba

Alex de Borba

Heilung, a band that has captivated audiences worldwide with their unique blend of music and historical immersion, is a phenomenon that warrants academic exploration. The band’s name, derived from the German word for “healing,” is a testament to their philosophy of creating music that transcends the boundaries of time and space, offering listeners a therapeutic experience rooted in historical authenticity.

Heilung was formed in 2014 by Kai Uwe Faust, a German tattoo artist and expert in old Norse culture, and Danish producer Christopher Juul. Later, Norwegian singer Maria Franz joined the duo, completing the band’s lineup. The band’s formation was driven by a shared interest in historical periods, particularly the Iron Age and Viking Age, and a desire to recreate the sonic landscapes of these eras.

Heilung’s music is a unique blend of ambient, folk, and experimental genres, with a strong emphasis on historical authenticity. They utilize a wide range of traditional instruments, including drums, bones, and swords, as well as human bones, reconstructed historical instruments, and various types of throat singing.

Their lyrics are derived from a variety of sources, including runic inscriptions, historical texts, and even preserved spear shafts. This commitment to historical accuracy extends to their live performances, which are designed to be immersive experiences that transport audiences back to the Iron Age.

Heilung’s musical journey began with their debut album, ‘Ofnir,’ which was self-released on June 2nd, 2015. The album introduced the band’s unique blend of ambient, folk, and experimental music, rooted in the sounds and stories of the Iron Age and Viking Age. Despite being self-released, ‘Ofnir’ managed to capture the attention of a global audience, earning the band a dedicated following. The album’s success laid the groundwork for Heilung’s future endeavors and set the tone for their subsequent releases, and was later reissued in 2018 on Season of Mist.

Heilung Returns USA Fall Tour 2023

Heilung’s second album, ‘Lifa,’ was released on December 1st, 2017, under the record label Season of Mist. Unlike ‘Ofnir,’ ‘Lifa’ was a live album, capturing the immersive nature of Heilung’s performances. The album was a testament to the band’s commitment to historical authenticity, featuring a wide range of traditional instruments and lyrics derived from historical texts and runic inscriptions. ‘Lifa’ was met with critical acclaim, with reviewers praising the band’s innovative approach to historical music and their ability to transport listeners back in time.

Heilung’s ‘Futha,’ was released on June 28th, 2019, also under the Season of Mist seal. ‘Futha’ marked a departure from the predominantly masculine energy of their previous work, focusing instead on the feminine and its role in Norse mythology.

The album was a bold exploration of gender dynamics in Norse culture, featuring songs that celebrated the power and complexity of the feminine. ‘Futha’ was met with widespread critical acclaim, with reviewers praising its innovative approach to historical music and its exploration of gender dynamics in Norse culture.

As the latest addition to Heilung’s discography, ‘Drif’ was released in 2022 under the Season of Mist seal. The album continues the band’s tradition of creating music that is deeply rooted in historical authenticity. Like their previous albums, ‘Drif’ likely features a blend of ambient, folk, and experimental music, utilizing a wide range of traditional instruments and lyrics derived from historical texts and runic inscriptions.

Given the band’s previous work, it is plausible that ‘Drif’ continues to explore themes from the Iron Age and Viking Age, possibly delving deeper into specific aspects of these periods. The band’s previous album, ‘Futha,’ focused on the feminine and its role in Norse mythology, marking a departure from the predominantly masculine energy of their earlier work. It is possible that ‘Drif’ continues this exploration of gender dynamics, or perhaps it introduces new themes and concepts.

As with all of Heilung’s work, ‘Drif’ is likely more than just an album; it is an immersive experience that transports listeners back in time, offering a unique journey into the past. The album’s reception, given the band’s dedicated global following and the critical acclaim of their previous work, is likely positive, with listeners and critics alike praising Heilung’s innovative approach to historical music.

In addition to their discography, Heilung is also known for their unique live performances. The band recently announced a 10-date tour in the North America, starting on October 17th at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts in Greensboro, North Carolina, and ending on November 5th at the Mission Ballroom in Denver, Colorado. The setlist for this tour will feature songs from the band’s entire discography, including their latest album, ‘Drif.’

Heilung’s commitment to historical authenticity extends beyond their music to their concern for the environment. As part of their upcoming tour, they have announced that one dollar from each ticket sale will be donated towards reforestation efforts in various regions around the world, demonstrating their dedication to environmental sustainability.

Heilung’s work is deeply influenced by the cultures and histories of the Iron Age and Viking Age. They draw upon a wide range of historical sources, from Norse mythology to archaeological findings, to create their music. Their approach to music creation is akin to historical reconstruction, aiming to recreate the sounds and experiences of these historical periods as accurately as possible. This commitment to historical authenticity sets Heilung apart from other bands in the folk and experimental genres.

Heilung is more than just a band; they are a musical time machine, offering listeners a unique journey into the past. Their commitment to historical authenticity, combined with their innovative musical style, has earned them a dedicated global following, and as they continue to explore the sonic landscapes of history, Heilung promises to remain a fascinating subject of academic study.

Their discography, while concise, is a testament to their commitment to their craft, each album a unique exploration of historical periods and cultural influences. From their self-released debut album ‘Ofnir’ to their most recent release ‘Drif,’ Heilung has consistently pushed the boundaries of traditional music, offering listeners a unique journey into the past, and also as they continue to produce music, their discography will undoubtedly continue to be a rich source of academic inquiry.

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