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odin's raven magic (february 2002)

sigur rós have revealed details of 'odin's raven magic', the special event planned as part of the barbican's only connect series of concerts. the group will again be working with hilmar örn hilmarsson, the composer with whom they collaborated on the soundtrack to the acclaimed icelandic film 'angels of the universe', to present a brand new work based on a lost chapter of the bible of norse mythology, the edda.

the new work will be performed by the band with the london sinfonietta orchestra and renowned choir the sixteen. they will also be joined by steindor andersen, the icelandic rhymer who has previously guested with the band at some of their shows. there promises to be a strong visual element to the performance.

the band are also planning a 20-minute choral version of 'njosnavelin', a song currently being recorded for their forthcoming third album, which has recently featured to considerable effect at the dramatic climax of the movie vanilla sky.

the edda was originally an unwritten oral history of heathen and early christian scandinavia, where the region's isolation led to a long changeover period to organised religion around 1000ad. the stories, myths and legends of heroic deeds and nordic strife were collected together by persons unknown sometime during the 12th and 13th centuries, before being recorded by danish scholars during the 17th century.

in the 19th century the authenticity of one of the chapters was questioned by a later generation of academics, and 'odin's raven magic' was excised from the text, adjudged as a 15th century fake. now some 150 years later new research has concluded that 'odin's raven magic' was indeed authentic and this autumn it is finally being reintroduced to the edda. it is the loss, and subsequent rediscovery, of this hidden history that sigur rós and hilmar örn hilmarsson are marking here.

as well as bequeathing the world the well-known legends of gods such as thor, loki and, of course, odin himself, the edda also serves as source material for much of the current vogue for all things middle earth. gandalf, the wizard at the centre of lord of the rings is drawn from the edda.

'odin's raven magic' at the barbican will be supported by a programme of related cinema screenings, which is still being confirmed, but which is likely to include angels of the universe, as well director fredrick fridriksson's previous oscar-winning film children of nature and both sigur ros' award-winning promos.

tickets for the evening are available from the barbican box office on 020 7638 8891 / prices: £10.00, £13.50, £17.50.

sigur rós are currently recording the follow-up to their breakthrough 'agaetis byrjun' album (fatcat) at their studio in mosfellbaer, iceland. they will also be performing 'odin's raven magic' at the reykjavik arts festival on may 24th.

links (the edda)

links (hilmar örn hilmarsson)


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