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Country of origin:

Sweden, Finland

Type of music generally:

Electrified folk/rock, traditional (and trad—based)


Most recent release, & (2012)

See also:

Wikipedia's entry on Hedningarna


Garmarna, Gjallarhorn, Värttinä, Väsen

Covers/own material:

Own and trad—based

General comments:

The female singers in Hedningarna are Finnish. The rest of the band is Swedish. they sing in both Finnish and Swedish. (

i've tracked down a band called hedningarna who have two albums out that i know of. the first is extremely hard to come by (which i have not, but would like to). the second is called kaksi! and is quite enjoyable. they basically reinterpret traditional songs (and a few originals) in a modern context. two women provide vocals. it's really quite fascinating. (

My all-time favorite band of Nordic maniacs. Hedningarna play some of the most intense and expressive music I have ever heard. If I don't hear one or two of their pieces every day, I start twitching and develop nervous tics.
     One anonymous reviewer put it most succinctly: "Primal rumbling reverberating through time.... Listening to Hedningarna's music, is like eating black bread tainted with ergot and hallucinating with a bunch of peasants from a Breughel painting.... Drawing from the ancient runosongs (poem-songs) which date to pre-Christian times, their melodies and lyrics tell tales of love, maidens and magic..."
     I spent a good deal of my early youth hallucinating with a bunch of peasants, and trust me; these people are ten times more fun, even without the ergot. 8-) (

And as for Swedish/Scando bands, have you already talked about the fab fab amazing Hedningarna (sounds like Head in a garden). Simply amazing. Earlier albums feature folk mixed with rock/eclectic, amazing female singers and harmonies, very tribal, fourth cd is just the guys, all trance ravey and also incredibly great. (

Recommended first album:

Kaksi! or Trä


  • Hedningarna (1989)
  • Kaksi! (1992)
  • Trä (1994)
  • Kruspolska: SASHA mixes (1994)
  • The Heathens Fire (1996, compilation from Kaksi! and Trä)
  • Hippjokk (1997)
  • Remix Project (1997)
  • Karelia Visa (1999)
  • 1989—2003 (compilation, 2003)
  • & (2012)


Release info:

1994—Silence Records—SRSCD 4721/Northside Records—NSD6008



Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Sanna Kurki-Suonio—bass drum, vocals
Björn Tollin—tambourine, drums, percussion, stringdrum, saw, programming, vocals
Anders Stake—hardingfele, fiddle, Swedish bagpipes, bowed harp, hurdy gurdy, flute, Jew's harp, vocals
Tellu Paulasto—hurdy gurdy, fiddle, vocals
H&aecuate;llbus Totte Mattsson—lute, mora—oud, hurdy gurdy, vocals

Guest artists:

Wimme Saari—joik (9)

Produced by:

Hedningarna, Dag Lundquist


There's a peculiar division in foreign (to me) music between stuff which I immediately 'get' musically, and other sounds which I remain completely confused by and disinterested in. Not too much inbetweenness. As well as being due to some musical traditions sharing a history with familiar western music, groups that combine rock with noises from the 'don't get it' category often produce music I like on first listen.
     Due to mislaying my favourite two Garmarna albums for several months, and not yet 'getting' Värttinä, I've been listening to Hedningarna lots. The pounding drums, guitars (and opening motorcycle or chainsaw?) of frantic 'Min Skog', the chanting against drones, and then rousing melodic instrumentation of 'Tass' on nainen', the strings and jumping vocal melody of 'SaglaTen', none of this sounds too strange to bounce around my living room to. There's so much life in this album. There is too much—so many instruments, the women's voices, a very different deep man's voice, it is dizzying, but being overwhelmed by something so vibrant is what you need on a drizzly day.
     Garmarna are probably easier if you want to step into Scandinavian music bit by bit. (

hedningarna comes highly recommended by me. trä is pretty great. (

The Heathens Fire

Release info:

1996—Sony Tristar/Silence—WK 36756


Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Hállbus Totte Mattson—lute, mora-oud, hurdy-gurdy, vocals
Björn Tollin—framdrum, drums, percussion, stringdrum, keyed fiddle, sample, programming, vocals
Anders Stake—hardanger fiddle, violin, Swedish bagpipe, bowed harp, keyed fiddle, willowflute, other flutes, Jew's harp, vocals
Sanna Kurki-Suonio—vocals, voice, bassdrum
Tellu Paulasto—vocals, bass keyed fiddle, violin

Guest artists:

Peter Lloyd—programming, groove(2)
Andrew Scott—programming
Wimme Saari—jojk (10)
Per-Erik Nilsson—additional percussion (4)

Produced by:

Dag Lundquist, Ulf Gruvberg, and Hedningarna


Seriously lovely lively dramatic traditional folk. Like Garmarna at their best. Love the vocals, and love the band's energy. The booklet of this version has translations of all the songs, which adds to my appreciation of their presentation. The Heathens Fire indeed. (Neile)

Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2022-10-29 18:47:45.
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