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Hedningarna

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Hedningarna is a Swedish and, for some years partly Finnish, folk music band that mixes electronics and rock with elements from old Scandinavian folk music. Their music features Yoik or juoiggus, a traditional Sami form of song.
Hållbus Totte Mattson, Anders Stake and Björn Tollin formed Hedningarna in 1987. Hedning is Swedish for heathen, while arna is the plural definite article (thus ‘Hedningar’ = ‘Heathens’ and ‘Hedningarna’ = ‘The Heathens’). They wanted to go far back to the roots of the Old Norse culture, including the use of ancient instruments not much used in current Swedish folk music. Stake, a trained luthier, also began to invent and build new instruments, to produce new sounds.
In 1988 Hedningarna composed and performed a major part of the music to the stage play Den stora vreden (roughly meaning The Great Wrath) which aroused great interest. Their first album titled Hedningarna was released on Alice Records in 1989. In 1991, Hedningarna began their collaboration with Silence Records. They met the Finnish singers Sanna Kurki-Suonio and Tellu Paulasto. The album Kaksi! (Finnish for two) was released in September of 1992. In 1993 Hedningarna was awarded a Swedish Grammis (the equivalent of Grammy) for The Best Folk Music Album of the year. The sales of Kaksi! reached 35 000 albums, which is very high for a folk music record in Sweden. British Sasha made a remix of Hedningarna’s Kruspolska which climbed the charts in England.

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