Text: Kasper Marius Nørmark / Photo: Miriam and Janus Photography
In early December, Faroese HULDA will be taking part in the cultural festival Días Nórdicos, which this year will take manifestations of Nordic culture to Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Looking forward to Días Nórdicos female electronic musician and singer HULDA talked to ROSA – the Danish Rock Council about her music, the Faroese music tradition and the huldu people, and about her expectations for the trip to Latin America.
You have named your music project after the Faroese myths about the huldu people, who are said to hide on the islands – living in the stones and rocks. Have such myths and superstitious beliefs influenced your worldview, and at a more general level how does Faroese folklore seep into your music?
On the Faroe Islands people have been very cautious about where to settle down in order not to disturb the huldo people. In fact many roads are made with small detours around “inhabited” stones because people have been afraid of moving them. For me personally I don’t think the myths have influenced my music or my world view. And in general superstition no longer plays a large role on the Faroe Islands, but I find the stories fascinating, and I don’t want us to forget the myths, which were so important in the lives of our ancestors.
I know of several cases, where people still believe in huldu people. For instance I heard a man tell a story of how he was to erect a line pole on one of the smaller islands when he was working for the biggest Faroese power company SEV. On the island there is a rock which is said to be inhabited by huldu people. When his crew were to drill through the rock, the drill no longer worked – and it was actually one of these huge powerful augers. They kept trying for a long time, but eventually they gave up and decided to drill through another rock. When they started drilling there, it suddenly worked again. They were convinced that it was because the first rock was inhabited by huldu people. And I have heard several – especially elderly people – say they have seen huldu people – and they say so with great conviction.
What were your thoughts about naming the project HULDA, which combines ancient myths with your modern electronic universe?
When I started out as HULDA, I decided to be anonymous. I released a couple of singles under this alias but without revealing who I was. However, on the Faroe Islands, which is obviously a very small community, it is hard to remain anonymous. And after a couple of months people found out who HULDA was. Still, as such the name HULDA – this mythical creature no one could identify – was perfect for the project.
How would you describe the Faroese song culture? And is it part of the reason you have become a singer and a songwriter?
The song culture on the Faroe Islands is very strong. We have all grown up with music and singing as part of our childhoods. In kindergartens they sing a lot, and in school you have to learn old songs with more than 100 stanzas! Practically everyone sings or plays an instrument, and if you are at a dinner party, it’s not unusual that someone grabs his or her guitar and people sing along – and often polyphonically! People who visit the Faroe Islands are often surprised by the solid song and music tradition that we have.
You have worked with producer Jens L. Thomsen from the band ORKA and co-producer Sakaris E. Joensen amongst others. Are you recording new material and what artistic direction is HULDA moving right now?
Right now there is no new material in the pipeline as I am focusing one hundred percent on my one-woman show. Normally Sakaris is there with me on stage when I’m playing live, but now I’ll have to press all the buttons on my own. It’s a bit of challenge so I have spent a lot lot of time on for instance how a sampler works and on the arrangement of this one-woman show.
But my head is full of music, which hopefully I will soon get to share with the rest of the world. As for the new artistic direction, people will have to wait a bit, but I have some interesting ideas coming up.
Soon you will be playing at Días Nórdicos in Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. What would be the best possible payoffs from the trip for you?
Well… big question…. First of all I’m really grateful to be part of this tour and to get the chance to play in these countries. It would be amazing if Latin Americans discovered my music. And then I am also really looking forward to the workshop in Buenos Aires where I’m going to get to meet and play with local musicians. What is more the trip is an excellent opportunity for networking.
All in all, I think it’s going to be a tremendous experience, and I expect it will be a stronger HULDA, who can go back to the Faroe Islands with new inspiration, new cool music, more open doors, and perhaps a tan even.
Días Nórdicos Latinamerica 2018 is supported by Statens Kunstfond, The Nordics, Instituto Ibero Americano de Finlandia, Nordens Hus in the Faroe Islands, FFT – Den Færøske Sangskriverforening, and Atlantic Airways.
Días Nórdicos Latinamerica 2018 is arranged by ROSA and Zona de Obras in collaboration with Nordens Institut på Åland, Nordens Institut in Greenland, The Animation Workshop, Centro Cultural Recoleta (AR), Sesc (BR), Difusa Fronteira (BR), Plastilina (PE), and Contrapedal (UY).