Flúr

by FUNI

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Anita Botman
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Anita Botman Beautiful! She has a stunning voice. The album sounds very genuine and traditional and yet fresh and modern. A timeless record.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a 3 fold digipak with a 32 page illustrated booklet containing notes about all the songs and full song lyrics in both Icelandic and English, all beautifully designed by Inga Elsa Bergþórsdóttir.

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about

FLÚR is the second full length album released by the Reykjavík based duo FUNI. The songs on the album are drawn from the kvæðalag, tvísöngur and hymn singing traditions of Europe’s most remote nation. Despite Iceland’s high musical profile, its unique and varied folk song heritage has, sadly, remained largely unheard and unknown by today’s folk and world music audiences. The fifteen songs on FLÚR represent a small but significant step towards remedying this state of affairs.

In the past, these songs were usually performed unaccompanied. Now, Bára Grímsdóttir and Chris Foster add accompaniments using the traditional Icelandic langspil along with kantele, guitar and hammer dulcimer. On FLÚR, they are also joined by Andri Eyvindsson, saxophone and vocals; Birgir Bragasson, double bass; Hafsteinn Þórólfsson, vocals and Lárus Grímsson, clarinet.

The disc comes in a beautifully designed digi-pack, which includes a 32 page illustrated booklet with introductory notes and full song texts in both Icelandic and English.

FLÚR - is an old Icelandic word that means decoration. It comes from the same root as the English word ‘flower’ and it can signify either musical or visual ornamentation.

FUNI - an old Icelandic word meaning flame or fire - are Bára Grímsdóttir and Chris Foster, consummate performers of the traditional songs of Iceland and England. They started working together in 2001, breathing new life into great songs that have been hidden for too long in old recordings, little known books and manuscripts. They also add new songs to the tradition.

Bára and Chris have toured widely in mainland Europe, as well as throughout Iceland and Britain. They have also performed in China and made five visits to the USA.

Bára Grímsdóttir is simply one of Iceland’s best traditional singers. She is also widely respected in Iceland as a composer, especially of vocal music. She started life surrounded by the folk songs of her parents and grandparents on the family farm Grímstunga in the north of Iceland. Bára has a special interest in the old rímur and kvæðalög styles of song, but she also sings in other traditional styles, both secular and religious. In her role as composer and arranger, Bára continues to draw on the well of traditional Icelandic music, while as a performer, she invests the traditional songs that she performs with a natural authority born from having been surrounded by them from birth.

Chris Foster grew up in Somerset in the south west of England. A master of his trade, he was recently described as “one of the finest singers and most thoughtful inventive guitar accompanists of English folk songs, meriting legend status.” Over the past 40 years, he has toured throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA. He has recorded six solo albums as well as working on many collaborative projects. On stage, his fine musicianship and powerful singing is underpinned by an urbane wit and engaging enthusiasm, which draws his audiences into the ancient world of storytelling through song.

Visit FUNI's website at www.funi-iceland.com

credits

released April 2, 2013

Bára Grímsdóttir, vocals & kantele - Chris Foster, vocals, guitar, langspil & hammer dulcimer - Andri Eyvindsson, vocals & saxaphone - Hafstein Þorolfsson, vocals - Lárus Grímsson, clarinet - Birgir Bragason, double bass.
Engineer & mixer Andri Eyvindsson, mastered by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson.
Graphic design by Inga Elsa Bergþórsdóttir.

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about

FUNI Reykjavik, Iceland

FUNI, an old Icelandic word meaning flame or fire, are Bára Grímsdóttir & Chris Foster. Since 2001, they have been breathing new life into great songs that have been hidden away in old recordings, old books and manuscripts for too long. They also add new songs to the tradition. Bára and Chris tour widely in Europe, as well as Iceland and Britain. They have also played in China and the USA. ... more

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Track Name: Æskustöðvarnar / My childhood home
English translation

There wakes always in me a longing.
I often dream
of the northern blue mountains,
the beauty of my home.

Summer with sun and warmth
I see and sense clearly.
Breeze carry greetings to
my childhood home.

I long to see Vatnsdalur.
It draws my thoughts.
It is certain I will never have
another place as home.
Track Name: Vatnsdalur
English translation

Hello my dear countryside
Evening with blue sky.
We do not see anywhere else
as lovely as this.

The whole sky is heaven-blue,
my mind at rest.
The bright moon grins
at his old friend.

One’s mind will be moved,
somnolent splendour we see.
Aurora borealis flashes,
a light dance in the blue heavens.

Now the countryside is beautiful,
Snow drifts covers the dry grass.
Clear ice glitters.
The Vatnsdalur river gleams.

Crystalline snow shines far and wide,
this is a glorious place.
I am like a child again,
deeply happy.

I will be utterly happy,
I will dream delightful dreams.
Blessed and happy, I fall asleep
in my countryside home.
Track Name: Ekkillinn frá Álfahamri / The widower from Álfahamar (Elf Crag)
English translation

Once a widower lived at Álfahamar,
who, whether asleep or awake, was always singing
thIs verse, with the same tune.

“Up in the high crag lives an elf woman.
No Icelander knows, other than me,
how well she sings.”

Then, the widower from Álfahamar disappeared.
It was not entirely without suspicion.
As some people did believe it was suspicious.

He was looked for by the river and up by the crags,
but everyone had other things to do
and the widower was nowhere to be found.

Long after, a shepherd said
he had heard clearly, in a silent waking state,
this song sung in the crag:

“Up in the high crag lives an elf woman.
No Icelander knows, other than me,
how well she sings.”
Track Name: Ég byrja reisu mín / I start my journey
English translation

I begin my voyage,
Jesus, in your name.
May your holy hand lead me
out of all danger.

refrain
May Jesus lead me in peace,
with a host of beautiful angels.

Your great gentle kindness
led me from my motherland
with good fortune
and spared me all anxiety.

In trials and tribulation
I choose you as my travelling companion.
Keep watch over me
and protect me

From storm, strong wind
and raging seas,
from all kinds of ungodly rabble,
danger and war.

When life wanes,
lead me surely home to you,
to the beautiful fatherland
free from all anxiety.
Track Name: Aldrei skal ég gleyma þér / I shall never forget you
English translation

You, I young knew best.
You, I young kissed.
You, I young wanted most.
You, I young lost.

The sea will be raging.
All around the ground rumbling,
huge rocks falling.
I think of you, sighing.

The second name of my son
constantly reminds me of you.
This woman was often undressed,
up in your bed.

The eye weeps clear tears.
Faithfulness is reduced to crumbs.
My heart is sore wounded.
Betrayal is hard to endure.

Even though the hot spring freezes,
bare glacier covers valleys,
stones talk and all such things,
I shall never forget you.
Track Name: Man ég þig mey / I remember you maid
English Translation

I remember you, maid, as the radiant sun
high in heaven shines.
I remember you, as the silver blue moon
lowers itself into the lap of the sea.

I hear your heaven-whispered name,
breathe with loving tone.
The mountain stream murmurs the beautiful name
joyfully in the green pasture.

I look at much that longs to resemble you,
That which comes from God in a good world.
Sunset as smile, blue stars as eyes,
lilies as pale hands.

I steady myself against a stone, tongue-tied,
fluttering breath in my chest barely breathing.
The world’s light bows, stars twinkle,
I desire you alone.
Track Name: Einn guð í hæðinni / One god on high
English translation

One god on high
your comforter.
Merciful, may he comfort you,
my little sweet one.

Merciful, may he comfort you,
banish your cares
and heal you, that mildest
maiden’s child.

Heal you that mildest
maiden’s hope.
He who lay in the manger,
the son of the virgin.

He who lay in the manger,
with children he cried.
By his mother’s milk
he was sated.

By his mother’s milk
he was sated.
He was born into the world
both God and man.

He was born into the world,
that blessed light,
heavenly lily
and rose of the heart.

Heavenly lily
and heart’s jewel.
He who came into the world
and helped us.

He who came into the world
and helped you,
you who weep bitterly
with sorrowful mind.

You who weep bitterly
with tear stained cheek,
merciful, may he comfort you
my little sweet one.
Track Name: Með silfurbjarta nál / With bright silver needle
English translation

I am not giving you a button
decorated with a golden leaf,
nor a festive
decorated headband
for a new year‘s gift.
Now I am sending you,
high born bride
but still a child,

small poems, dear girl,
I shall offer to you,
while others use
more elaborate forms.
I ask you, Guðríður
Gísladóttir,
to remember
the ljúflingslag.

Avoid chattering
virgin pure in heart.
One can shame oneself
with few words.
Hear many things
but say little.
Two are the tools for hearing
but the tongue is alone.

Even though you feel relaxed
train yourself with hard work.
A helpful hand
is pleasing to the Lord.
If you do something useful
when you are young,
you will rest easy
in old age.

I pray you learn
best embroidery
such as a woman
ought to know.
Sit firmly established
with a bright silver needle,
at your finger tips
and sew all kinds of stitches.

Cut out clothes,
hem snow-white linen,
curl collar fabric,
mould hat form.
Make saddle accessories,
cushion, saddle cloth,
ribbon and tapes
to weave twill check work.

Decorate long light
coloured curtains
with weird and wonderful
changing colours.
Cross stitch and florentine (stitch)
sew into tight woven linen,
eye stitch and couching
also darned net and straight darning.

Cut out, wrap all
with Irish lace embroidery,
drawn thread work and most tracery
to make the border.
All wool work
and knitting art.
dye soft white fleece
in many ways.

Be of sound mind,
and inner strength
with increasing age
in the new year.
God sends you
a flock of his angels,
that, as always
watch over you.
Track Name: Blíðviðri / Nice weather
English translation

Now the gift is not scarce with you,
Rich delight of nature.
The earth is covered in rays,
sky and sea too.

You ignore class differences,
but share the bread of life,
your children all as one,
millionaire and penniless.

Light and space is life’s citadel,
with its colourful adornment.
Neither twilight nor sorrow
is in your soul.

I see beautiful encircling mountains
embraced by the sun.
With all that breathes, I sing to myself,
“it is bliss to live and to enjoy.”

It is sublime to relish, it is lovely to see
lilies adorning the pasture.
It is sweet to hope, it is sweet to long for
long summer days.
Track Name: Vor / Spring
English translation

Text: Grímur Lárusson (1926 - 1995). Tune: trad. arr. Bára Grímsdóttir.

After a long hard winter, the arrival of spring is a precious moment. This poem captures the spirit of that time beautifully. The text is carried by a deceptively simple melody of just four consecutive notes. ‘Harpa‘ (English - harp) is also the name of the old Icelandic month that runs from late April to late May.
Track Name: Sjóferðabæn / Seafarers’ prayer
English translation

Merciful God, pure Lord,
helper of all men,
you who alone reign over everything.
You who are true loving mercy
hear my prayer. This I ask
In the blessed name of Jesus
and with pleasant grace, advise me
about matters of life and soul.

Your grace has determined
that each should learn
his place, to practise correctly
and to use his hands to feed himself
on land and sea, yet still
you promised to provide those
who trust in you, and then
search for their sustenance.

Now, therefore I will go freely,
trusting in your mercy,
on the ocean waves
in my search for food.
Watch over me now, sweet Jesus
so that no danger harms me.
Help me to go from here,
and return again safely to land.

I go to the ship, in Jesus’ name.
My Jesus stay with me.
God’s holy flock of angels
drive away fear and grief.
I commend myself and those who are with me
to my Jesus’ hands.
Let us be untroubled, in expectation of assistance,
His protection stands over us.
Track Name: Kveðið við spuna / Rhyming while spinning
English translation

Although cruel arthritis afflicts me
and my locks are thin,
I’ve seen seventy-five years.
Still I sit at the spinning wheel.

If you have time to listen
and stop what you are doing,
I shall tell you about
how, young, I learned to work.

I’ve rounded up and driven in
the sheep from the crags.
I’ve milked cows and mucked out shit,
taken dirty hay from the stalls.

To suppress hunger,
I’ve torn flesh from cod heads.
I’ve churned cream, baked bread,
cleaned pantry and kitchen.

Weary, I have bent my back,
bound hay sometimes,
milled grain, fried meat,
washed and pressed linen.

I’ve flattened the hardened fish,
spent ages plucking birds.
I’ve made shoes from sheep skin,
scraped and softened the laces.

I’ve mown green grass,
protected the grown hayfield.
I’ve collected eider ducks’ eggs,
cleaned the down from them .

Sometimes I offered bread to the hungry.
I’ve worked butter in a keeler.
I cooked up mountain lichen porridge,
made seaweed cake.

I’ve roasted coffee beans,
turned and raked hay.
I’ve cast lines for halibut,
hauled fish on board.

I’ve knotted net and attached floats.
I’ve loved wise people,
used a sheep leg bone to forecast weather,
and learned verses and prayers.

Though I have not been given gold in hand
and I had unfulfilled needs,
I’ve had many good times
in the course of daily tasks.

Thus these verses are sung,
there we shall now finish.
May you be blessed good children,
the poem is concluded.
Track Name: Stökur förukonunnar / Vagrant woman’s song
English translation

The dark twilight stole the sun.
Experience has taught me
that cruel fate raised me
under night’s darkness.

Once I was betrothed to a man
and I had warm hopes,
but only alone with my moorland
could I reveal this.

He who had my warm feelings
was contented little by their heat.
It was kept secret, because me and him
alone could know.

The tenderness of the world is the same as ever,
darkening people’s way.
He chose Fríða, and left me
stricken by cold abuse.
Track Name: Heilög jól / Holy Christmas
English translation

We celebrate Holy Christmas, in the name of Christ.
The blessed sun of justice now appears.
Bethlehem’s star proclaims the most precious treasure.
Jesus brings us, fallen, the freedom of God's children.
The dead receive life.
The poor in spirit are enriched.
The lost sheep find their shepherd.
Let us praise Jesus’ holy name.
Hear our praise, Lord, in grace.
Our hearts are moved to tears.
Track Name: Gott ár oss gefi / Give us a good year
Give us another good year
God of all grace.
May he bless his people
and suffering souls.

A good year and good peace
send to us my God.
He himself helps us
with his merciful hand.

A good year with inner calm
and other beauty.
Grant us abundant wisdom,
our precious Jesus.

A good year to live right
and to turn from evil,
so as to avoid fraud and trickery,
sin and error.

A good year to be most enriched
with all goodwill.
A cautious approach is best,
in deed and speech.

A good year in every way,
in all walks of life.
We shall live in honour and peace
with good conduct.

A good year in which may all go well
on sea and land.
I commend us to God
so nobody harms us.

Give us all a good year
my God,
for Christ his son.
Thus it is. Amen.