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Dutch artist and Nordic folk pioneer Kati Rán presents the new single “STONE PILLARS”.

Kati Ran

Dutch artist and Nordic folk pioneer Kati Rán presents the new single STONE PILLARS together with the news of her signing to Svart Records, based in Finland, for the 2024 release of her long awaited 13 track full length album “SÁLA”.

The track “Stone Pillars” written and performed by Kati Rán, explores new prophecies, stone circles, and the hand of the spinning Fates. Lyrically, “Stone Pillars” hints at the Icelandic oldest counsel tradition of the Allting, old Nordic Gods, and a prophecy by a female seer. With Norwegian metal vocalist extraordinaire Gaahl (Gaahl, Wyrd, Wardruna) and Mitch Harris (Napalm Death) on backing vocals, Icelandic choir, and the resurrection of a rare lava stone marimba (Sígur Rós, Steindór Andersson) the new single “Stone Pillars” by Kati Rán is deeply set in a Nordic landscape, as the 1st single of the new album “SÁLA” (24th May 2024).

Kati Rán is known for her collaborative audio work for Netflix’s tv series VIKINGS: VALHALLA, films and work for videogames, her stage appearances with Wardruna, Myrkur and Gaahl’s Wyrd to name a few, and her previous releases of the successful album; and Nordic dark folk tracks “Blodbylgje” and Icelandic track “Unnr | Mindbeach”; that run millions of streams and gathered a tightly knit Nordic Folk music loving audience around her.

Kati Rán elaborates: ”Signing to Svart Records was for me the most natural next step to collaborate and release my music with long-standing expertise in bringing out amazing artists and vinyl for true music connoisseurs, and to be able to bring my audience a full experience to enjoy my new Nordic Dark folk album SÁLA (Old Norse for both “sea” and “soul”). My album SÁLA has been tenuously crafted and produced together with Jaani Peuhu (Swallow the Sun, IANAI, Lord of the Lost, Hallatar) and is curated of sorts by my many years of writing, researching and travelling the Northern landscapes; taking on board with me incredible artists, sounds, musicians and producing it together closely with Jaani and also Christopher Juul (Heilung) to breathe the Nordic soul into the heart of this album. It’s exciting to open the gates to SÁLA with the release of STONE PILLARS. It embraces our most vulnerable side, questions our mind, and attempts to resurrect, or reposition ourselves through spinning with the Fates. It dips right into the heart of things”.

If the most profound treasures are often the most deeply buried, the journey to uncover them is a vital process of discovery. Five years after the 15-minute single “Blodbylgje” signaled the birth of a new, more primordial, and immersive vision after the dissolution of her band L.E.A.F., Nordic dark folk artist Kati Rán has expanded on its oceanic theme for her long-awaited full-length album, “SÁLA”. Embarking on a far-reaching musical and personal travelogue, it’s a reawakening of both the feminine narratives submerged and fragmented within Norse mythology, and the enduring, healing powers held within.

Named after the Old Norse word for ‘soul’ and ‘sea’, “SÁLA” is an act of ‘soul retrieval’, the shamanic art of trauma recovery, be it illness, death, heartbreak or loss, and the reintegration of a splintered self. Across its 13, wide-ranging, elegantly unfolding tracks, the album is an embodiment of different feminine voices and perspectives – from the Norse nine daughters of the sea, or ‘billow maidens’, through various historical and fictional figures to the late-night voices we hear in our most liminal states – all with tales to tell, riddles to solve, challenges to be accepted and guidance to offer. It’s a multiplicity that, like the ocean itself, belongs to a vast, restless dynamic: a matrix of mysteries, unfathomable depths and ever-shifting currents, accumulating into an elemental, regenerative source of power.

Recorded in a barn in Húsafell, Iceland – home to glacier ice caves and a rare lava stone marimba rediscovered for the track “Stone Pillars” – as well as Finland, Norway and at home in Kati’s native Netherlands, “SÁLA” is as much chronicle of Kati’s own perspective-shifting recording process as it as a pilgrimage through different viewpoints and internal states. That itinerant urge is also reflected in the use of different languages, ranging across Norwegian, Old Norse, Icelandic, and, for the first time, English, her combination of ancient texts, historical reimagining’s and unguarded personal reflection backed up by deep research into the most resonant recesses of Nordic lore.

Spun throughout every thread of “SÁLA” is a sense of communion – with the power of stories to offer moral guidance and the thrill of the unknown; with the element of water, recreated across the album both in field recordings and the agelessly organic nature of the music itself; with the archetypes whose qualities we are called upon to embody at our most critical moments; and with the internal hidden realms forever whispering at us from the far edges of our consciousness.

Appropriately, it’s a collaborative venture too. As well as working closely together with Finnish producer Jaani Peuhu, there are contributions from across the musical spectrum, including extreme metal vocalist extraordinaire Gaahl, the Icelandic female choir Umbra Ensemble, renowned Norwegian jazz musician  Karl Seglem, Björk and Brian Eno contrabassist Borgar Magnason, members of pagan folk acts Völuspá, Gealdýr, Heilung and Theodor Bastard and even Napalm Death’s Mitch Harris on vocals.

For all the many sources “SÁLA” draws from, the result is a singular, intimately transformative rite of passage, and a returning of the heart to the reverent continuity of the sacred. It will take you from the opening title track’s chest-pounding rhythmic pulse emerging from a traditional Norwegian bukkehorn (recorded by Karl Seglem), a galloping horse-rider and Kati’s glacial, velveteen chant, through “Kólga’s” recounting of female persecution through the ages borne on the most gossamer-light yet unbreakable of timbres and “Stone Pillar’s” gently percolating, deep wells of abandonment and incantations to recovery. “SÁLA” closes with the track ‘Sátta’  – Old Norse for ‘peace’ and ‘reconciliation’ – ending the album as it began with the bukkehorn, as it weaves rich drones and experience-stamped poems and prayers, Kati’s vocals the most sensitively tuned of emotional barometers. An album made in dedication, and in thrall to, its own sense of destiny, “SÁLA” is, as all quests must ultimately be, a homecoming.

Kati Ran Album Cover

Tracklisting:
SÁLA (06:47)
HEFRING (04:02)
KÓLGA | 16 (06:48)
BLODBYLGJE (15:22)
DRÖFN | Drifting (02:20)
STONE PILLARS (08:15)
DÚFA | Sleeping (02:19)
UNNR| Mindbeach (09:36)
HIMINGLÆVA (04:59)
HRÖNN (04:52)
BÁRA | Bósi (05:52)
SEGIÐ MÉR (03:43)
SÁTTA (03:10)
Full running time: 78:00

Lineup:
Kati Rán

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