by Ylja

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The hermit once left his shed. It is said that he found a grove. Waver of feathers sat there. The bird sang a lovely song. He sang there, high up in the blossoming tree, sweetly in the grove. The artist remained there for a long while. He said to the bird, soon I must return to my shed. This lovely day will soon come to rest. The bird sang a lovely song. I only stay here to hear your song here in this grove. The artist remained there for a long while. Thousand years to you are no more than a day. The angels sing sweetly, Lord, make us be able to get there. The bird sang a lovely song. To the shore my leaky boat of verse will come from sailing the great sea of poetry. The artist remained there for a long while.
We stood together in the field the girl put around me her arm, the lovely lady, with her beautiful hair, and cried. The tears were streaming, the sorrow tells her will. She dried her eyes with a snow white cloth. Maiden, hear my verse, to recite with your lovely mouth. They might entertain you, girl, they really might, But when you look to the ocean, my Freyja, you will, my slender one, remember me.
Hear, smith of heavens what the poet prays. May your mercy come softly unto me. I call on thee, you have created me. Your slave I am and you are my Lord. God, I ask of thee to heal me. Remember me mildly when we most need thee. King of the sun, great and generous, clean out all sorrows from the shelter of the heart. Protect me, mild one, when I most need thee, for every hour of the life of man. Send, son of the virgin, all good things. Your will heal my heart.
The world rears it’s ugly head foreboding my downfall. Most of the straws on the ground prick me, big and small. I always go from bad to worse and my happy times keep waning. In every step along the way I keep stepping on harsh lava. All the dancing through one’s life is mixed with bits of grudge. Every joy seems to bear gall and poison in it’s tail.
My eyes and yours, the wonderful stones. Mine is yours an yours is mine, you know what I mean. I haven’t seen him in a while, he truly is beautiful. An exceptional man and a standout. You I mourn the most, flowing in tears. Oh, if we never had met my dear friend.
Don’t you cry dear, hear my words. I’ll give you gold for the toe Grímur will remove. Don’t you cry dear, for consolation know that I’ll give you gold for another toe Grímur might remove. Don’t you cry dear, find solace in the fact that I’ll give you gold for your toes when Grímur removes them all.
Here in the soil lies the body of Sæmundur Klemensson. He was born in seventeen hundred and sixty and three better. Given to be the husband to the God-loving Ingibjörg Sæmundsdóttir. He was called to the heavens where he met his maker. There no tears will sadden him anymore. He fought bravely under the sign of Christ and will receive a crown for his brave defence. Sæmundur Klemensson will never die.
My mother in the pen, pen, don’t you worry then, then. I will lend you my rag, my rag for you to dance in.
Bíum, bíum, bambaló, bambaló and dillidillidó. I will rock my friend to sleep but outside is a face on the window. When the mighty mountains fill your heart with desire I will play my langspil to ease your mind. When the harsh weathers rage and the dark snows are looming I will light five candles to drive away the shadows. Bíum, bíum, bambaló, bambaló and dillidillidó. I will rock my friend to sleep but outside is a face on the window. If hunger plagues you I will chop up sheep meat so that soon all our containers will be brimming. If you ever want to taste the good fish I will send forth my fleet both shining yachts and rowboats. By me you have shelter when the evildoers roaming the lands sneak up on you. Bíum, bíum, bambaló, bambaló and dillidillidó. I will rock my friend to sleep but outside is a face on the window.
Oh, my beautiful bottle, I’d endure most things, frost, plague and sorrow, rather than losing you. Might I ask to kiss :;your mouth?:; When I feel your soft mouth I’ll be mighty surprised. Icelands mighty women are no puny girls but gracious Freyjas of absolute purity. I drink to thee :;May they have:; May they have, far and near, peace and prosperity. You showered me with kindness, satiated me with good wine, then I started praising, made a verse or two praising my bottle; :;You are done:; empty with a dried out mouth, and thus I describe thee.


Generally, songs are considered folk songs when they don’t have a known composer and have been conserved and transmitted orally over time, sometimes in different variations and guises. In some instances well known songs or a song by a known composer has transformed and changed in oral transmission over a long period of time and may be considered a folk song in that version or versions. This applies to most of the songs called “the old songs” in Icelandic church singing and es- pecially the songs used for the Passíusálmar, Hymns of the Passion by pastor Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), published in the latter half of the 17th century. Hallgrímur names the songs he intends to be sung for each hymn and for centuries Icelanders sang those songs, but usually without instrumental accompaniment so they had changed considerably when they were first written down in the latter part of the 19th century, even though the contours of the original tune may sometimes be distinguished in the Icelandic variants.

Many songs on this album are well known and popular Icelandic folk tunes and some of them had been conserved orally for centuries before being written down.

Formal and serious collection of folk music in Iceland started in 1880 when Bjarni Þorsteinsson (1861–1938) pastor in Siglufjörður in the north of Iceland, started his collecting effort. Before that some tunes had been collected and published but Bja- rni’s effort was the most ambitious. Bjarni’s collection Íslenzk þjóðlög (e. Icelandic folk music) was published in 1906–09, funded by the cultural fund of the Danish Carlsberg brewery.

This album includes 10 Icelandic folk songs, arranged by Ylja.
You will also find, for a deeper experience, a short summary describing the story and creative aspect behind each song.


released October 12, 2018


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Ylja Reykjavik, Iceland

The folk pop band Ylja was formed in 2008 by guitarists/singers Gígja and Bjartey in Reykjavík, Iceland. With a common passion for vocal harmonies and love for the acoustic guitar, the two friends embarked on a musical journey – always trying to expand and broaden their sense for creativity.

Today Ylja performs as a duet and with various session players depending on the occasion.
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