Sunday, 28 December 2014

Wardruna, Jara, and the New Year

The old rune Jara (or Jera) symbolizes the year, and in their melody Jara the Norwegian band Wardruna celebrates the new year or more presicely: the coming of the sun. A recurring line in the song is "soli vendar" which literary means "the sun turns around". In the middle of the cold and dark winter, the sun returns with longer days and hopes of a warm summer and a rich harvest.

Jara is one of the melodies on the CD Runaljod - gap var Ginnunga, and typically the song comes just after the frightening and disturbing tunes in Heimta Thurs and Thurs, the songs about the rune of giants.  As Norse Mythology itself, Wardruna's music is full of contrasts; between light and darkness, growth and destruction, birth and death. Even the jotnir or the thurs, the giants, are ambiguous. First of all they represent the destructive forces of nature but at the same time they posses wisdom and sources of life. Also in the optimistic Jara melody, the Wardruna singer has to call upon the norns and pray for "ár og friðar" - growth and peace. The singer very well knows that in life nothing is certain.

Eg såg og eg tydde,
da soli snudde.
Jarteikn for fe og heim.
Svart natt.

Soli har venda,
i haustinga ligg håpet.
Solrik sumar
og allgroande åkre.

Til norne tri,
vi ber dei spinna liv
i åker og i eng,
i barm og i bringa.

Er ár og friðar,
når kornet stig or jordi.
Om vordane lokka sin lokkesong.

På tidleg sådd åker
kan ikkje nokon lite.
For mangt veit eg om vålyndt vêr.

Gro gro, lisle spire,
dager gryr og mørket svinner.
Sól har snudd
og hjulet det har venda.

Sola vendar hausten sendar
graset gulnar, blada fell
lyse dagar er på hell.

Til vordar og vettar,
vi takk gjev med vår song
for ár og friðar.

Ár og friðar.

Wardruna playing in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

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