Gjallarhorn (pronounced "Gjadlarhorn",LL is pronounced dl ) is a band that performs world music with roots in the folk music of Finland. The quartet was born in 1994. The band's music echoes the ancient folk music tradition of Scandinavia with medieval ballads, minuets, prayers in runo-metric chanting and ancient Icelandic rímur epics in a modern way.
The music of the band remains Swedish in character. Most of their repertoire is the acoustic folk music of these Swedish-speaking Finns, from the unique minuets and ballads that have only survived in Ostrobothnia, to the old traditional waltzes. The didgeridoo and sub-contrabass recorder offer an underlying drone, a technique shared by some other Nordic bands such as Garmarna.
The narrative of Gjallarhorn's songs springs primarily from Norse mythology. The Gjallarhorn is the sounding horn used by the god Heimdall, guardian of the Bifröst bridge to Asgard, to announce the onset of the final conflict of Ragnarök. Heard throughout all worlds, it will awaken the gods to counsel and battle against the giants and the forces of chaos. The name of the horn is related to the word gjala, which means "to shout" or "to sing out."
Gjallarhorn was formed in 1994 on the west coast of Finland, in the Swedish speaking area, by Jenny Wilhelms, Christopher Öhman (viola, mandola) and Jacob Frankenhaeuser (didgeridoo). The band started as a trio but became a quartet with percussion in 1996. The band has been a quartet ever since.
In 1997 the first CD Ranarop was released. The group was selected "Folk music group of the year 1997" and the CD was "Folk music CD of the year 1997" in Finland. In 1998 the band started touring frequently on a professional basis with performances at international world, folk and jazz music festivals. Gjallarhorn has toured in Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan.
The second CD Sjofn was released in 2000 and the third CD Grimborg in 2002. In 2003 Grimborg was awarded the French "Academie Charles Cros" prize and Gjallarhorn was nominated for the music prize of the Nordic Council of Ministries.
In 2004 the band made a 10th anniversary tour, and the Swedish Cultural Fund of Finland selected the band with Jenny Wilhelms for their annual honor award, given to artists in different fields of cultural and educational work.
In 2005 the band started working on new material. The fourth album Rimfaxe was released in 2006. The album was mixed in the USA by Bruce Swedien. The didgeridoo was replaced by Göran Månsson's sub contrabass recorder as the drone effect and bass of the band.
The current members of the band are: