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Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok

May 18, 2013

I’m terrifically excited about the Sundown project, and I figured a number of BLT readers would be as well. After all, where else can you possibly find

Viking-themed a cappella music telling stories of the Norse Gods, focusing on Odin, Loki, the murder of Baldur, and Snorri Sturlson.

Historian and composer Dr. Ada Palmer has set English translations of these Norse eddas to beautiful, complex a capella music, beautifully performed by the filk group Sassafrass under her direction.

I have heard Sassafrass before, and they are fabulous. Their vision for this project is terrific: not just a CD of the song cycle, but a play performed in period costume, with storytellers to link the songs together. They’re raising money now via Kickstarter to support a CD, a live performance, and a professional videorecording of the performance to be made available on DVD. Watch the video below to hear Ada’s enthusiastic pitch for the project, as well as some background and previews.

Then consider tossing in a few bucks (or more… check out those donor gifts) to help bring this unusual creative vision to fruition.

(Don’t see a video? Click on this link instead.)

UPDATE: Wow, they made their minimum goal in less than 2 days! That’s exciting. But it’s still worth pitching in a few bucks because

At $8,000, our composer Ada Palmer will add several pages of notes to the libretto discussing Viking culture, Norse mythology, and the ideas behind the songs. At $9,000, we will expand the libretto even further, with more notes and a better binding.

At $10,000, Nebula- and Hugo-award winning author Jo Walton, friend of the group, will compose an Odin-themed poem set in the world of Sundown: Whispers of Ragnarok, and post it for free on her Livejournal! At $14,000, Jo will respond to her Odin poem with a Loki poem, which will ONLY be available in an update sent to backers!

Oh, and they just put another update out:

We’re actually already very close to our first stretch goal of $8,000! If we reach that goal, Ada will expand the libretto with several more pages of explanatory notes. (The libretto is available as a backer reward and will also be for sale in the future.) She’s already written a brief Author’s Note on the play’s sources, its historical context, and its cosmology . The additional notes could concern any of a variety of topics, ranging from “The Eddas, Their Origins and History” to “The Allfather’s Names” to “The Elves and Vanir and why we don’t know anything about them”. We’re considering opening the choice of topic up to YOU, our backers! If we do this, we would ask for suggestions of topics you’d like to know more about, and hold a vote to determine which ones make it into the final product. We also may make the extra notes available to some backers, so that this isn’t just of interest to those who are getting the libretto. Does this sound interesting to you? Already got ideas for topics? Let us know what you think in the comments!

So be a supporter, and help bring Viking culture and Norse mythology to the masses (and get some for yourself, too)! 🙂

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