The Mountain King, Song # 3: Mountain Door

August 8, 2016

 

This is blog no. 3 about our album The Mountain King. Recorded at Wall of Sound Studio in Albuquerque. Mountain Door is performed by Scott Darsee, fretless bass and Johanna Hongell-Darsee, vocals.

 

You can hear the song on our Recordings page.

 

In this song you will hear the few initial verses from the version of the Mountain King ballad that was handed down through generations in Swedish speaking Finland. This version was noted down 1897 at Replot, North West coast of Finland.

 

A young girl feels compelled to wander off towards the "Blue Mountain" and once at the foot of this mountain she "taps on the mountain door with her fingers so small".

 

The Mountain King opens the door to the mountain, inviting the girl in, and she disappears into this other world.

 

It was a widely held belief that people, both women and men, could initiate a relationship with - or be seduced by - supernatural beings of the woods, the sea, the mountains etc.

 

Sometimes these relationships could be lucrative for the human as the supernatural being could show where to find game, fish, metal ores and other useful things. But it was a dangerous game as these beings were jealous which could create problems in the human world. 

 

She tapped on the mountain door with her fingers so small.
-But I know the day of grief is long
“Stand up oh mountain king pull the latches from the door.”
-For her mind it was in a willow wandering way


And the Mountain king stood up pulled the latches from the door.
-But I know the day of grief is long
“Come in oh maiden fair, don’t stay outside no more.”
-For her mind it was in a willow wandering way


Hennes sinne i villovånda var

(her mind it was in a willow wandering way)


And the maiden she walked into the mountain so tall;
-But I know the day of grief is long
and the mountain king he led her into his mountain hall.
-For her mind it was in a willow wandering way


Then he sat her down on a silver chair.
-But I know the day of grief is long
And he gave her to drink from a silver cup so rare.
-For her mind it was in a willow wandering way


Hennes sinne i villovånda var

 

The refrain, called omkväde in Scandinavian Medieval Ballads gives us a feeling that she is a bit bewildered, not in her right mind, and also predicts that the whole story will end badly.

 

These refrains of the ballads have a function close to that of the chorus in a greek drama. They are a comment on the story that sometimes follows the mood sometimes creates a contrast.

 

We have chosen a very sparse arrangement for this song with just a bass and vocals to create a feeling of ominous mystery.

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