Trio Mediaeval is a vocal ensemble formed in 1997 by Anna Maria Friman (Sweden), Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Torunn Østrem Ossum (both from Norway) specialising in the sacred and mediaeval polyphonic repertoire from Italy, France and England. They have also worked extensively with contemporary composers and musicians such as Gavin Bryars, Trygve Seim or Arve Henriksen. In 2007, the group released Folk Songs, a recording focusing on the extraordinarily rich repertoire of traditional Norwegian folk songs which has already inspired countless musicians from very different backgrounds.

The trio adapted love songs, ballads, hymns and lullabies usually sung or performed in a solo setting and arranged them for vocal ensemble and percussion. “We like to think of the percussion as an earthen element, beneath the ethereal voices up there in the skies” says percussionist Birger Mistereggen who joined the trio on this particular recording.

Trio Mediaeval - Folk Songs (2007)
Trio Mediaeval – Folk Songs (2007)

Gjendines bådnlåt is a traditional lullaby and this particular version can be traced back to Kaia Gjendine Slålien (1870-1971), a milkmaid from the Jotunheimen area. Well known for her repertoire of songs, she met Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) on several occasions and many of her ballads and lullabies formed the basis for his 1896 collection of “19 Norwegian Folk Songs – Op.66” which he arranged for the piano. “Gjendines bådnlåt” is the last piece in the collection. Trio Mediaeval’s contemporary and polyphonic approach shines a stunning new light on the age-old lullaby and carries on with the oral tradition.