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Unvisited Tombs: M​ö​drar

by Kristine Barrett

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Included in the digital download is a lush, full-color 33-page booklet with photos and text.
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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    4-panel CD featuring antique Swedish botanical prints collected throughout Sweden in the summer of 2019, from 'Svensk Botanik', J.W. Palmstruch, ca 1800-1840. Available May 15th.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Unvisited Tombs: Mödrar via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 10 days

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Norr - North 09:07
Farsældin með friðnum er sem faðmar brjóstið varma stríðið sæmd og sælu ver sára vekur harma. Eins og lind og láðið á lognið breiðir klæði engir vindar anda ná af því fyrir mæði. Þá úr heiðis háum stað hita sólin ryður og hárið greiðir gullfjallað í gaupnír jarðar niður. Yfir sáir ylnum góð allt eins lá og heiminn hverju strái á hverri lóð hjúkrar þá ógleymin. Glóa hagar glitra fjöll gylltar fljóta iður þar flatmaga foldin öll faðmin breiðir viður. Allar myndir land og lá lofa heppni sína drekka yndisanda þá endurlifna og hlýna. Allar rætur vakna við vöxt og aldin bera þetta læt ég líkast frið lognið mega vera. Happiness and peace embrace us with open arms; war’s glamour and glory only a distant lament. As spring and summer are spread like a cloth, no wind disturbs the cover of stillness. In the ancient high heavens bright light is breaking, hair combed and golden streaming down to earth. The gods are sowing goodness all over the world, every blade of grass and every field are tended with care. Glowing meadows, glittering mountains, golden rivers twist and twine through sprawling lands covered in forest. All thoughts are of the earth, praising our luck, drinking to health, to enduring life and warm light. All the roots wake up, growing and bearing fruit; peace comes to me, tranquility heals me.
Mina Mödrar 02:40
Kluck, Kluck 00:30
1. Lilltåa, Tåtilla, Kroknosa, Tillerosa; Stortimpen oppi veran. 2. Lillklocka, Storklocka, nu ring dom först gången. Lillklocka, Storklocka, snarrt står du på gången; Tia slång å du ha vörte lång. Nåsu ber du oppi veran. 3. Lillklocka, Storklocka, nu ring dom anner gången. Lillklocka, Storklocka, si brura på gången! Foltje står å sir på hårr du går. Orgeln spala oppi veran. 4. Lillklocka, Storklocka, nu ring dom sist gången. Lillklocka, Storklocka, si kista på gången; Gulla dine å tri skovle mull, åssa bor je oppi veran.
Vem kan segla förutan vind? Vem kan ro utan åror? Vem kan skiljas från vännen sin Ütan att fälla tårar? Jag kan segla förutan vind, Jag kan ro utan åror. Men ej skiljas från vännen min Ütan att fälla tårar. Who can sail without wind? Who can row without oars? Who can part from his friend Without shedding tears? I can sail without wind, I can row without oars, But I cannot part from my friend Without shedding tears.
Marsfjällen 02:35
Rinkinys: Bite, dabełėli, dabilio, aš tavi pasėjau, dabilio. Bite, dabełėli, dabilio, ataskrend bitelās, dabilio. Bite, dabełėli, dabilio, renka medutėli, dabilio. Bite, dabełėli, dabilio, iš gražiu žiedeliu, dabilio. Bite, dabełėli, dabilio, deda kārelius, dabilio. Pritarinys: Dobile, bite, dābiłėli.
Idag som igår, och flaska vid mitt lår. Rätt som mä går, så te mä oss en tår. Rätt som mä går, så te mä oss en tår. Hopp sunta runta rej! Hopp sunta runta rej!


För min kära mormor, Florence Louise (Johnson) Renshaw, och mina vackra föräldrar: Suzanne (Renshaw) Barrett och Charold Barrett. Jag älskar er alla från djupet av mitt hjärta.

Mödrar is a deeply personal exploration of the lives of my Swedish grandmothers. Composed and recorded in both northern Sweden and California, the album traces the landscapes and matrilineal family histories of the sub-arctic and arctic north; from Sweden and Norway to Iceland and the Baltics.

“Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”( –George Eliot, Middlemarch)

Inspired by the quote from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Unvisited Tombs is a research and creative multi-media project looking at women’s ancestral narratives as revealed through traditional vocal arts, textile practices, and folklore.

Mödrar constitutes the first in a series of albums exploring these themes. In May 2019, I traveled with my sister and parents to northern Minnesota to bury my grandmother’s cremated remains at the family farm in Proctor. The daughter of immigrants from northern Sweden, my grandmother, like her mother before her, was a rich repository of traditional Swedish songs. When she died on September 29th, 2018, so passed the last native Swedish/Jämsk speaker and keeper of family Swedish songs in our US relations. Though I’ve spent years studying and singing music from many traditions, it had never occurred to me to learn the music of my grandmothers. It was something that felt like would always be there, until suddenly it wasn’t.

A few weeks after the funeral, I traveled onwards from Minnesota with my husband and parents to northern Sweden. Utilizing my great-grandmother’s journal of her return trip to Sweden in 1957 as a guide, we visited old family farms, gravesites, fäbodar, and county archives before settling in Saxnäs amongst lakes, bears, mountains, profound silence, and the ever-present sun—watching it set every night on the mountains and move along the horizon. Jag hittade hem. I felt the palpable presence of my grandmothers amongst the brutal and immensely beautiful landscapes around me. A profound sense of home, belonging, loss, exile, love and grief filled the endless days. This album is a small, humble culmination of these experiences, and a tribute to theirs.


released April 17, 2020

All music composed and/or arranged by Kristine Barrett
Vocals, nyckelharpa, piano, harmonium: Kristine Barrett
Additional vocals: Kelly Atkins, Hannah Mae Blair, Briget Boyle, and Meredith Yayanos

Recorded and produced in Ricklundgården, Saxnäs, Sweden and Sausalito, CA, USA.

Mastered by Myles Boisen.

Album Artwork: Antique Swedish botanical prints collected throughout Sweden in the summer of 2019, from 'Svensk Botanik', J.W. Palmstruch, ca 1800-1840.


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Kristine Barrett San Francisco, California

Kristine Barrett is an artist, composer, and vocalist specializing in experimental traditional music and ritual song from Eastern Europe, the Republic of Georgia, Scandinavia, the Baltics, Ireland, and the Americas.

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