In 2017, BBC released a documentary that I’ve enjoyed relistening to today.
Dreaming of a Dark Christmas, in Iceland
At the darkest time of the year in Iceland scary creatures come out to play.
Storyteller Andri Snær Magnason used to be terrified by his grandmother’s Christmas tales of Gryla the 900 year old child eating hag and her thirteen troll sons – the Yule Lads – who would come down from the mountains looking for naughty children in the warmth of their homes.
These dark lullabies partly hark back to a pre-Christian Christmas when people worshipped the Norse gods.
As Iceland opens up to global influences after centuries of isolation Andri travels from farmstead to lava field and reflects on these traditions: whether the elves still crash your house to throw a Christmas party or the cows still talk on New Year’s Eve; and what happens when you have to spend Christmas alone, locked inside Ikea?
Featuring the Graduale Nobili Choir conducted by Árni Heiðar KarlssonBBC Sounds
Click here to have a listen – BBC SOUNDS
The music used throughout is absolutely beautiful. Here’s the same choir and conductor on YouTube