The image of a country is a caledioscope of many different aspects and sound is one of them. When you think of sounds and the Faroe Islands the obvious choice is bird songs but there are other sounds that are typical of the Faroe Islands as well and should be part of our webpage. The Faroese chain dance which is a traditional part of our culture is one example and also foreigners are often curious of the native tounge of a country.
The old Faroese dance is a mediaeval ring dance, which has only survived in the Faroe Islands and which is an important part of the Faroese heritage. However the chain dance is not only old culture it is also a part of our living tradition and is danced at many festive occations such as weddings and public gatherings such as summer festivals and our national holiday. The ballads that accompany the dancing have their origin in old Norse and Viking culture.
Modern version of the ballads
Faroese Viking Metal band Týr plays a combination of heavy metal and folk music. Týr's distinctive trademark is the modern interpretation of the traditional Faroese ballads. To let you experience the difference between the traditional and the modern version of the ballads a soundbite from Týr can be heard here.
Tyr Ormurin langi
Midnight song at Ólavsøka - the Faroese National Holiday
The Faroese people are very fond of singing and at most social gatherings singing is an important part of the event and can go on for hours. The songs are both traditional Faroese songs with romantic descriptions of in particular the Faroese nature but modern songs are also part of the repertoire. At midnight on Ólavsøku eve which is on 28 July people gather at the main square in Tórshavn most of them dressed in their national costumes it is therefore quite an experience with almost an entire population singing in tune for an hour or so in the middle of a light Faroese summer night. Below is a short example of the midnight singing.
We have gathered a number of bird songs below to give you an introduction to various birds in the Faroe Islands.
The voice of an oystercatcher, the Faroe Islands national bird, as it can be heard flying arround in the outfield and on Mykines Holm, warning their youngs about dangers.
The voices of puffins heard in their nesting holes in the breading area often referred to as "puffin land", most often at the end of the breeding season when the youngs are almost fullfledged
The hoarse voices of gannets as they can be heard in the chorus of all the other birds in the bird cliffs of Mykines Holmur
The voices of guillemots as they can be heard in the chorus of all the other birds at the end of the breeding season. At the end of this recording you can also hear the almost full fledged youngs' high pitch calling
The hoarse voices of several fulmars heard sitting on narrow mostly grassgrown shelfs in the bird cliffs around Mykines. Most often they are in groups of two, three or more making quite the noise
The sound of kittiwakes recorded at the quay in Mykines greeting the arrival of tourists during the breeding season
The sound of a storm petrel in its hole as it can be heard in the dusk and at night, recorded at Mykines Holmur
The sound of arctic skuas as they can be heard when flying over their territory. Often you can hear as here a pair "talking" to each other while flying at great speed and in beautiful dashing curves
The sound of two great skuas, uneasily flying over their nesting territory. At the end of the recording one can hear the impressive sound, when it at great speed dives towards an observer to frighten him or her away
The sound of whimbrels in the outfield. First the normal calling, afterwards the voice as it can be heard when they are marking their territory, warning their youngs and trying to frighten intruders
The sound of two golden plovers recorded at 450 meters altitude in the outfield. On Mykines they are most often seen high on the island.
All birds sounds are recorded on Mykines, bird sounds and text © Karsten Larsen