Experimental folk band Healing released Drif, their third full-length studio album, in 2022, and the band recently toured the USA to play songs from acrsso their catalog.
They appeared in Baltimore to perform at the Hippodrome Theatre on Oct. 19, and Katherine Gaines were there to photograph the show!
This article is adapted from a press release.
Since its inception in 2015, the enigmatic ritual collective Healing has been paving melodic paths to the past with their unique and mystifying sound. Evading all conventional genre tags and the confines of any specific labels, the group aptly self-describes their sound as “amplified history,” emphasizing their ability to connect modern society with the rudiments of humanity’s beginnings through music. Heilung once again journeys back in time with its new chapter, Drif; however, unlike previous offerings that centered around prehistoric northern Europe, album number three will explore other great rudimentary civilizations outside of Europe.
“All the songs on Drif have their own stories,” said Heilung throat singer and one of the band’s three composers, Kai Uwe Faust. Each has its place and sense of belonging, with inspiration not only from Northern Europe, but from the ancient great civilizations,” added the band. “We took the ancient surrounding advanced civilizations in account, because our ancestral Nordic civilizations did not just pop up, exist and disappear in isolation. Already in the Bronze Age, we found silk on German land that was imported already from the far, far East 3000 years ago. From the Viking age, we found beads that were brought there from present-day Syria high up in the Northern mountains.
“Centrally important concepts, still in extensive use today, like the number Zero and all the mathematical universes deriving from it, the use of iron and the general concept of settling all originate from traditional high civilizations outside the north and still fundamentally changing our ancestor’s world.
“With singing these primordial songs we want to give tribute to these cultures, reconnect to the beginnings and remember that we all, from East to West, from past to present, are connected through the exchange of ideas and inspiring each other.”
Meaning “gathering,” Drif serves as more than merely a gateway that bridges history with modern day society, but is also a statement of the strength in unity and togetherness, which will come as no surprise to those who have experienced HEILUNG’s live ritual, in which every ceremony starts with a reminder that “we are all brothers.” “Drif means ‘gathering,’’’ said the band. “A throng of people, a horde, a crowd, a pack. In symbiosis with the album title, Drif consists of a flock, a collection, a gathering, a collage of songs, that much like little flames were seeking towards each other, to join, to bond, to create, and be greater together.”
Watch the official music video for “Anoana” by Heilung on YouTube:
While Heilung features authentic and archaic instrumentation that ranges from rattles and ritual bells to human bones and throat singing, their captivating brand of music is far from primitive. Producer and founding member Christopher Juul implements subtle electronic elements that elevates the musical atmosphere and provides a more in-depth and layered soundscape.
“This album has very clearly dictated its own path. Our attempts to tame it were repeatedly fruitless, and once we came to this realization, the creative flow surged forward with immense force. So much so that sometimes it felt like the songs wrote themselves,” the band said.
Heilung’s success has been unprecedented, achieving milestones in its few short years of existence that many do not see in a lifetime. The collective already had rapidly been growing a buzz upon the self-release of their first full-length, Ofnir, in 2015, but their dizzying upward trajectory really took off from the moment they set foot on the stage at Castlefest in 2017 for the now-legendary debut of their live ritual. Luckily for those who were not fortunate enough to bare witness to this magical event, the full ceremony was captured on film, having since been viewed by tens of millions of fans across the globe.
By 2019, Heilung launched their second full-length record, Futha, which contrasted the masculine and battle-heavy themes of their debut with a feminine counterpart that celebrated fertility and female energy. Upon the first week of the record’s release, it graced the Billboard charts with coveted numbers, debuting at No. 3 on the Heatseekers Charts and No. 4 on the Billboard World Music Chart, placing on a total of seven Billboard charts while meeting critical-acclaim from the press on a global scale.
Here are some photos of Heiling performing at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore on Oct. 19, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Katherine Gaines.