Home Live Review Live Review: Heilung @ DAR Constitution Hall — 4/17/24

Live Review: Heilung @ DAR Constitution Hall — 4/17/24

Live Review: Heilung @ DAR Constitution Hall — 4/17/24
Heilung perform at DAR Constitution Hall on April 17, 2024. (Photo by Marc Shea)

When I got the news that Heilung was playing DAR Constitution Hall, I immediately leapt at the opportunity to cover the show. Heilung is German for “healing” and their music is classified as experimental folk music. That classification is pretty vague but it at least gives you a little bit of an idea of what the music sounds like.

What it does not do  is prepare anyone for the visual experience of seeing Heilung play live.

The collective’s last album was released in 2022. Check out the video for their single, Anoana. According to singer Maria Franz, the song’s lyrics were taken from words on Roman coins that have not been translated. I like that sort of trivia.

At DAR Constitution Hall on April 17, the show started off with a set from Eivør, a singer from the Faroe Islands, a constituent nation of Denmark. Her music is a mix of folk and electronic and has been featured in games like God of War as well as soundtracks like The Last Kingdom. The band consisted of just Eivør on vocals, hand drum, and guitar and a percussionist. Her voice falls somewhere between Kate Bush and Björk. I highly recommend checking her out if you’re not familiar with her.

The crowd loved her, for sure. After her set wrapped up, Eivør received a standing ovation. She said she was so moved that she was going to cry just before leaving the stage.

Between acts, there was the usual din of a concert. But when the house lights dimmed again, signaling the imminent entrance of Heilung, the audience began to lose its collective mind. The indecipherable hum of the crowd was broken by wolf howls, dog barks, trills, and screams. This wasn’t piped in by the band, this was their fans.

Everyone calmed down a bit when founding member Kai Uwe Faust walked on stage to do what looked like a blessing or incensing of the area and the instruments.  After several minutes of this prayer ritual, the rest of the  band entered stage right; and there were a lot of them. Every musician and dancer met at center stage and formed a circle. They began their pre-performance prayer. The crowd obliged by staying quiet, for the most part. There was the occasional cell phone ring or guy busting through the doors yelling to his buddies about some kind of food he wanted to try.

DIstractions aside, the first thing you’ll notice at a Heilung show is the set. The stage is transformed like a blank canvas. You won’t see amps or guitars. You will see a few drum sets, lamps, mic stands dressed in vines and bones, and a throne.

After the Opening Ceremony concluded, Heilung began the show with “In Maidjan” from their debut album, Ofnir. From there, we were off to the proverbial races. The show is an incredible work of art. The group has described themselves as “amplified history from early medieval northern Europe.” That description extends beyond their music to wardrobe and choreography. This is also the type of show where the crowd arrives dressed to match the band.

Watch Heilung perform “In Maidjan” live on YouTube:

As the show progresses, several stories unfold, battles are fought, and a warrior is executed and brought to the afterlife. The lyrics are sung mostly in German, Latin, Norse, Icelandic, and English. Singer Faust often utilizes throat singing as a counterpoint to Maria Franz’s traditional singing techniques.

The musical portion of the night concluded with the song “Hamrer Hippyer” and the audience, who until this point were enthusiastic but had stayed basically stationary, moved towards the stage. At this point, I felt like I was a part of the show Vikings where Ragnar Lothbrok was whipping his warriors into a frenzy. Fortunately, it never quite got to the frenzy part inside DAR Constitution Hall, but it was amazing to watch so many people get so excited about experimental folk music sung in a foreign language.

The show closed with the Closing Ceremony, calming everyone down before heading home. 

The entire night was exceptional. I was drawn into the whole experience from the start. It grabbed me and never let me go. Art + Music + History = Heilung.


  • Opening Ceremony
  • In Maidjan
  • Alfadhirhaiti
  • Asja
  • Krigsgaldr
  • Hakkerskaldyr
  • Svanrand
  • Fylgija Ear/Futhorck
  • Tenet
  • Anoana
  • Elddansurin
  • Hamrer Hippyer
  • Closing Ceremony

Here are some photos of Heilung performing at DAR Constitution Hall on April 17, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.


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