Live Report: Heilung at Kieler Schloss, 7 November 2019
Heilung is a phenomenon. Ever since their very first live show at Castle Fest in the Netherlands only two years ago, which was recorded and went viral on YouTube, the Danish-German-Norwegian trio has won an ever-growing fan base. With their unique mix of music, inspired by ancient Nordic history, and a ritualistic theatre-like show they have taken the stages of the world by storm, and are selling out big venues.
This fall they went on tour through Europe with a new show, featuring material from this year’s record, “Futha”. They easily filled renowned venues such as the beautiful Circus Krone building in Munich, the Admiralspalast in Berlin and London’s famous Roundhouse.
In Kiel in Northern Germany, their show took place in the Kieler Schloss, the palace, which sounds grander than it really is: An event and theatre hall built in the 60s, which can not hide its age. Still, most seats had a very good view and the sound was excellent everywhere.
After incense is spread by a shaman-like creature, the stage fills up with more and more people in clothes resembling real clothes from the Viking age and before, or inspired by the (semi-)nomadic tribes still roaming the polar regions of the North. Apart from some electronics needed for their amplified history, as the founders Kai Uwe Faust and Christopher Juul call their musical and spiritual approach, most instruments are handmade out of a plethora of materials such as bones, wood or animal hides.
And so they guide the audience through their ritual, which is built up like an ancient’s army’ preparation for battle. After the opening ceremony, empowering the mantra Remember, that we all are brothers / All people, beasts, trees and stone and wind / We all descend from the one great being / That was always there / Before people lived and named it / Before the first seed sprouted, the fan favourite ‘In Maidjan’ is a first highlight of the night.
As the evening commences, offerings are being made, fire is lit and terrible screams fill the room – all to ask for the goodwill of the gods, spirits or whatever is the driving force of men. Everything is held together by drums and the, for lack of a better word in this context, angelic voice of Maria Franz, who dominates the stage not only because of her white robe and the antler headgear.
A totally enchanting experience, and it is not long until the first members of the audience can be seen dancing between the seats, and finally, in the hypnotizing ‘Hamrer Hippyer’, all hel breaks loose, the warriors join the audience in their dances while this evening’s ritual ends in ecstasy.
Heilung is the perfect starter to dig deeper into Northern and Central Europe’s (pre-)history, while we don’t know exactly how our ancestors prepared for war or celebrated their communities, Heilung opens a window to show us how it might have been, for all we know. Most importantly this kind of live performance is how their music is meant to be consumed. It transmits the music from their albums to a completely different level, that can be felt and experienced in a way that is impossible in your living room. If you have the chance to see Heilung on stage – do it!