Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Battle of Kringen

Have you heard of the Scottish March of 1612? How about the conflict that followed it called the Battle of Kringen? While these events might sound unfamiliar, many Sons of Norway members recognize the iconic figure of Prillar-Guri, the battle's legendary heroine, who blew her horn and signaled the Norwegian peasants to ambush the Scottish mercenaries. In our August cover feature, Viking writer Ann Pedersen does a great job of explaining these events, as well as summarizing a complicated period of European history: the Kalmar War.

Norwegians are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Kringen in Otta, Gudbrandsdal, Aug. 18–26. Festivities include guided tours of the Kringen site, a parade with marching bands, pipe bands, Scottish and Norwegian folk musicans and dancers; junior level international soccer matches, a worship service for peace on Sun., Aug. 26; and a Scotch whiskey seminar. Nearly 50 members of the American Gudbrandsdalslaget are attending the Festival.

The battle, remembered as Norway's first organized resistance movement, is an important part of Norwegian history and the subject of the ballad "Sinclairvise." My favorite version of this tune is by the Norwegian folk rock group "Folque" on their 1974 album. There's no video for this, but it's definitely worth a listen.

I found a couple other interesting versions of this song, one by a Faroese folk group called Harkaliðið. For a harder-edged interpretation, check out this version by the Faroese Viking Metal group, Tyr.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. 

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