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Kristine Moon

My Viking Island Lady

“My Viking Island Lady”

“It must be the Norwegian in you.” This is a statement I would hear throughout my life. My Filipina-Norwegian-American mother would say this to explain non-Filipina things about me. My height, my size, my freckles. I would hear this growing up, but I didn’t start being curious about my Norwegian heritage until about five years ago.

I excitedly jumped into learning about my Norwegian family. Luckily I had a wonderful Norwegian-American uncle who had created a family newsletter describing our Norwegian heritage and immigrant history. I found out my great-grandmother was from the mind-blowingly beautiful Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Ocean. My great-grandfather’s family was from the countryside in Telemark. My husband and I saved up our credit card points and traveled to these parts of Norway in 2018. I met a cousin of mine and his sweet wife in the fjords of Telemark, where they still lived on the farm where my great-great-grandpa played. This heritage trip will live on in my mind and heart as one of the most precious experiences I’ll ever know and I hope to take my three children there one day.

With an anthropological background, due to my first career around international educational development, I love learning about other cultures. Two of my favorite dimensions of any culture I desire to know are music and languages. I embarked on a Nordic musical and linguistic obsession, and I gained more appreciation for this part of my blood. I have always gravitated towards this part of the world with music, with my love for Icelandic goddess Björk and Norwegian fairy Aurora… I then learned about Eivør from the Faroese Islands, Jonna Jinton from Sweden, Icelandic musicians Ólafur Arnalds and JFDR, Danish Myrkur, Norwegian band Wardruna, Garmarna of Sweden…and so many others. I devoted myself to learning their songs to the best of my linguistic abilities. I absolutely love how modern folk music from Scandinavia takes me on melodic journeys I cannot find anywhere else. I encourage you all to go.

I then heard about local festivals and wondered if there would be others who would like to experience such a journey. I put together an act where I sing these different songs, dressed in a Viking costume, and take the audience on a medieval Scandinavian musical ride. I have gotten very sweet reception. When grown men, clad in Viking outfits and weaponry, come up to me and say they were moved to tears with my performance, it is all worth it. It is a deep, deep privilege to facilitate cathartic moments for others, a respite from our ordinary daily lives. I feel the same - these songs grant me that experience as well. Sometimes, I feel like my performance has nothing to do with me. I simply channel these musical spirits through my voice. I merely am the vessel for these medieval sounds to be heard again.

Please check me out one day, at a Viking Festival near you.

Kristine Moon performs at VikingsCon 2022