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Krauka brings music, festivities, and fun to New York Mills Schools and Cultural Center

Members of Krauka perform at the Regional Arts Cultural Center in New York Mills on Friday, Sept 24. The concert drew nearly 100 audience members. From left: Gudjon Rudolf Gudmundsson, Jens Villy-Pedersen, Aksel Striim, and Soren Koldsen-Zederkof

The New Nordic Arts Alliance connects and educates people through tribal and contemporary Nordic arts.

Jill Johnson, director of the Nordic Arts Alliance, serves as tour manager while the group is in the United States. The group just received 501(C)-3 status, and Johnson note that they have the highest quality interesting Scandi artists in film, music, techno, new dance, roots and tribal music and the visual arts. They hold deep connections with Scandi arts promoters in Scandinavia as well as Minnesota artists.

The Krauka Viking band from Denmark and Iceland promote "Music for New Vikings". Artists of the Krauka concert used such instruments as a recreation of a Viking Bowed Lyre found in a grave mound.

The instruments reconstructed after archaeological findings and modern instruments intertwine, creating an intense and often wild atmosphere. All four of the Krauka musicians compose, and most of their songs are in Icelandic, which today comes closest to the language of Vikings.

A contemporary five-stringed bass accompanied their music during their performances on Friday, Sept 24. They played two shows in Wadena prior to coming to New York Mills. They played for over 500 students at two concerts for the 7-8th grade students, and one for the K-6 students.

Members of Krauka include Gudjon Rudolf Gudmundsson is the lead vocalist and percussion; Jens Villy-Pedersen plays lyre, flutes, bouzouki, percussion and vocals; Aksel Striim plays the bowed lyre, shawm, recorder, clarinet and vocals; Soren Koldsen-Zederkof uses the electric bass, basslyre and vocals.

Krauka adds valued education presentations, workshops, master classes, and art-for-all social justice performances, according to the New Nordic Arts Alliance group.

Krauka also runs inservice presentations and after-school enrichment for students, as well as workshops on Nordic mythology, Viking bone flute making, history and construction of Viking instruments and composing new music from ancient sources.

Sara Sha, co-founder of Viking Village at Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, MN said that, "When Krauka came to town the first time, that's when I realized my culture is actually rich, soul-touching, and evolving. I was in danger of blowing off my Scandinavian culture ... until I realized how cool it had become."

Krauka was formed in 1999 around the idea of combining storytelling and music from the Viking Age. The band aims to take audiences in a journey back in time, filled with legends about Vikings and myths about elves, dwarves, tricksters and gods.


After their two performances at the NY Mills Public Schools, Eagles Café in NY Mills held an authentic cultural dinner for guests. The Cultural Center had mentioned it was thankful that the Eagles Café is so accommodating for their cultural dinners and events. One person mentioned that the taste was so different because sugar wasn't added to everything and a lot of the recipes contained almond milk.

Krauka played for nearly 100 audience members at the Regional Culture Center in NY Mills after the authentic dinner. Dolly Tumberg, owners of Mills Lanes, said, "They were wonderful!"

Waves of excitement, energy, and an 'electricity' flowed through the crowd as they clapped along with beats and sang along to a traditional song toward the end of the show.

A long-lasting standing ovation followed.

The following day, Krauka set up shop in the Cultural Center for two hours of bone flute carving. As one attendee struggled with his flute, group member Aksel Striim expertly took a tool and fixed the problem with a twist.

Their visit to NY Mills spread education across the community from the school systems all the way up to elderly citizens.

"The show is amazing," said a resident during an intermission during Friday night's performance. "I can't wait until they start again," he said as he headed inside.