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The Varangian

July 12, 2020

What does genre mean anyway?
Here at Broken Drum Records, we’re not too concerned with making music that fits any specific genre. In fact, that’s mostly because we’re not able to. Whatever we do comes out sounding like us and usually doesn’t quite fit any genre we’re aiming at.

Drum and bass
We love DnB but when we dial up a current DnB playlist on Spotify, most of seems a bit “meh!”. Old Dnb, when it still showed its junglist roots, seems to kick harder. Anyway, that’s all just an aside. To business!

The Varangian
Here’s a tune we have just released. It’s drum and bass with a neurotech feel but like so much of our music, it brings in some sounds and ideas from whatever we’ve been listening to or whatever has captured our imagination. Lately, we’ve been listening to various artists from Nordic countries who make rootsy, pagan, earthy music. Our way of connecting that with our general Middle Eastern, Central Asian sound is to think about where the Norse nations interacted with the Byzantine empire. We’ve used some medieval and Middle Eastern instruments.

The Varangians was the name given by Greeks, Rus people, and others to Vikings, who between the 9th and 11th centuries ruled the medieval state of Kievan Rus, which was in parts of what is now Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Some of these Vikings formed the Byzantine Varangian Guard.

The English connection
After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, many Saxon warriors went to Constantinople to join the elite Varangian Guard. The Varangian Guard gradually changed from Scandinavian to English.

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