Country: Iceland
Language: Icelandic

Genre: Icelandic

Olafur Liljuros is an Icelandic folk song with a fascinating rhythm. Says wikipedia in its “Music of Iceland” entry, “Iceland’s isolation meant that, until the 19th century, foreign influences were virtually absent, which resulted in the maintenance of a particular rhythm, called ‘hákveða’, lost in other Nordic countries and considered one of the main characteristics of Icelandic folk music. Hákveða refers to a special emphasis placed on some of the words of a song, often the last word of each sentence in each verse.”

The basic story of the original version of Ólafur Liljuros involves a lot of intrigue (and quite a bit of blood). For a blow by blow account, read Silver_Biscuit’s translation and summary on Wordreference.com.

Original Lyrics:

Ólafur rode with rocks ahead
Led astray, he was calm,
He found before himself an elf-dwelling
There the red flame burnt
Mild blew the breeze from under the rocks ahead

Lyrics of All Around This World version:

Olaf rode with cliffs ahead
Villir hann, stillir hann
He found an elf who teased him, but Olaf he stayed calm
Olaf rode with cliffs ahead, he found an elf who teased him but Olaf he stayed calm.

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