Today we present the second single – accompanied by a music video – from the upcoming album of Lithuanian ritualistic dark-folk project Vėlių Namai, due for release on January 20, 2023.
Watch & listen to “Alkai” here:
“Alkai”, the title track, was named after the sacred sacrificial sites in archaic Baltic spirituality. Most often, they were located in open places – on a hill, in a grove, by a stream, or in a meadow – and centred around a sacred tree. Worshippers would come to sacrifice oxen, sheep, goats, or other animals. In Lithuania and Latvia, there are still to this day over 240 geographical locations named after alkas.
Vėlių Namai take inspiration from these sacred places in hopes of giving listeners the strength to persevere in their own lives – to shift focus from mundane distractions to transformation, sacrality, and hope.
Band leader Julius Mitė commented:
“Alkai” is a song about passing to the other side and entering the afterlife. But most of all, it is a personal journey towards the acceptance of death. The video was shot in Lithuania – at many old, important, and personal locations. Some of the scenes are shot in an abandoned house that is now derelict but once belonged to my great-grandparents.
Vėlių Namai – “Alkai”
“Alkai” is the fourth album of Lithuanian ritualistic dark-folk project Vėlių Namai. It serves as an open invitation to experience the mystical world of the Baltics – to feel the sacredness of its ancient past.
Draped in a sonic tapestry woven from a great variety of musical traditions, the listener is sent off on a hypnotic flight of the imagination. Ceremonial chanting and droning folk parts give way to a kind of otherworldly, trance-inducing techno performed with mostly organic instruments. As with the radically different music styles, digital and analogue sounds are fused together seamlessly. Pulsating minimalism merges with vocals and shamanic percussion to create a hypnotic soundscape coated by mesmerizing melodies played on guitars, lutes, and ethnic string instruments such as the Turkish baglama, Lithuanian kanklės and Latvian giga. This ambitious concoction boils down to an exquisite brew infused in equal parts with Dead Can Dance, Wardruna, Sigur Ros, and various electronic music.
“Alkai” will be released by Nordvis on CD-digipak and digital, January 20, 2023. The album features guest appearances by Espen Winther of Eldrim, Swedish-Serbian composer Petar Mrdjen, and prominent Lithuanian singer Liucija Nanartavičiūtė. Cover artwork by Joan Llopis Doménech.
Vėlių Namai can be translated as ‘Home of souls’. The main intention behind the project – studio recordings, live shows, and the underlying philosophies – is the deliberation of matters pertaining to life, death, and the spirit world. This exploration is conducted through the lens of ancient Baltic understandings and concepts about the afterlife.
The band was founded in 2006 by Julius Mitė, a Lithuanian musician who was based in Prague at that time. Over the years, what started as a solo endeavour evolved into a full line-up with the inclusion of guitarist Jokūbas Krasauskas and percussionist Gintaras Aleksandravičius. Prior to “Alkai”, Vėlių Namai released three albums: “Pasiklydę” (2009), “Laumių Šokis” (2016), and “Kúrir” (2018). Over the years, the band has performed in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Slovakia and Belarus. Vėlių Namai in concert is characterised by a strong emphasis on the visual and ritualistic aspects that aims to induce a trance-like state in the listener. Their performances always include incense, video projections, hundreds of candles, animal bones, make-up, ceremonial garb, and various old Baltic, Ivorian and Middle Eastern imagery.
Vėlių Namai invites you to experience the darker side of nature, and of existence itself. Tread the trail of spirits – shrouded in mists and mysticism – and touch the other side. Visit your true home in the realm beyond.
1 – Aftensinn (‘Evening Mood’)
2 – Væringjar – (‘The Varangians’)
3 – Bardo
4 – Vilkobelė – (‘The Hawthorn’)
5 – Miklagarðr – (‘The Great City’)
6 – Alkai
7 – Saulės Kalvis – (‘The Sun’s Blacksmith’)
8 – Paskandos – (‘The World Beyond the Water/Hell/Drowning’)
9 – Invocation of the Nine-Horned God
10 – The Plateau
11 – Nótt (‘The Night’)
Release date: January 20, 2023
Formats: CD, Digital
Pre-sale link to publish alongside any news: