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TIRILL

Prog Folk • Norway


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Tirill biography
Tirill Mohn - Born 22 feb 1975

Tirill Mohn played violin and classical guitar on Norwegian prog giant WHITE WILLOW's much acclaimed debut album Ignis Fatuus. Her own style is not radically different, with the added benefit of a lovely singing voice, and has been well described as Norwegian feminine gothic folk with progressive elements.

TIRILL released her first album on Michael Piper's The Wild Places label specializing the somber and beautiful Scandinavian progressive rock. It was well acclaimed and she began working on a second album, with a goal of putting poems by W.B. Yeats to music. When Piper died in 2008, Tirill decided to form her own label Fairymusic. In 2011 she re-released her first album with the new name "Tales from Tranquil August Gardens" including 3 bonus tracks, and followed with the aforementioned Yeats project entitled "Nine and Fifty Swans".

With a blend of folk, pop, classical, and medieval elements in her repertoire, TIRILL should appeal to lovers of WHITE WILLOW, LOREENA MCKENNITT, NICK DRAKE, HEATHER FINDLAY, LINDA PERHACS, and even MADDY PRIOR's more ambitious solo works.

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TIRILL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.99 | 12 ratings
A Dance With The Shadows
2003
4.01 | 13 ratings
Nine And Fifty Swans
2011
4.28 | 59 ratings
Um Himinjǫšur
2013
4.16 | 64 ratings
Said the Sun to the Moon
2019

TIRILL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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TIRILL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Said the Sun to the Moon by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.16 | 64 ratings

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Said the Sun to the Moon
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Tirill Mohn is back with her fourth solo album, a concept/thematic piece which provides twelve songs dedicated to the shift of the seasons, 'to the beauty of nature in all its phases and changes, and to the human heart that wanders along with it, moon after moon, lifetime after lifetime.' Commencing with 'Autumn', each season has three songs as she works through the year. This is a somewhat unsuual album in that all instruments are stringed, with no percussion. The music is layered, and while there are plenty of mandolins and guitars there are also violins, cellos and harps. It takes the listener on a journey, with wonderful vocals, harmonies and songs, and the darkness of reality seems so far away indeed.

Released in 2019, this album had been six long years since 'Um Himinjǫ'ur' and one can only hope that the next one comes around far more quickly, as this is a work of some importance. The delicacy and space between the instruments is huge, and one can imagine a small group of friends sat together in a room smiling at each other as they weave the spell. There is a na've charm to some of these, which sounds almost as if they have come out of the Sixties when the world was still innocent, and not from the far more bombastic and plastic world of the current day. It is sheer beauty, possibly something more and certainly nothing less.

I often like to play music at the end of the night, and in order to give my weary ears and brain a rest from playing music I have yet to to review, I often turn to old favourites such as 'Snow Goose' to see out the day. However, this album is such a delight that I have found myself turning to it time and again not because I need to play it more to be able to write some words, but just because I have been enjoying it so much and it relaxes me each time I hear it. Whether this music is described as progressive acoustic, New Age ambient, Celtic or alternative folk, all I know is that it is a delight from beginning to end. Her voice captures me, and combined with the music takes me to places I want to discover, and when playing this on headphones the rest of the world just disappears and I am entranced.

 Said the Sun to the Moon by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.16 | 64 ratings

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Said the Sun to the Moon
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars By this point, the idea of a female folk singer writing songs about nature is virtually a clich', but it's hardly surprising that it would take an intelligent artist like Tirill Mohn to actually deliver something truly thought-provoking and significant with the concept. A member of Norwegian symphonic group White Willow a lifetime ago, Tirill has released several sublime prog-folk solo releases over the past fifteen-plus years, but `Said the Sun to the Moon' is perhaps her most intimate, precious and thought-provoking work to date.

In her own words, `Said the Sun...' is Tirill's ode to `the shift of the seasons, to the beauty of nature in all its phases, and to the human heart that wanders along with it.' Not a concept album as such, rather a themed collection where each side of vinyl covers two seasons, she presents a series of gentle folk tunes, spoken word interludes, delicate instrumentals, sensitive covers and evocative sound-collages with the help of several musical acquaintances, but it's her wistful and compassionate voice that constantly shines front and center throughout.

`Autumn's restrained trickles of harp make for a pretty little opener, but it's Tirill's stark retelling of Nick Drake's `Clothes of Sand' that couldn't be in better hands. All the sensitivity and aching longing she always conveys so impeccably on her works carries this mournful lament, and the groaning cello, weeping violin and a raw urgency to Tirill's acoustic plucks perfectly capture the words of pining to be with a passed love. The most delicate wisps of her exquisite multi-part harmonies then flit around the gentle breeze that is her take on traditional English folk tune `Under the Harvest Moon'.

After `Winter's haunting gothic ballad, Tirill's reinterprets American poet Mark Strands' `Lines for Winter' as a low-key aural collage of acoustic drones, chilly distortion and tolling chimes, retitled to `Under the Small Fire of Winter' and urging the listener to find traces of hope, renewing spirit and hope through the cold of disillusionment and disappointment. But it's instrumental `To the Realms of the Spirit' that reveals true magic, where the most sweetly swooning violin and acoustic guitar weave an endless world of romance together, making for a fanciful and endlessly beautiful way to close out the first side of the LP.

`Spring' teems with the promise of sprightly new life, the delicately touching `Shapes of a Dream' is an elegant acoustic ballad that drifts to heavens of longing and pensive reflection on Tirill's gently cooing sighs, and `Said the Sun to the Moon', setting Kathleen Jessie Raine's poem `Changes' to a dreamy, almost medieval-tinged backing is a metaphorical musing on the inevitable cycle of change that affects all living things.

After `Summer' (another brief interlude that, like all the season titled pieces that popped up on this LP before it, offers interpretations of meditative verses found within Austrian philosopher Rudolof Steiner's contemplation of nature, `The Calendar of the Soul'), `Beneath the Midnight Sun' reminds that all the ballads Tirill duets with a male singer on, in this instance longtime vocal collaborator Dagfinn Hobęk, are always wonderful highlights of her solo discs. But closer `Iridescent Horizon' is the most special moment, being an all-original poem of intangible, dream-like imagery by Tirill, blessed with a transcendent aural backing. Her increasingly breathless recitation purrs through delicate slivers of ethereal guitar strains, and the entire piece unveils a shimmering, vivid ambiance.

This is the kind of quietly ambitious musical undertaking that encourages the listener to conduct their own further research into the influences and inspirations found within it, and yet, all the while, it's wrapped in sweetly reflective tunes that take time and endless listens to properly appreciate, and to discover how deceptively multi-layered, subtly complex and richly expressive the whole suite is. Rife with surreal lyrical imagery delivered vocally with restraint, careful thought and a joyful affection for life and all its natural beauty, `Said the Sun to the Moon' is another artistic musical triumph from the defiantly original folk artist that is Tirill.

Five stars for prog-folk lovers.

 Said the Sun to the Moon by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.16 | 64 ratings

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Said the Sun to the Moon
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars A concept album of gorgeous folk music inspired by the four seasons and Tirill Mohn's long-standing connection to Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf educational model, we have here a journey through the Nordic year beginning with Autumn and ending with a late summer sunset (or sunrise) in which Tirill employs, adapts, or re-forms known poetry and song lyrics to fit her vision and mood. The four seasonally titled "interlude" songs, "Autumn," "Winter," "Spring," and "Summer," manipulate the words of Steiner himself, while other more full-bodied songs are adaptations of works by the likes of Nick Drake, Mark Strand, Patric Crotty, and Kathleen Jessie Raine.

01 "Autumn" (1:13) strongly plucked concert harp with the whispery voices of Tirill Mohn and other female soprano, Julie Kleive, open the album with their poetic introduction. (5/5)

02 "Clothes of Sand" (3:08) acoustic guitar and, later, cello, support Tirill in this Nick Drake song. Female vocals harmonize below Tirill during the chorus. Viola and/or violin join the cello beneath the second verse. Like singing with a string quartet. Wow! (9/10)

03 "Under the Harvest Moon" (2:14) harp and Tirill and other voices. A traditional folk song that sounds as if it could be an Andreas Vollenweider Christmas song. (4.5/5)

04 "Winter" (1:58) two harps dancing slowly around each other before Tirill and the beautiful soprano voice of Julie Kleive join in, also singing in tandem as if circling around one another. Stunning! (5/5)

05 "Under the Small Fire of Winter Stars" (2:26) bowed stringed instrument and folk percussives provide the mood accompaniment for Tirill's campfire story-version of this Mark Strand poem. Evocative! (4.5/5)

06 "To the Realms of the Spirit" (3:17) acoustic guitar and other harp and/or lyre (?) duet with bass and Lithuanian zither ("kankl's"). No voices or lyrics despite its inspiration coming from the words of Rudolf Steiner. Very pretty. (8.5/10)

07 "Spring" (1:16) harp and folk madrigal Tirill (and Julie). (4.25/5)

08 "Shapes of a Dream" (4:05) in her breathiest, most knee-buckling voice Tirill sings (with accompaniment from vocalist Marte Bj'rkmann) over a guitalele. A bit of a Judy Collins melody haunts the listener as does the gentle pastoral mood set by the beautiful work of the musicians. (10/10)

09 "Said the Sun to the Moon" (3:09) Tirill and soprano vocalist, Julie Kleive, sing together while harp and lyre (two harp tracks?), guitar, bass play in support on this Kathleen Jessie Raine lyric. Very nice chordal structure from the instrumentalists between the vocal verses. Prog folk does not get better than this! (10/10)

10 "Summer" (1:34) harp supports the now-familiar duo of two female singers (Tirill and Julie, I presume). But wait, do I hear three vocal tracks working in harmony? (4.75/5)

11 "Beneath the Midnight Sun" (4:15) opens with the gorgeous male voice of Dagfinn Hob'k singing with the harp/lute accompaniment. Tirill makes her delicate presence known with occasional harmonized vocals (more as the song goes on). There is an eerie edge to this song--not unlike some of the pagan folk songs of the German band FAUN. Violin joins in during the third minute as does traditional folk Hardanger fiddle. Based on a lyric by Patric Crotty, this is an amazing song--my favorite on the album and one of my favorite songs of 2019! It has all of the qualities of a timeless classic. (10/10)

12 "Iridescent Horizon" (4:34) opens with long-sustaining synthesizer-like treated electric guitar notes floating into the sky like cinders rising from a campfire. Joined by delicately played folk guitar and then Tirill's spoken voice reciting some poetry--poetry evoking beauty and wisdom. The "infinite" guitar is awesome! What an amazing end to an amazing musical journey! I feel bathed, washed, cleansed, refreshed, renewed, revitalized, and reborn! (9.5/10)

One of the most beautiful, enrapturing albums I've ever heard, flowing seemlessly, sucking the listener in from its first notes and then spitting one out at the end limp yet refreshed. Like Sirens enticing and entrapping sailors on the Mediterranean, the vocal duet arrangements and performances of Tirill and Julie Kleive are stunning and totally beguiling. The use of traditional folk instrumentation throughout is also planned meticulously and pulled off flawlessly.

A/five stars; a masterpiece of prog folk and one of the best albums of 2019 and one of the finest prog folk albums of all-time.

 Um Himinjǫšur by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 59 ratings

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Um Himinjǫšur
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by myhandsarefree

3 stars Tirill's Um Himinjǫ'ur is a very nice folk album that lacks most of what is required for it to be considered prog. It is well-performed throughout, from the vocals to the guitars to the winds and strings, but nothing here is particularly interesting or out of the ordinary. Chords, rhythms, time signatures, and song arrangements are all fairly standard. None of the music is challenging enough to require virtuosic performances. There is little to no improvisation. The vast majority of songs are quite short as well -- nothing that could be considered a prog epic. I definitely enjoyed this album, but it is by no means essential to a prog music collection.
 Um Himinjǫšur by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 59 ratings

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Um Himinjǫšur
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars 2013 saw the release of the most recent album from Tirill Mohn, and one can only hope that with the recent activity which has seen the reissue of her three albums that another is soon to be available. Her confidence grew with each release, and this is widely viewed as her finest work to date. Although she is always at the centre with her fragile vocals, here she has also brought in more singers and there is a wider use of Mellotron and strings to emphasise the acoustic guitar and the sheer beauty of what she is performing. This is music which captures the listener and entrances them, taking them into a world they never want to leave. In some ways there is some layering which is almost reminiscent of Enya, but this always feels very English as opposed to Celtic.

There are times when this is more folky and acoustic than her other material, but also others where it is also far more progressive, and almost commercial. Her vocals and arrangements on songs such as "Fagrar Enn Sol" are sublime, with almost Carpenters style harmonies, yet with her voice always very much in control and at the centre. Although some of the lyrics are in Norwegian, this does feel as if it is an English album, and it is no surprise to realise the title translates to 'About Heaven' as the listener really does feel they have been given the opportunity to hear what that sounds like. It is a truly beautiful album, and even six years after its initial release there is a captivating beguiling beauty which cries out to be heard and enjoyed.

 Nine And Fifty Swans by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.01 | 13 ratings

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Nine And Fifty Swans
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Those who have the fortune to study the poetry of W.B. Yeats may feel they recognise the title of Tirill Mohn's recently reissued second solo album, which originally came out in 2011. It is taken from the poem "The Wild Swans at Coole", and this whole album has been inspired by the work of Yeats, so lyrically this is a very English sounding piece of work. It may have taken her eight years to follow up the debut, but the result is an album which contains a great deal of strength and beauty within it. As well as providing vocals, acoustic guitar, Mellotron, violin & percussion she also brought in various guests, and a special mention must be made of Dagfinn Hoboek whose vocals on "The Cap & Bells" works perfectly with Tirill, while bassists Nils Einar Vinjor and Herman Schultz (double bass) combine to create a perfect curtain for the rest of the band to play against.

This doesn't feel as fragile as the debut, with more of a folk feel as it moves away from the more overtly progressive style, and one would never realise this was a Norwegian album as it feels as if it is an overlooked English masterpiece from nearly fifty years ago. Sublime, with superb breathy, fragile and delicate yet powerful vocals, this is definitely worth discovering.

 A Dance With The Shadows by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.99 | 12 ratings

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A Dance With The Shadows
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Tirill Mohn will always be best known for her part in the formation of Norwegian Progressive Rock band White Willow, although her sole album appearance was on 1995's debut 'Ignis Fatuus'. It wasn't until 2003 that she released her debut solo album, titled 'A Dance With The Shadows' on small independent label The Wild Places, but in 2011 she revisited the album and added three additional bonus songs, changed the title and with new artwork 'Tales From Tranquil August Gardens' was released. Then, at the end of 2018 her three albums were finally reissued on CD in the UK for the first time. With White Willow she provided violin and classical guitar, but here the album mostly concentrates on her delicate vocals, and as well as her own talents on multiple instruments she has a great many guests adding nuances here and there.

However, the album is incredibly delicate, with a feeling that a good puff of wind could cause the whole thing to collapse at any time. There are times when she reminds me of the wonderful Talis Kimberley, as well as Judy Dyble. Her style feels very much like that of English folk which was coming out in the early Seventies, yet with additional instrumentation which moves it more into the prog folk field than that of a purist approach to either genre. There is a strength and spine within the vocals, and Tirill can be forceful when she needs to, but never at the expense of beauty and grace. Space is an important instrument on the album, with music and vocals creating a web which is much stronger than may initially believed. I missed the original, and the last reissue, but am glad it has finally come to my attention.

 Um Himinjǫšur by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.28 | 59 ratings

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Um Himinjǫšur
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This is the most recent solo release from this true master of the folk-centric Prog Folk sub genre, Tirill Mohn. Her work with the original WHITE WILLOW lineup and her other more recent collaborative project, AUTUMN WHISPERS are well, well worth checking out as well. During my listening of this album I found myself remarking for the first time at how similar Tirill's voice has evolved to sound like that of enigmatic American singer-songwriter, JEWEL.

Album highlights for me include: the heart-wrenching harmonized singing and melodies of "Serpent" (4:40) (10/10); the multi-layered choral approach to "Fagrar enn Sol" (2:56) (10/10); the awesome male-female duet, "Muzzled" (4:56) (10/10); the gentle "Voluspa" (3:08) which is sung in Tirill's native language, the mellotron-drenched "Moira" (4:46) (9/10); "The Poet" (5:04) (9/10); the medieval folk song, "Quiet Night" (3:07) (9/10), and; the album's most proggish and 'mini-epic,' "In Their Eyes" (9:25) (8/10).

Amended 12/4/15: Over the past year or so this album has continued to grow in my esteem and frequent my playlists more and more often. Not only has this become one of my favorite albums of the year 2013 but also of the Prog Folk sub-genre as a whole. This album is masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Nine And Fifty Swans by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.01 | 13 ratings

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Nine And Fifty Swans
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Nine and Fifty Swans is a much more mature and sophisticated version of the Tirill from 2003's A Dance with the Shadows. Her voice styling has become more breathy, her choices in instrumental support and pacing more diverse, and her male companion on background vocals helps present a nice contrast and edge to her music. The lyrics are all taken from the poetry of W.B. Yeats--which makes for gorgeous English lyrics. Great idea!

Favorite songs: "O do not Love too Long" (4:34) (9/10); the proggy "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" (2:41) (9/10); the delicate, Spanish folk sound of "Before the World Was Made" (3:05); the breathy, the Celtic-infused "To a Child Dancing in the Wind" (3:00) (8/10) and "The Fisherman/Carolan's Ramble to Cashel" (4:57) (9/10); the male-voice-led "Parting" (2:29) (8/10), and; "The Wild Swans at Coole" (5:30) (8/10).

 A Dance With The Shadows by TIRILL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.99 | 12 ratings

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A Dance With The Shadows
Tirill Prog Folk

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A Dance with the Shadows is a collection of mostly soft and somber single-instrument based folk songs sung by the delicate voice of former WHITE WILLOW violinist, Tirill Mohn. "Vendela" (6:37) (8/10) stands out as the only faster-paced, full-band supported "prog" song. The album's finale, "When You Sleep" (5:15) (9/10) is another standout due to the contributions of the ensemble of accordion, violin, and percussion that give it its Italian café feel. Tirill is obviously a very contemplative poet/lyricist as her season-based lyrics are quite evocative of the thoughts she has during certain times of the year. My recommendation of this album pales next to her 2013 release, Um Himinjo∂ur, due mostly to the feeling that this is really a pop folk album more than a Prog Folk effort. A variation of this album was released from a different label in 2011 under the title, "Tales from Tranquil August Gardens." While it has a few more songs added to it, the packaging of the original is part of what makes it worth owning. Try the following song samples from YouTube: "Dressed in Beauty" (5:21) (9/10), "June's Flowers" (3:25) (8/10), and; "Winter Roses" (4:43) (8/10).
Thanks to kenethlevine for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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