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Debut album Gabbarein OUT NOW on Our Silent Canvas Records

“A visual and sonic ode to the complexities of human emotion” – Idioteq

“The layered nature of the sound is always sympathetic to the vocals, often just wrapping tenderly around the tune and occasionally surging with intense energy that burns brightly around Hafstad. Tracks like ‘Så Stille’ ‘float on slowly shifting chord patterns of synth-strings and drones” – Joyzine

Watch: “Så Stille” video on YouTube

Listen to the Gabbarein Album on all digital platforms

Order Gabbarein double album special edition vinyl here

Ethereal Nordic folk duo Gabbarein, comprised of Norwegian vocalist Cecilie Hafstad and American composer-producer Christopher Bono, released their debut album May 3 on Our Silent Canvas Records. The record release was accompanied by a stunning video for the soaring, expansive track “Elsker,” which is the Norwegian word for love. Today the group has also shared the official video for “Så Stille” on YouTube. This self-titled debut album includes the previously released singles “Ra Rising Sun,” “Jeg Hører Deg,” and “Kom Her.”

Cecilie shares: “‘Alt er så mørkt, alt er så stille her’ means: Everything is so dark, everything is so quiet here. This is a track about leaving a situation and moving into a new one. The feeling of it, the void in between, like a pause between breaths. How quiet and dark it all seems, how scary “the new” is and how sad it is leaving, knowing that nothing will be the same again. That stillness and pause, that vacuum, when you know it’s over. In that moment everything stands still, like the darkness of night, it can be scary and dark but the stars are still shining.”

The “Så Stille” video features the motion graphics art of Pao Olea, interwoven amongst footage of singer Cecilie Hafstad and the white reindeer which inspired the project’s title. Gabbarein translates to “White Reindeer” in the Sámi language – the reindeer visited the duo during their improvisational recording session in the Nordic town of Lyngen, on a fjord within the Arctic Circle and was an inspiration for Cecilie during the recording process

Pao Olea shares: “This video is a journey through a spiritual realm, where energy shines as a beacon of hope in the darkness. It’s witnessing its transformative power as it guides us through the unknown, where even in the silence and darkness, the stars continue to shine. These visuals were crafted using real-time particle generation in TouchDesigner, where they sway and morph in sync with the music.”

Gabbarein is built on emotive improvised vocals framed by sensitive, sparse textures and arrangements and a variety of instrumentation including synths, mandolin, kalimba, guitars, flute, violin, mixed percussion, and local nature samples. Many of the tracks, including “Kom Her,”  have a calming and transcendent aura, while some channel an ancient Scandinavian intensity through pounding rhythms and indigenous melodies, as in “Ra Rising Sun”.  As a whole, Gabbarein is a moving and powerful listening experience that transports audiences to the sublime recording location of Norway’s Arctic Territory.

The origins of Gabbarein trace back to 2011 when Cecilie Hafstad and Christopher Bono first met at a Shamanic sound-healing retreat in Vermont. Their shared exploration of sound deepened into a unique musical partnership, evolving through collaborations on projects like NOUS and Ghost Against Ghost.

Gabbarein’s incarnation materialized during a transformative recording session in Lyngen, Norway, in June 2018, where the sublime Arctic setting and the unexpected appearance of a White Reindeer tapped into the culture of the local native Sámi people, and became a core inspiration for the sessions.  The album encapsulates the profound and personal journey undertaken by the duo during the week-long recording session.

Gabbarein’s themes delve into nature, collaboration, and the cathartic power of unearthing deeply buried emotions. There was no pre-written material or lyrics brought into the week-long recording sessions. All tracks were recorded in a single take, the lyrics channeled by Cecilie. Singing in Norwegian allowed Hafstad to channel something deeply personal in the sessions. “Some of the songs are about nature,” she explains. “I’m literally singing about the nature that I’m seeing. ‘Lyngen’, a song we call the water toning track, is really about that: I’m looking at the mountain tops and the waterfall coming down and the cows and the reindeer grazing. All this was going into what I was singing and helping to channel the music coming through.“

“With some of the other songs, I’m telling a personal story,“ she continues. “In the moment, the lyrics were just emerging from my past. When I listened to the tracks two years after the sessions, I had forgotten I had sung about past relationships. There are some pieces about my two marriages, especially my first marriage when I was very young, all this unexpectedly just arose in the moment. I remember on a couple tracks I was crying deeply while singing. One was about a dear friend of mine, who died when I was 12, on another (‘Mamma’) I was channeling thoughts and memories of my mother. So, it became a very, very personal album for me, though I never had this in mind going into the project.”

 “My intention with the production from the outset was to frame Cecilie’s voice like a visual work of art,” says Bono. “I wanted to create a landscape solely to support the exploration of her voice. My primary projects involve writing and singing my own work, so framing someone’s else’s voice was never something I was inspired to do. But with Cecilie it was different, as I cared about her like a sister. After recording her for the end of Ghost Against Ghost’s ‘Guerison’, by just letting her follow her  own intuitions, I came to love the sensitivity, soul, and tone of her Scandinavian inflections. Heading into the Lyngen sessions, my intention was really compelled by complete generosity directed to allowing her heart to flow out into the small space and capture it with a single microphone. Apart from that, it was a totally blank slate. It could have been anything. The only thing that was important was that Cecilie and I were doing a project together, in that magical place and space.”

The Double Vinyl special edition includes full project notes, photos and an original artwork vinyl etching. The vinyl and digital formats are available from Our Silent Canvas webstore now at

(Our Silent Canvas)
May 3, 2024
Purchase it HERE

Track List:

1_Ra Rising Sun
2_Kyss Meg
3_Cumash Canyon
4_ Så Stille
5_ Elsker
6_Kom Her
8_ Lyngen
9_ Jeg Hører Deg
10_ Yggdrasil
11_ Bjørke vise
12_ Alt en kan tenke seg
13_ Mamma