The Ballad of Sinclair - Sinklars vise

by Hakon

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Sinklars vise, Sinklars visa, Zinklars vise, Sinklarsvisa – there are many ways the title of this ballad is written. Whichever you prefer, it still means "The Ballad of Sinclair", referring to Captain George Sinclair of the Scottish clan Sinclair who in 1612 was planning to pass through Norway with 400 men to serve as mercenaries for Sweden in the war against Denmark-Norway. However, before they got very far, they were allegedly massacred by Norwegian farmers.

The song is the "Hollywood version" of events, of course, with 1,400 men rather than 400, the first shot taking out George Sinclair himself, and every single Scot being killed. The truth is still quite dramatic, though most of them were captured rather than killed and only executed later, and the last 18 men were sent to Copenhagen and apparently survived to tell the tale.

The song, written in 1781, just before the onset of National Romanticism in Norway, quickly got adopted by the movement as a song about standing up to a regime that oppressed your national identity, as some Norwegians felt Denmark did the 400 years that Norway was under Danish rule and, to a lesser extent, under Swedish rule from 1814 onwards.

This particular melody is a Faroese modification of the original ballad, with the addition of the beat change and chorus that isn't in the original Norwegian version, and the song is probably better known in the Faroe Islands than in Norway, too, singing it and dancing to it one of the ways in which Faroese national identity is expressed.

Recently, the Faroese version is the one that one might most likely encounter in newer Norwegian songbooks. I think it has a lot more energy than the original, and the rhythm change and chorus adds a bit of interest to the melody.


This is an instrumental version of the song.


released December 2, 2012
Hakon Soreide / Arrangement, Recorders, Programming, Cover Artwork


all rights reserved



Hakon Inverness, UK

From Norway, but living in Scotland, I am a poet, artist, designer, photographer, and long-time dabbler in music.

I play recorders, Native American flutes, and a few notes on the piano, as well as enjoying exploring the timbral possibilities of purely electronic music.

I love playing traditional music from Brittany, Norway and Ireland, as well as my own compositions.
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