Helene Bøksle: Lucia
An inspirational message for our time
Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American
The voice of Helene Bøksle has quickly become synonymous with Christmas in Norway for many, a voice that has also been heard on this side of the Atlantic. Some may remember her from the song “Ere the World Crumbles” from the soundtrack of the popular video game Age of Conan: Unchained (2008). Since then, Bøksle has emerged as a major figure in the Norwegian music scene, with a repertory that spans from medieval Nordic sounds to folk songs to popular music.
I first fell in love with the music of Helene Bøksle after a performance of the old Nordic ballad “Heiemo og Nykkjen” by visiting Trondheim artist Lise Olden. She pointed me to Bøksle’s recording of the ballad on YouTube, and I was hooked. I purchased all of her CDs to date and became especially enchanted by her 2010 Christmas album Det hev ei rose sprunge. This now classic recording, with both old and new favorites, is still available for download or purchase online.
Last year, Bøksle was to delight her Christmas fans again with a new release, Lucia, recorded with the Norwegian Broadcasting Boys’ Choir, Sølvguttene—The Silver Boys. This famous choir, comprised of about 90 boys and 30 adult male singers, all of whom have previously been boy singers, is, like Bøksle, closely associated with Christmas. Each Christmas Eve, the program Sølvguttene synger julen inn, is broadcast into Norwegian homes.
As with Bøksle, with the Sølvguttene, there is more of an emphasis on a natural sound rather than technical perfection—or so it seems—much to the delight of listeners. The pairing of the singer and choir in Lucia is then nothing short of magical.
The song “Lucia” was inspired by the legend of Saint Lucia and was written to inspire us in the darkest time of the year.
The lyrics are an admonishment to the listener to draw inner strength from within: “Blessed is the light, the light in darkness from within. Hope, my shining star in darkest night bring us light.”
With their pure tones and harmonies, as the song opens, the Sølvguttene provide a haunting background hum to the singer’s lyrics, with a beautiful orchestration of ethereal sounds, including chimes and bells.
As the song progresses, the choir joins in to a dramatic swell of sounds, as they welcome Lucia—“Lucia! Lucia!”—bringer of light and hope. It is a musical message relevant to us today, as we gather inner strength, there is a light to lead the way through the darkness of our time.
This article originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.