Chapter II: The second theme

By Sébastien Tardif

One of the most infamous rivalries of Europe is deeply rooted in familial matters. We must go back to the Viking age again, and bring the history of the Duchy of Normandy: Vikings came to France and threatened the Franks at Paris. The Frank then decided to give them land in exchange for peace.

 

The Vikings settled in Normandy and learned the French language, customs and Christian religion. Generations later, William claims the throne of England, invades the Island, and defeats the Saxon king at Hastings. These Normans and their descendants make up most of the English nobility.

 

They kept ties with France, still speaking a dialect of Old French called Anglo-Norman. When the English king claimed the throne of France, he also owned Normandy and Guyane in the South-West. A war lasting a hundred years and more ensued.

 

This war helped forge English identity, nobles started preferring to speak in English more and more, and the idea of an English nation distinct from France was getting more real.

That is the setting that I chose for Chapter II. This setting poses some unique challenges lyrically and musically. First, no more Old Norse, no more talk of mead, pagan gods, raiding and exploring. This album will touch the topics of honorable war, national identity, language, kinship and disease, since we are lucky enough to have had the Black Plague happen at the same time of the war. So many different themes and ways to explore them, and we can now even use Latin, Old French and Anglo-Norman alike, depending on the context of the lyrics.

 

French and English as they are spoken today will also be used on the album, to represent the duality of the nations that is still present in 2017.



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