“I was really scared to push the launch button on Kickstarter,” said Nordic roots performer and Völva Kari Tauring. ”This seems like so much to ask, for people to just donate money to me. I went ahead and did it and it just blossomed like crazy.”
PNC-Minnesota caught up Tauring last night at a party and performance at the Black Dog in St. Paul celebrating her successful Kickstarter campaign to raise $7000 to produce her new CD, Nykken & Bear. Kickstarter is a crowd sourcing website where individuals or groups can outline a project they need funding for and the public can choose to donate or not. If a project doesn’t hit its goal fundraising amount, they don’t receive any funds.
Tauring launched her Kickstarter on the evening of January 19th. By the end of January she had achieved her original goal of $5000. Encouraged by the response, she increased the goal to $7000 and added an additional incentive. Everyone who donated would be able to vote on which song is made into a music video. Last night at 11pm, when the campaign ended, 185 had donated and she had raised a total of $7290.
Social media expert R. Blackwell said one of the factors contributing to Tauring’s Kickstarter success is how her presentation fit her audience, “I noticed right off the top her content and writing structure is very fluent and engaging. That makes for a compelling story and people tend to be drawn to what they are connected to. In this case it is the author-Writer-Artist-musician that has captivated the audience.” He also noted that successful campaigns are ones where personal relationships spread out like a web and having a good reputation enables people to trust you enough to give you money and to tell their friends it’s safe to do so as well.
Tauring credits her success to the complimentary communities she’s involved in, “I have some strong communities. My first $1000 donation came from a woman in South Dakota who is part of the Heathen community and I had served her in 2010 as Völva for some really deep stuff she was working through. … We have another large donor tonight and that is Claire Thoen of the Norwegian dance community in Minnesota. which has also been really supportive of my work because nobody is really bringing this stuff in the immigrant area like this. I also have support from people who have been following my career for some years.”
Claire Thoen has known Tauring, off and on, for several years. They both enjoy bringing ancient Nordic traditions into modern life, Ms. Thoen through her art, and both belong to the same Nordic folk dancing class. It was at this class that Thoen first heard of the Kickstarter for Nykken & Bear. ”When we are having our treats announcements are made and [Kari] said she started this project and would it be ok to send out information about Kickstarter to the people who do the folk dancing and I thought it was a wonderful idea.” Ms. Thoen checked out the project and then donated, “I support what she’s doing and I treasure her. I certainly treasure her friendship but I also treasure who she is in the world.”
The CD’s title, Nykken & Bear, holds special meaning for Tauring, “Nykken is part of my name and and it’s part of the way that I get to music because one gets to the music through the water spirits.” Not only are Nykken, or Nordic water spirits, important to Tauring, the bear is her spirit animal. All of the cuts on the CD relate in some way to either the Nykken or the Bear.
While Rachel, a Twin Cities Pagan, didn’t contribute to the Kickstarter, she did attend the celebration and performance and purchased the new CD, which was on sale at the event. Two weeks ago she stumbled across an older release of Taurings while she was shopping at Eye of Horus, and fell in love with her music. Once she watched a youtube video of Tauring, she knew she had to be at last night’s performance, “What I particularly like about the show she’s having now is I watched an interview with her on youtube where she was talking about her spirit animal, that’s she’s connected to the bear, and I really wanted to know more about that.” Rachel also feels an affinity for spirit animals and has the deer and wolf as her spirit animals.
Kari didn’t perform alone, on the CD or live. She was joined by Drew Miller, Scott Nieman, David Stenshoel, who all performed on the CD, and Steve Clarke, who was part of the live performance. Twin Cities residents may known them better as members of the now disbanded group Felonious Bosch. Tauring has collaborated with all four men before and said the quality of the CD and the success of the fundraising was boosted by their involvement.
Last night’s performance was the first time the entire album was performed for the public. Villeman og Magnhild, the first cut on the CD, had been posted to youtube as a teaser for the kickstarter campaign, but other than that, donors and fans had not yet been able to hear what their donations helped create. The CD consists of songs and some spoken word pieces, which are poems Kari wrote while on the Norwegian reality tv series Alt for Norge. I was able to hear the song Heiemo og Nykkjen live and later on CD. On the CD the song is enchanting, live it is surreal and haunting. Thrumming with power and dissonant accompaniment this is bound to be a favorite at future performances.
Just under 30 people attended the event, but if you missed it, there will be other opportunities to hear Kari and the band members play. The entire group will perform at the Northern Folk Gathering this June and Tauring will perform much of the CD at Lightening Across the Plains this fall. The group can also perform at house parties, contact Tauring to make arrangements.
Editor’s note: this article was updated to correct the spelling of Steve Clarke’s name and to note the band, Felonious Bosch, is no longer together.