Music continues to prove it is the language of human emotion, as it has throughout the millennia. From the earliest days of man music has been the backtrack to funerals, weddings, prayers, rituals, wars, protests, and so many other defining moments. As we think about music being the voice that speaks to what we feel, it’s no wonder that a band like Hallatar would come into existence as the voice driving one emotional moment in particular; the passing of Aleah Liane Starbridge.
Hallatar is formed by Aleah’s partner and Swallow the Sun / Trees of Eternity guitarist Juha Raivio, Amorphis singer Tomi Joutsen, and former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick. Hallatar‘s debut record, No Stars Upon The Bridge, is due out October 13th on Svart Records.
The concept behind the group is probably best explained by Juha Raivio himeself:
”After the death of my beloved and my life partner Aleah Starbridge on April 18th a year ago I have been gathering writings, lyrics, and the poems of Aleah to keep them safe and close to my heart. About one month after the world came down on the blackest day of my life, I knew I needed to pick up the guitar and try to create something or I would be truly destroyed. And something did arrive out of the darkness, and I wrote the music for the Hallatar album in a week’s time.
I don’t have much memory of this week, not a memory of a single day of writing the music. But all I remember when going into this abyss of the writing process was a promise to myself that whatever music would come out, I would not touch or change anything of it afterwards. What mattered was that the music would stay forever as an absolute truth of those moments as they came out. I asked my good friends – and amazing musicians – Tomi Joutsen and Gas Lipstick if they would want to record this music with me, and both of them said yes without even hearing a note of it. I am forever grateful to both of them for sharing this road with me; even the weight of the process has not been easy to carry, or will be.
What we recorded was a raw moment in time honoring the memory, lyrics, and poems of Aleah Starbridge with all its pain, beauty and darkness. There are no stars left upon the bridge to light the way anymore, but the music will always be a dim light, even in the darkest of the night.”
Amorphis‘ Tomi Joutsen spoke about joining the group:
“I have known Juha from the year 2007, when we worked together for the first time. A couple years ago, I had the privilege to meet Juha’s life partner, Aleah Starbridge, who was such a beautiful person, inside and outside, and had an angelic voice out of this world. Aleah lent her voice on the latest Amorphis album, and we called her ‘the whispering ghost.’ When I heard about Aleah’s passing last spring, it came as a total shock and heartbreaking news out of the blue. When Juha asked me if I would want to be part of this album and carry Aleah’s flame with him, I didn’t have to think twice. When everything has been taken, all that is left is the music. The sorrow strips us naked and leave us humble – this is how it sounds like.”
Former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick also had some words:
“I am grateful and very honoured to be asked to join this band. Juha is a dear friend of mine since many years ago, and when he told me about his vision for Hallatar and asked me to join, I said yes instantly – I just had to be part of this amazing journey. I had never heard a single note of the music before I gave my ‘yes’ because I didn’t need to. Juha has been one of my favourite songwriters already for years, and I knew that Hallatar will be a very deep, personal, and one-of-a-kind story which I wanted to help him to bring alive.”
As you can see, the weight of what Hallatar have put together is not lost on anyone. The emotional tribute to one powerful soul begins with the band’s brand new music video for the song, “Mirrors.”
The music video for “Mirrors” was co-directed by Aapo Lahtela and Vesa Ranta. Get into it here: