Folk Songs from Everywhere

One of the big reasons I write fantasy is so that I have an outlet for my love of everything culture.

Lately, I’ve been on a big folk song kick. 

With regards to writing, folk songs are a great way to build a world. These tunes become part of a people’s way to look at themselves and their land. Listen to the ones below and note what the people see as important. Nature? Dreams coming true? Love? A sense of homecoming and belonging? Exploring folk music is a truly pleasant way to spend the afternoon and it might bring your fantasy world to life in ways you never imagined.

Caledonia (Scotland) by Dougie McLean


Vor í Vaglaskogi (Iceland) by Kaleo (video at the very bottom of this post) *It’s in Icelandic so I’ll give you the gist. As far as I’ve heard, it’s about woman who dreams of her husband during springtime in a forest. She believes he is dead, but then she sees him alive, and her dream comes true. If you’re Icelandic and have a better explanation, don’t hold back!!


Skogar, Iceland; Skogar Folk Museum includes different types of housing through the ages

Shining Moon (Thailand) by Sound of China Guzheng *You can find school groups singing this online. Beautiful lyrics.


Si Maritau Rosa (Sicily) *The Italian lyrics talk about blooming almond trees, birds chirping, and a beautiful girl who wants to marry. She says none of the handsome boys look her way. There are a few versions of this though.


Sakura “Cherry Blossoms” (Japan)


I hope you enjoy! 🙂


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6 Responses to Folk Songs from Everywhere

  1. aubreyleaman says:

    I love folk songs and this is such a great idea for world building! Great post. 🙂

  2. Agreed! I always try to implement folk songs into my novels, though it’s quite difficult to find the words to properly express the character of the culture you’re writing about–plus, I’m not great at poetry nor lyrics… Though it’s definitely a skill that pays off for fantasy writers 🙂

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