The Faroe Islands are a self-governing part of Denmark, and are an isolated group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. Most Foroese music is primarily vocal, accompanied by the fiddle (which arrived in the 17th century) and European dances like the minuet and polka.

Much of the imported music and instruments remained popular only in the capital and largest city, Torshavn. Rural peoples remained true to traditions of circle dancing and ballads. The three types of dance ballads are kvæði, tættir and vísir. Many of these dance forms were revived after World War 2, when a number of dance societies were formed. The ballads were largely compiled in Corpus Carminum Færoensium, which collected over 44,000 stanzas.

Other songs include skjaldur, fantastic fairy tales sung by adults for children, and pitch-sliding, microtonal hymns called kingosálmar.

Modern Faroese musicians like Kirstian Blak, Enekk, Gunnar and Annika Hoydal and Lennart Kullgren have fused native traditions with music from Scotland, Bulgaria and the Saami people of northern Scandinavia.


  • Cronshaw, Andrew. "A New Pulse for the Pols". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 58-63. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0