‘Kulning’ is an ancient hearing call used to communicate over long distances. You could use this high-pitched song to check in on your neighbours, a few miles away. Maybe warn them for wolf or bear, or even scare the wolfs and bears away. Or ask them to help you find lost animals in the woods.
‘Kulning’ was also used to communicate with the animals, for example call them back home from the woods at night. It is based on a variation of high and low pitches and short hearing calls of random words, animal noises or the names of the animals.
The high sound of ‘kulning’ can even be higher than a jet plan, which is pretty hard to imagine. But a jet plan reaches a dB of about 105 and ‘kulning’ can go as high as 125dB, believe it or not.
Since the middle ages it is mostly women who practise the art of ‘kulning’ and it is a really hard technique to learn. You can take courses in ‘kulning’ and it has become a bit of a trend that allows women to take place, as it has to be heard. Nowadays it is used mostly in folk music and can be compared to yoik, which is a Lappish song, also from Sweden. Even the film industry has opened their eyes for this high pitched beautiful, almost a bit melancholy, sound. Listen carefully in the soundtrack of Frozen and you will hear the magical sound.
In this clip Jonna Jinton will show us the beautiful art of ‘kulning’ as she is calling the cows in a farwell song and they slowly approach her. Make sure to watch this in a full screen mode and dream yourself away to the wonderful landscapes of Sweden. Maybe even close your eyes for a moment.