Minneapolis singer/songwriter Jonathan Rundman can trace his family history in Finland back to 1540. Nikolaus Rungius (1560-1629) was Jonathan Rundman's 13th-great-uncle, and Rungius' mysteriously mummified corpse is a solemn tourist attraction in the Finnish countryside. The Rungius legend was passed down through the generations, and Jonathan Rundman traveled to the small town of Keminmaa, near the Arctic Circle, to witness the mummy himself. This visit inspired the song "The Ballad Of Nikolaus Rungius," as well as this music video featuring footage of Rundman's somber familial pilgrimage.
"The Ballad of Nikolaus Rungius" appears on Jonathan Rundman's new album Look Up, which was released in Finland in March of 2016. It is likely the first time an American rock musician has written songs about his Finnish heritage and released an album directly to Finland from the USA.
The recording features drummer Steve Goold (Ben Rector, Sara Bareilles); electric guitarist Tyler Burkum (Mat Kearney, Leagues); and bassist Ian Allison (Jeremy Messersmith, Eric Hutchinson); with Jonathan Rundman playing Hammond organ and synthesizer; produced by Matt Patrick at the Library Recording Studio in Minneapolis.