Watch an audio slideshow about one of the most famous Icelandic turf farms, Laufás in Eyjafjördur, Northeast Iceland.
06.10.2012 | 14:46
The Most Icelandic Songs (BJ)
At first I wanted to write about the best Icelandic songs, but that could be debated. So I just decided to choose a few “typical” Icelandic songs through time. The recordings may not all be the very best, but the songs are great. Listen to them all. It could be the best half hour of your week.
First of all I choose the song Brennid thid vitar or Burn, you Lighthouses by Icelandic organist and composer Páll Ísólfsson, written for the Millennium celebration of Althingi, Iceland’s Parliament in 1930. This song should be played out at full blast. It is best performed men male choirs, but Björk has used the song as well.
The next song is a psalm, and the text comes from the 13th century by Kolbeinn Tumason, who is said to have written the psalm the day before he was killed in battle with the bishop of Iceland! The composer, Thorkell Sigurbjörnsson, is best known for his very modernistic compositions. Here the psalm is performed by Eivör, the great Faroe Isles singer, who has resided in Iceland on and off for the last few years. Hördur Áskelsson, organist and conductor, has called this an almost perfect psalm. It is called Heyr himna smidur or Hear me, Maker of Heaven.
Next I present a very Icelandic song from the fifties by the brothers Jónas and Jón Múli Árnason. Jón Múli was a very original composer and wrote a great many songs, many for the musicals written by his brother. The song is called Einu sinni á ágústkvöldi or Once on an August Night and describes and amorous rendezvous. This is a song often sung at school reuninons, after you have had three beers.
Here is one gem by Magnús Blöndal Jóhannsson, another modernistic composer. The most beautiful song ever some have claimed. Here sung by Ellý Vilhjálms, a great singer in the sixties.
The first real rock band in Iceland was Hljómar from Keflavík, described as the Icelandic Beatles. One of their first songs was Bláu augun thín or Your Blue Eyes. Something everyone knew in the sixties. The composer is Gunnar Thórdarson, the Lennon-McCartney of Iceland. Here it is performed by Thurídur Sigurdardóttir, a bit more polished then the original version.
The next song is called Don’t try to Fool me and is in English, written by Jóhann G. Jóhannsson, also from Keflavík. Jóhann was hoping this would be the song to make him world famous and thus wrote the text in English. Because of the NATO base in Keflavík these guys were closer to the outside world than the rest of us.
Í bláum skugga or In a Blue Shadow by Studmenn is one of their classic songs. The composer is Sigurdur Bjóla Gardarson, not one of the best known songwriters in Iceland.
Finally Blues in G by Magnús Eiríksson, a fun composition by one of the best songwriters in the 1980s.
This is what Icelanders listen to when they want to hear the very best Icelandic songs. We may sing, dance or cry, depending on the mood.
Listen to the songs and then you will understand Icelandic culture a bit better.
A petition urging the government to reconsider a proposed bill, in which the terms of the law requiring fishing companies to pay a tariff for their use of Iceland’s fishing resources are to be changed, has been signed by more than 11,000 people.
The 2013 June-July issue of Iceland Review is out. Themed ‘We Are Young’ the magazine celebrates the arrival of summer by interviewing young energetic Icelanders who excel in art, sports, business and politics—and Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the youngest PM in the republic’s history and the world’s youngest ruling state leader. Click here to take a look at a selection of the current issue and here to subscribe to the magazine.
amiina is a Reykjavík-based band and counts six people today - Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Hildur Ársælsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen and Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson (aka Kippi Kaninus).
The road to Höfn, a 1,690-person harbor town by the fjord Hornafjörður, is lined with reindeer. Whole herds of the wild horned animals rest peacefully on withered pastures, grace next to sheep and horses and bounce along the road. Soon, Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier and the region’s biggest attraction, comes into view. Looming over Höfn, its outlet glaciers flow down from the mountains on which the bright white icecap rests.
Sin Fang will celebrate the release of his third album with a release concert in Iðnó on June 12. Flowers was released in February by Morr Music and has been well received by music enthusiasts and critics alike. The concert will be supported by Vök, this year’s winners of the Icelandic Music Experiments.