Songwriting seminar in the middle of nowhere Skip to content

Songwriting seminar in the middle of nowhere

At restaurant Fossatún (pictured) in Borgarfjördur foreign and Icelandic artists performed songs written during a five-day collaborative songwriting workshop held at Hótel Glymur in Hvalfjördur, west Iceland, Thursday evening.

IR’s Zoë Robert and Eygló S. Arnarsdóttir attended the evening, which was the culmination of a seminar – the first of its kind to be held in the country – aimed to foster better ties between Icelandic and foreign musicians.

The initiative was organized by Icefusion Ltd founder Ginny Graham and UK artist Chesney Hawkes.

Hawkes, who was made famous by his 1991 British chart-topping single “The One and Only” described the workshop, or “retreat,” as a great success. “I’m very proud – the songs are great,” he said.

Fifteen artists, including ten foreign artists attended the event. Foreign artists included Nik Kershaw, Teitur from the Faroe Islands and Young UK Indie artist Claire Toomey. The Icelandic contribution included up-and-coming singer Bryndís Jakobsdóttir and guitarist Gummi Jóns.

View of river Grímsá by the restaurant Fossatún in Borgarfjördur.

Kershaw, best known for his 1984 UK hit single “Wouldn’t it be good,” said, “I’ve done workshops before, but nowhere like this.” He was quick to comment on the remoteness of the workshop location. “There’s nothing else to do! We’ve tried to immerse ourselves into everything. We’ve all turned off our phones,” he said.

“It’s been a great learning experience for everyone – no matter how long we’ve been doing this,” Kershaw added.

Workshop participants, all carefully chosen, established artists or songwriters, were assigned to writing groups, which were alternated twice daily. Artists were given access to instruments, an engineer and a recording studio. The collaboration resulted in over 35 songs being recorded.

“It was a fantastic experience, energetic experience. We wrote two songs a day, it was wonderfully hectic,” said Teitur (pictured).

“I’m up in the clouds on a natural high. No kidding,” Jakobsdóttir (pictured) agreed.

According to Graham, the idea for starting her company Icefusion, which ran the songwriting workshop, was inspired by her will to share her passion for Iceland with others.

Icefusion is holding a holistic workshop around the solstice in June and a second songwriting seminar next fall.

At the end of May you can read a full-length feature about Songfusion on

Photos by Zoë Robert.

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