Accolades Evenly Distributed at the Icelandic Music Awards

Icelandic Music Awards

The Icelandic Music Awards were held in Reykjavík yesterday. In what was an evening defined by a relatively even distribution of statues, singers Bríet and Anna Gréta Sigurðardóttir, the bands Mono Town and FLOTT, and rapper Birnir took home two awards last night.

Pianist Anna Guðný Guðmundsdóttir honoured

Yesterday, the annual Icelandic Music Awards were held at the Harpa Music and Conference Hall in downtown Reykjavík. The event was emceed by singer Valgerður Guðnadóttir and actor Guðmundur Felixson. The bands BSÍ and FLOTT performed on stage, and so did pianist Magnús Jóhann, rapper Birnir, and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Awards were presented by Minister of Culture and Business Affairs Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, with President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson giving away the statue for “brightest hope.” No one artist took home more than two awards: Birnir, FLOTT, Bríet, Mono Town, and Anna Gréta Sigurðardóttir took home a pair of statues each.

Pianist Anna Guðný Guðmundsdóttir received this year’s Honourary Award for her contribution to Icelandic music. “I’ve been surrounded by music since I remember, and that has been my fortune. I believe that whoever lives in music need never be lonely, out of work, or without friends,” Anna Guðný stated in her acceptance speech.

Full list of winners

2022 Icelandic Music Awards Winners
Pop, Rock, Rap, Hip Hop, and Electronic Music

POP – BEST ALBUM
Mobile Home – GusGus

ROCK – BEST ALBUM
Mono Town Time Vol. 1 – Mono Town

RAP & HIP HOP – BEST ALBUM
Bushido – Birnir

ELECTRONIC MUSIC – BEST ALBUM
radio vatican – sideproject

POP – BEST SONG
Mér er drull – FLOTT

ROCK – BEST SONG
Vesturbæjar Beach – BSÍ

RAP & HIP HOP – BEST SONG
Vogur – Birnir

ELECTRONIC MUSIC – BEST SONG
Halda áfram – russian.girls

BEST MUSICAL EVENT
Kveðja, Bríet (release concert at Harpa) – Bríet

BEST LYRICIST
Teitur Magnússon

BEST SONGWRITER
Mono Town

BEST SINGER
John Grant

BEST PERFORMER
Bríet

BRIGHTEST HOPE (emerging artist awarded in collaboration with Rás 2)
FLOTT

 

CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC

BEST ALBUM
Ethereality – Berglind María Tómasdóttir

BEST COMPOSITION
CATAMORPHOSIS – Anna Þorvaldsdóttir

BEST FESTIVAL
Björk Orkestral, Live from Reykjavík

BEST CONCERT
KOK Opera – Þórunn Gréta Sigurðardóttir

BEST SINGER
Herdís Anna Jónasdóttir

BEST SOLO PERFORMER
Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson

BEST GROUP PERFORMER
Mótettukórin (Choir)

EMERGING CLASSICAL ARTIST
Rannveig Marta Sarc

 

JAZZ AND BLUES

BEST ALBUM
Nightjar in the Northern Sky – Anna Gréta

BEST ORIGINAL COMPOSITION
Hlýnun – Tumi Árnason

BEST SONGWRITER
Anna Gréta

BEST SOLO PERFORMER
Magnús Trygvasen Eliassen

BEST GROUP PERFORMER
Sigmars Þór Matthíasson Band

BEST MUSICAL EVENT
Concert Series at Skuggabaldur

BRIGHTEST HOPE (emerging artist award)
Hróðmar Sigurðsson

OTHER MUSIC: OPEN CATEGORY, FOLK AND WORLD MUSIC, MUSIC FOR FILM AND THEATRE

BEST ALBUM – MUSIC FOR FILM AND THEATRE
Y: The Last Man – Herdís Stefánsdóttir

BEST ALBUM – FOLK AND WORLD MUSIC
Brek – Brek

BEST ALBUM – OPEN CATEGORY
Mother Melancholia – sóley

BEST SONG/COMPOSITION – OPEN CATEGORY
Vertu úlfur, title song – Emilíana Torrini, Markéta Irglová

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Ég er bara að ljúga er það ekki? –Annalísa Director: Annalísa Hermannsdóttir

BEST ALBUM ARTWORK
Án tillits – Magnús Jóhann & Skúli Sverrisson
Design: Halldór Eldjárn

BEST PRODUCTION
Ox – Gyða Valtýsdóttir.
Production: Gyða Valtýsdóttir and Úlfur Hansson

Verbúðin Wins Big at Göteborg Film Festival

Icelandic TV series Verbúðin (English title: Blackport) won the 2022 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize at the Göteborg Film Festival this week, RÚV reports. The award is given for “outstanding writing of a Nordic drama series” and is accompanied by a prize of NOK 200,000 [ISK 2.85 million; $22,824]. This year’s nominees included Countrymen (Norway; written by Izer Aliu, Anne Bjørnstad), Transport (Finland; written by Auli Mantila), The Shift (Denmark; written by Lone Scherfig), and Vi i villa (Sweden; written by Tove Eriksen Hillblom).

Set in the Westfjords in the 1980s, the story follows a married couple, Harpa and Grimur, as they build a small fishing empire along with their childhood friends. But with the introduction of a new quota system in the country, where the fishing grounds are privatised, the struggle for power results in a feud of jealousy, greed and betrayal.

Hailed as the buzziest TV series to come out of Iceland since Trapped, Verbúðin has indeed already garnered a great deal of international interest, despite the fact that it has not yet been widely broadcast for the international public. Vesturport produced the show for RÚV in Iceland and Arte France, and has production backing from the UK’s Turbine Studios, the Nordic 12 TV Alliance and the Nordisk Film & TV Fond. Prior to its success at Göteborg, it won the Series Mania Award at the Berlinale Co-Pro Series pitching event in 2018 and was also a hit at the Spanish Serielizados TV festival last fall.

Verbúðin has also been extremely popular with audiences at home—80% audience approval according to some figures. But the positive foreign reception of this particularly Icelandic story has been particularly surprising for the creators, says Mikael Torfason, who co-wrote the script with two members of the Vesturport theatre and film company who also star in the series: Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir (The Vallhalla Murders, Trapped), Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Trapped, The Witcher), and Gísli Örn Garðarsson (Ragnarok, Prisoners). “This is maybe not something you’d expect. The most popular material has usually been crime dramas.”

 

 

Alma Nominated for Nordic Council Film Prize

Icelandic film Alma, written and directed by Kristín Jóhannesdóttir, is Iceland’s nominee for the 2021 Nordic Council Film Prize. The award is accompanied by a prize of DKK 300,000 [ISK 5.9 million; $47,471] to be split equally among the screenwriter, director, and producer, and is given annually to a film from one of the five Nordic nations. The winner will be announced in an awards ceremony in Copenhagen on November 2.

Per the Icelandic Film Centre, Alma is “the story of a young woman who is serving time in a psych ward for murdering her boyfriend, a crime she can’t remember. But when she discovers [he] is still alive, she decides to escape and kill him after all.”

Rather than repeating typical tropes, however, the Icelandic selection committee noted that Alma allows its protagonist space for growth and healing. As they wrote in their nomination, “What starts out as a noirish revenge fable becomes a beautiful love story that centers around the process through which a victim of abuse finds her way through trauma and grief to finally rediscover her roots and her distinctive voice.”

“Employing biting humor as well as striking visual imagery, Alma deftly combines an intense poetic vision and a socially critical feminist angle.”

Alma is Kristín Jóhannesdóttir’s third feature (Rainbow’s End and As in Heaven) and was produced by Gudrún Edda Thórhannesdóttir, Fridrik Thór Fridriksson, and Egil Ødegård. It stars Snæfrídur Ingvarsdóttir, Kristbjörg Kjeld, Emmanuelle Riva, and Hilmir Snær Gudnason.

Iceland has won the Nordic Council Film Prize three times since it started being awarded in 2002. Director Benedikt Erlingsson has won twice, for Of Horses and Men in 2014 and Woman at War in 2018, and Dagur Kári won for Virgin Mountain in 2015.

Bíó Paradís will be showing all of this year’s nominated films during its Nordic Film Festival, which will run from September 23 – 26. All of the films will be shown with English subtitles.

Three Wins for Pop Star Bríet at Icelandic Music Awards

Bríet - Icelandic pop singer wins the Icelandic Music Awards in 2021

The annual Icelandic Music Awards were held in Reykjavík last Saturday. Pop musician Bríet, who received seven nominations, took home three awards in the categories Pop Album of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, and Female Singer of the Year. Female artists won in six out of the nine Best Album genre categories.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nominees were invited to attend the presentation of the awards in small groups. The presentations were pre-recorded shortly before the ceremony was broadcast on Saturday evening. The broadcast did feature five live performances by nominees, however, including Best Jazz Album winner Ingibjörg Turchi and crowd favourite GusGus.

Read More: Bríet at the 2018 Iceland Airwaves Festival

Sigur Rós received this year’s Honourary Award for their contribution to Icelandic music over the past 17 years (the band was established in 1994). Unsurprisingly, Iceland’s Eurovision representative Daði Freyr won Best Pop Song for last year’s viral hit Think About Things.

A playlist featuring all of this year’s nominees is available on Spotify. The full list of winners is below.

2021 Icelandic Music Awards Winners

Pop, Rock, Rap, Hip Hop, and Electronic Music 

POP – BEST ALBUM
Kveðja, Bríet  – BRÍET

ROCK – BEST ALBUM
Endless Twilight of Codependent Love  – Sólstafir

RAP & HIP HOP – BEST ALBUM
VACATION  – CYBER

ELECTRONIC MUSIC – BEST ALBUM
Visions of Ultraflex  – Ultraflex

POP – BEST SONG
Think About Things – Daði Freyr

ROCK – BEST SONG
Haf trú – HAM

RAP & HIP HOP – BEST SONG
Geimvera  – JóiPé x Króli

ELECTRONIC MUSIC – BEST SONG
Think Too Fast  – JFDR

BEST MUSICAL EVENT
Heima með Helga

BEST LYRICIST
Bríet Ísis Elfar

BEST SONGWRITER
Hjaltalín

BEST MALE SINGER
Högni Egilsson

BEST FEMALE SINGER
Bríet Ísis Elfar

BEST PERFORMER
Bubbi Morthens

BEST MUSIC VIDEO (awarded in collaboration with albumm.is)
Sumarið sem aldrei kom – Jónsi. Leikstjórn: Frosti Jón Runólfsson

BRIGHTEST HOPE (emerging artist awarded in collaboration with Rás 2)
Gugusar

 

CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC 

BEST ALBUM
John Speight, Solo Piano Works  – Peter Máté

BEST COMPOSITION
Accordion Concerto – Finnur Karlsson

BEST FESTIVAL
Sönghátíð í Hafnarborg

BEST CONCERT
Brák og Bach

BEST FEMALE SINGER
Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir

BEST MALE SINGER
Stuart Skelton

BEST SOLO PERFORMER
Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson

BEST GROUP PERFORMER
Icelandic Symphony Orchestra

EMERGING CLASSICAL ARTIST
Steiney Sigurðardóttir (cellist)

 

JAZZ AND BLUES

BEST ALBUM
Meliae – Ingibjörg Turchi

BEST ORIGINAL COMPOSITION
Four Elements – Haukur Gröndal

BEST SONGWRITER
Sigurður Flosason

BEST SOLO PERFORMER
Haukur Gröndal

BEST GROUP PERFORMER
Frelsissveit Íslands

BEST MUSICAL EVENT
Reykjavík Jazz Festival

BRIGHTEST HOPE (emerging artist award)
Laufey Lín Jónsdóttir


OTHER MUSIC: OPEN CATEGORY, FOLK AND WORLD MUSIC, MUSIC FOR FILM AND THEATRE

BEST ALBUM – MUSIC FOR FILM AND THEATRE
Defending Jacob – Atli Örvarsson & Ólafur Arnalds

BEST ALBUM – FOLK AND WORLD MUSIC
Shelters one  – Jelena Ciric

BEST ALBUM – OPEN CATEGORY
EPICYCLE II – Gyða Valtýsdóttir

BEST SONG/COMPOSITION – OPEN CATEGORY
Astronaut  – Red Barnett

BEST ALBUM ARTWORK
PLASTPRINSESSAN  – K.óla:
Kata Jóhanness, Katrín Helga Ólafsdóttir, Ása Bríet Brattaberg, Arína Vala Þórðardóttir, Ída Arínudóttir, Elvar S. Júlíusson

BEST PRODUCTION
Meliae – Ingibjörg Turchi:
Sound engineer: Birgir Jón Birgisson, mixing and mastering: Ívar Ragnarsson

Hildur Guðnadóttir and Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson Honored at Opus Klassik

Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and pianist Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson are both winners of the Opus Klassik, a new German prize for classical music, RÚV reports. Hildur won the Most Innovative Concert of the Year for her live performance of music composed for the TV show Chernobyl, and Víkingur won Best Solo Pianist for his album interpreting works by French composers Debussy and Rameau.

Over the last year, Hildur has received a stunning number of awards and commendations for her compositions for both Chernobyl and the film Joker, including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Score (Joker), a Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (Chernobyl), and a World Soundtrack Award for Television Composer of the Year (Chernobyl).

Víkingur has had a similarly lauded rise to prominance in recent years, having been dubbed ‘Iceland’s Glenn Gould’ by The New York Times, named Gramophone magazine’s artist of the year in 2019, and won BBC Music Magazine’s Recording of the Year award in 2019 for his album Johann Sebastian Bach. He also won an Opus Klassik award for Best Piano Album of the Year last year.

Formerly the Echo Awards, the Opus Klassik has been awarded for two years and is meant to raise the profile of classical music composition and performance. The award is given in 25 categories.

Ingvar E. Sigurðsson Wins Second Performance Award in Two Weeks

Actor Ingvar E. Sigurðsson won an award for Best Performance in the film A White, White Day at the Transilvania Film Festival (TIFF) this weekend. RÚV reports that this is the second award that Ingvar has won for the role in as many weeks; he was awarded the Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award during the Cannes International Critics Week at the end of May.

Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur follows an off-duty police chief (Ingvar) who begins to suspect a local man of having had an affair with his late wife. It will premiere in Iceland on September 6.

The film is written and directed by Hlynur Pálmason, who won Best Director at TIFF last year for his first feature, Vinterbrødre (Winter Brothers). Vinterbrødre also won Best Film at Denmark’s 2017 Bodil Awards.

Ian McEwan Receives First-Ever Halldór Laxness International Literary Prize

British novelist Ian McEwan is the first-ever recipient of the Halldór Laxness International Literary Prize. The award was announced by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir at an international symposium on Halldór Laxness, which was held today.

The award, which is accompanied by a monetary prize of €15,000 [ISK 2,039,850; $16,704], is given to an international author whose work is renewing the art of storytelling. This motivation echoes the statement made by the Nobel Prize for Literature committee in 1955, the year that Halldór won the prize and thus became Iceland’s first—and still only—Nobel Prize winner. As the committee explained at the time, Halldór received the Nobel “for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland.”

Ian McEwan was not able to attend the presentation ceremony in person but will be making a visit to Iceland in September to receive it. A video message from the author was shown during the announcement ceremony in which he said that the award meant a great deal to him and that he was looking forward to “the city where the great Laxness was born and wrote.”

Ian was named recipient of the inaugural award by a committee including First Lady Eliza Reid, Icelandic author Einar Már Guðmundsson, and Stella Soffía Jóhannesdóttir, the director of the Reykjavík International Literature Festival, which is currently underway. In its justification for the award, the committee wrote that “It was not least the provocative subject matter [of his work], the seldom-discussed and sensitive themes, which made the author stand out. It has been said of Ian McEwan that he deals not merely with the headlines of the mind, but in equal measure the small print of the soul.”

“Ian McEwan’s work has met with consistent success,” continued the statement, “but he has also remained controversial, which should be regarded as a sign of enduring vitality. With this award, we acknowledge a spectacular career and an author with a pressing message.”

The award is presented in a collaboration among the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Education, Promote Iceland, Gljúfrasteinn (the Halldór Laxness museum), Forlagið Publishing, and the Reykjavík International Literary Festival. Going forward, the award will always be presented during this festival, which takes place every two years.

Read the committee’s full statement on Ian McEwan’s work here.

GDRN Sweeps Up at Icelandic Music Awards

GDRN Icelandic Music Awards

The 2018 Icelandic Music Awards were held last night in Harpa’s Silfurberg hall. Pop artist GDRN (Guðrún Ýr Eyfjörð Jóhannesdóttir) swept up at the ceremony, taking home four awards. Rapper Auður, who received eight nominations, took home two awards for songwriting and best electronic album, while controversial band Hatari left attendees with a political message.

GDRN took home the awards for best pop album, pop song, and music video of the year, and was awarded best female singer. “When I started making music in 2017 society was changing a lot, the MeToo movement was beginning,” the artist said when accepting the award for best pop album. “I have seen incredible growth among young women today and I wanted to encourage all young women who are watching this now: Let yourselves dream, let yourselves dream really big. It’s possible.”

Rapper Auður won best songwriter and best electronic album for his release Afsakanir (Excuses). Valdimar was chosen as best male singer, also winning for best rock album alongside his band. In classical categories, Víkingur Heiðar won performer of the year and album of the year for Johann Sebastian Bach. Jói Pé and Króli were awarded for best rap album and best rap song.

Hatari, who are representing Iceland at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, accepted the performer of the year award with a political message. Band member Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson stated that although the group were fans of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, it was time to “clear up for the nation whether Iceland belonged to the countries that ascribe to universal human rights, democracy, and rule of law. We’re a little confused.”

A full list of nominations and winners can be found on RÚV’s website.

Reykjavík to Host European Film Awards

Harpa Concert Hall Reykjavík

The 2020 European Film Awards will be held in Reykjavík. The Ministry of Culture announced the decision today in a press release on their website. Reykjavík was selected from among three cities which applied to host the 2020 awards.

The award ceremony will take place in Reykjavík’s Harpa Concert Hall, which will host some 1,400 guests for the event. The ceremony is to be streamed live both in Iceland and abroad. Four Icelanders have been awarded at the ceremony in past years, including Björk, who received the Best Actress Award in 2000 for her role in Dancer in the Dark.

The European Film Awards were established in 1988 to promote European filmmaking. The awards are held in Berlin every other year, while other European cities get a chance to host on alternate years. Seville hosted the awards in 2018, and in previous years they have taken place in London, Paris, Rome, and Copenhagen, among others.

Woman At War Wins Ten Eddas

Director Benedikt Erlingsson’s Woman At War (Kona fer í strið) won in all ten of the categories that it was nominated for at the Eddas, Iceland’s most prestigious Film and Television award, on Friday night RÚV reports.

The film, which was also chosen as Iceland’s submission for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, stars Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir and tells the story of an eco-activist whose efforts to disrupt large-scale industry in Iceland are complicated when she learns that her long-awaited adoption is about to become a reality. It is set to be adapted in the US by Jodie Foster.

Woman At War won in the categories of Film of the Year, Script, Sound, Editing, Cinematography, Actress in a Starring Role, Set Design, Score, Special Effects, and Best Director.

Director Baldvin Z’s Let Me Fall (Lof mér að falla) was actually nominated for more Eddas—12 in total—but only won in four categories: Costume Design, Makeup, Actress in a Supporting Role, and Actor in a Supporting Role.

See a trailer of Woman at War herewith English subtitles and Let Me Fall here.