This year a lot of Icelandic artists performed in Belgium. The Netherlands have a longer tradition in bringing Icelanders on stage. As in the past, 4 Icelandic musicians will be on stage @ EuroSonic / Noorderslag Groningen in January 2009.
Iceland may be bankrupt, but that doesn't take away the fact that this little island in the periphery of Europe is an unprecedented source of talent.
Thursday 15. January @ Stadsschouwburg @ 22:50 - 23:35
Hjaltalín is a nine piece rock band that perform their music with a wide selection of instruments, from bassoon to a regular bass. Hjaltalín are still promoting their wonderful 2007 debut album, “Sleepdrunk Seasons", which has been getting rave reviews. The band were recently asked to support US starlets Cold War Kids on their European Tour.
A little odd, but so tasty. That's the image of Icelandic music we can keep alive if it's up to Hjaltalin. That modest orchestra band sounds like an epic party on an empty pasture, with a small group of partying boys and girls. The dreamy nurture of a Sigur Rós, with the playful, but really alluring folk from a Patrick Watson. In English, but like any good Icelandic also in their own romantic language. A beautifully reassuring everything-will-be-okay-feel; maybe that's why the band is doing really good in their financially worried country. Hjaltalin brings everything in (or out) of perspective.
Friday 16. January @ Grand Theatre @ 01:15 - 02:00
Dísa is a 21 year old singer and songwriter from Reykjavik, whose eponymous debut album was developed over two years with a number of different collaborators such as Cameron McVie, Mark Ronson and Shelly Poole. Dísa has been touring Iceland this summer, appearing with such diverse range of artists as Damien Rice & Eyvör as well as headlining her own shows.
Dísa too is capable to catch the ethereal of this volcano island and turn it into miniatures of songs. Airy, intimate but above all thawing. A if the music is recorded at her attic. While outside there is nothing else to see but rocks, ice and a lost geyser. You can compare her to múm or Emiliana Torrini, it's the same. With ladies like Dísa Iceland should not worry. Her easing tones give comfort to the greatest crises.
Friday 16. January @ Huis 'De Beurs' @ 22:15 - 23:00
Not to be confused with the Icelandic botanist and algologist of the same name, Helgi Jónsson is a lean, mean contemporary songwriting machine. A highly trained trombone-player, he has toured and recorded all over Europe and the U.S. with a vast array of bands and artists from Voices of Europe to Sigur Rós, but mostly with his own group Beefólk, signed to Wolfgang Muthspiel’s material-records label. He recently completed a UK tour with Tina Dico and released his second album, “For The Rest Of My Childhood”, which was mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson.
The singer-songwriter plays trombone and as well as guitar and knows how to create the same atmosphere as his fellow countrymen in Sigur Rós but all by himself. When he's touring with his friends of Teitur, he also provides the backing vocals. Typical of his solo work is the variety in the way Jonsson uses his voice: from tenuous screams to dreamy musings. This is music that requires all your attention. It will make you dream.
For a Minor Reflection
Friday 16. January @ Magic Mirror @ 00:15 - 01:00
For a Minor Reflection started life as a hard rock duo in a small garage in Vesturbærinn, Reykjavík. They morphed into an indie rock trio (which lasted just a week or so) and a blues quartet (which lasted a little longer), before finally arriving at their current incarnation: instrumental post-rockers du jour. FAMR’s music is best described as energetic, melodious post-rock. In 2007 the foursome released their self-produced debut album "Reistu þig við, sólin er komin á loft..."(Rise and shine, the sun’s up...), a mesmerizing, hour-long tapestry, and in 2008 they supported Sigur Rós for 14 dates in Europe.
It no surprise that they are compared to Sigur Rós quite often. For A Minor Reflection also makes long songs full of soundscapes and Icelandic titles we don't understand. Until now there is no room for vocals in the post rock of this foursome. Their debut album consists of six tracks only, but it's still over one hour in lengths. No easy music, but very beautiful.
All about EuroSonic / Noorderslag festival @ www.noorderslag.nl
Source: IMX & Website of Festival