mánudagur, apríl 28, 2008

Benni Hemm Hemm "Beygja & Beygja" @ Lydverket

BHH Live @ Lydverket @ Norway
"Beygja & Beygja"

Happy Birthday 12 Tónar!

Seminal Icelandic record-shop-cum-label 12 Tónar is celebrating 10 years in the business! Founded in 1998 in Reykjavík, 12 Tónar has been well received by music lovers from the offset, when it quickly became a meeting point for musicians like Björk, Sigur Rós, múm, as well as core classical composers and performers.
The shop is known as a friendly place where you can sit down, listen to a wide selection of music on two floors, enjoy free espresso or tea, read magazines and relax. Fridays often feature live music. In 2006 12 Tónar was awarded the prestigious title Shop of the Year by the City of Reykjavik, and today the label also acts as a distributor of Icelandic music and an importer and distributor for many foreign labels.
Since 2003 the label has released over 50 albums from a variety of musical genres and artists, and their releases are now distributed in Europe through Cargo Records, Germany.

XXX Rottweiler Hundar "Reykjavik Belfast"

XXX Rottweiler Hundar
"Reykjavik Belfast"
A Video about the police violence against protesting truck drivers in Iceland.

Song of the 58. Week "Audience Part 2" by Ourlives

"Audience Part 2" of Ourlives is the 58. Song of the Week.

föstudagur, apríl 25, 2008

Hraun "Clementine" Live @ Icelandic TV & @ Rehearsal


Drinking Song "So let us drink" @ their rehearsal space 29. March 2008

More Lava (Hraun) @ www.myspace.com/hraunhraun

Sigur Rós @ Abbey Road Studio 1

Sigur Rós are currently in Abbey Road’s studio one recording a track with a boys choir and 67-piece orchestra. In an interview in today’s Morgunblaðið newspaper, Orri revealed that the album’s sound is considerably different than on their previous albums, and that the lyrics on this album will be “more understandable to the public than on previous albums”. The album is nearly completed and is expected to be released this summer.
Sigur Rós @ www.sigur-ros.co.uk

Rökkurró "Ferðalangurinn" Live @ Kastljós

Rökkurró @ Kastljós (Spotlight) TV Program

Rökkurró @ www.myspace.com/rokkuro

Benny Crespo's Gang Live @ Gaukurinn & @ Rehearsal

Benny Crespo's Gang
"Next Weekend" @ Gaukurinn

"Conditional love" @ their rehearsal space

miðvikudagur, apríl 23, 2008

Jonee Jonee Live @ Icelandic TV

Jonee Jonee, a punkrock band from Garðabær, also featured in the documentary "Rokk í Reykjavík" and one of the favourite Icelandic bands of Einar Örn Benediktsson.

R.I.P. Smekkleysa Shop @ Laugavegur

Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) Record Shop @ the shopping street Laugavegur is closing in the near future.
Útsala, Útsala, Útsala, Útsala! They're selling out.
Yet another record shop will be gone. I still remember the days @ Japis, Músik og Myndir ... I'm getting old.
But the online shops are taking over @

þriðjudagur, apríl 22, 2008

"Hlemmur" - The Trailer

A Documentary about the famous Bus Terminal "Hlemmur" downtown Reykjavik.
Soundtrack was made by Sigur Rós.

The Sugarcubes "Birthday", "Deus" & "Mama" Live in the USA (1988)

The Sugarcubes back in 1988. First tour in the USA. Interviews with mainly Björk & Einar Örn.
You've seen the coolest band in the world!

"Planet" in Icelandic & Live in Iceland (1989)

The Sugarcubes
"Planet" Video

"Planet" Live @ Reykjavik anno 1989

Kommúnista-Partý - Styrktartónleikar Hellvar & Vicky Pollard @ Paddy's Irish Pub, Reykjanesbær (Keflavík) 23. April 2008

From Keflavík to Bejing/Shanghai with Love
Before they depart to China on the 28. April to play @Midi Festival in Peking, Hellvar & Vicky Pollard are performing @ Paddy's.
Support Act is the local rockband Klaus.
Doors open @ 22:00.
Start @ 23:00.
Price: 500 IKR
Hellvar www.myspace.com/hellvarmusic
Vicky Pollard www.myspace.com/vickypollardmusic

sunnudagur, apríl 20, 2008

The History of Tappi Tíkarrass

Tappi Tíkarrass was a famous Icelandic punk/pop band which added elements of funk, disco and jazz to their music, marking a difference from other traditional bands at that time. The band is also considered the first serious music project of now renowned singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir.
In 1979 Björk was singing in a band called Exodus with guitarists Ásgeir Sæmundsson and Þorvaldur Bjarni Þorvaldsson, bassist Skúli Sverrisson, and drummer Oddur F. Sigurbjarnason. In 1980 she left the band with Oddur and joined bassist Jakob Smári Magnússon and guitarist Eyjólfur Jóhannsson to form a band called Jam-80 because they were meant to play for just one gig, although they continued playing for a while.They performed a mixture of pop and punk music and never released any official record, but recorded a cassette demo during a gig at Hólabrekkuskóli which contained the following tracks: two songs by Janis Ian: “Run too Fast, Fly too High” and “The Other Side of the Sun”; two songs by Deep Purple: “Highball Shooter” and “Demon’s Eyes”; other tracks were “13-16” by Utangarðsmenn, “Boureé” by Jethro Tull, “Funky Town”, and two instrumental songs (untitled).This band came to an end when decided to create a punk band with more serious music. That is how Tappi Tíkarrass came into being by September 1981 with vocalist Eyþór Arnalds, who was replaced a few months later by Björk and a year later, Oddur was replaced in drums by Guðmundur Þór Gunnarsson.
The name Tappi Tíkarrass, which in Icelandic means “Cork the Bitch’s Arse” was given after Jakob’s father claimed that the band’s music “fitted like a cork in a bitch’s arse”. Tappi Tíkarrass combined elements of punk and pop music to create an exotic post punk with references to Siouxsie & the Banshees and the first stage of The Cure.
They started to record in August 1982 and released an EP titled Bítið Fast í Vítið which went out through label Spor. This 12” vinyl was formed of 5 tracks performed by Björk, who replaced the original vocals by Eyþór. The only song in English was “London”.T hey followed up in 1983 with the release of their first album titled Miranda, which was released by Gramm. This record consisted of 13 tracks and even though Tappi Tíkarrass was the less experimenting project of singer Björk, this album outstands with songs like “Kríó” which feature pop melodies, and “Tjet”, a song that renders a mellow start and ends with disco references.
Tappi Tíkarrass appeared on Rokk í Reykjavík, a TV documentary directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. Tappi Tíkarrass was one of the 19 bands featured in the film and collaborated with two songs: “Hrollur” and “Dúkkulísur”, both of them sung by Björk and Eyþór with Oddur replacing Guðmundur in drums.

In 1983 they appeared on Nýtt Líf, a comedy directed by Þráinn Bertelsson. The film was shot in the Westman Islands and Tappi Tíkarrass played on stage two songs “Sperglar” and “Kukl” (better known as “Seiður”), under the supervision of Megas.
Despite the raise on the interest on this band as Björk developed into an international music artist, the discography of Tappi Tíkarrass has never been reissued and all the original releases are widely unavailable.The band has appeared only in two Icelandic compilations, Satt 3 which was released in 1984 and featured two live B-sides: “Sperglar” and “Seiður”. Finally, by 1998 record label Spor released Nælur, another compilation which contained the songs “Iltí Ební” and “London”, both of them taken from Bítið Fast í Vítið.
By July 1983 the band split up when Björk joined Purrkur Pillnikk’s singer Einar Örn Benediktsson, Þeyr’s guitarist Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson and drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson, with Medúsa’s keyboardist Einar Arnaldur Melax, and finally Birgir Mogensen bassist from Spilafífl. Together they formed a goth-oriented and more experimental band called KUKL.
Jakob Magnússon and Guðmundur joined Bubbi Morthens to play in Das Kapital until 1985, then Jakob followed up with Bubbi & MX-21, and worked as a session player for several artists. In 2003 he released his first solo album, Bassajól. After playing in Das Kapital, Guðmundur withdrew from the music scene.After leaving the band, Eyþór Arnalds studied cello and continued with the band Todmobile and later joined singer Móa Julíusdóttir to form a band called Bong which achieved relative success in Iceland and England. He has released a few solo albums and then collaborated with Móa’s debut album Universal in 1998 and has worked in the Icelandic music industry as sound engineer. More recently, he got involved in politics running for mayor in the town of Árborg. Eyjólfur Jóhannsson continued playing with bands like , The Wunderfoolzs, and in 2002 joined S.S.Sól. Oddur joined a heavy metal band called Foringjarnir, and he became an electrician. More recently he followed up with another band called Santiago releasing an album in 2002.
The last performance of Tappi Tíkarrass took place in 1987 when the band reunited to play at a night club called Safari.

Blindfold Live @ London Videos

Blindfold @ Nambucca, London (26. November 2007)
"I see you through me"

"Hungry heart"


Björk Unofficial Japanese Video "I see who you are"

"I see who you are" Short movie/Video

Proghma C "Army of me" Cover

Cover by Proghma C of Björk's "Army of me"

Hooker Swing's "Let it R.I.P." Live @ Gaukurinn

Hooker Swing
"Let it R.I.P." @ Gaukurinn. Now R.I.P. Gaukurinn. Viva Tunglid!

"Jesus is a good name to moan" New Video of Mugison

Mugison's brand new Video for the song
"Jesus is a good name to moan" of his Album "Mugiboogie"
Made by
Janus Bragi Jakobsson Director, editing, concept
Tinna Ottesen Production Design, concept
Martin Munch Photography
Ezra G. Bobbie Petran Editing
Sylvester Holm Sound on set
Kjetil Mørk Sound consultant
Daði Jónsson Everything on set



Quarashi "Baseline" Full Video

Some time ago, I brought you some Quarashi Videos. Now there is the full version of their in the navy "Baseline" Video.

Interview with Einar Örn Benediktsson in Zone 02 Magazine

Interview by Matthias Stockmans with Einar Örn Benediktsson, the host of the Edgy Evening of Bad Taste @ Bozar 30. April 2008
Kom allemaal naar IJsland
(Come to Iceland everybody)
Here's an English summary I made:
The ex-punker is back with Ghostigital, a mix of noise, rap and electronica.

Ghostigital @ NASA @ Iceland Airwaves 2007
What can we expect of the Edgy Evening of Bad Taste?
An evening with a focus on music: electronic music with guitars, but also rock music and noise, and even poetry and DJ sets.
Who's coming with you?
I've invited all my friends.
All the different art forms seem to go hand in hand in Iceland?
Within The Sugarcubes, we discussed a lot. Not about music, but about the books we were reading or the movies we saw. Often it ended in a bad repetition of the band (laugh). I've never been afraid of an experiment. I know I'll never have a top 10 hit, or a commercial success. I can not loose, only win by doing a lot of different things.
Why are the Icelanders so creative?
We MUST be creative. We're only with a few Icelanders, everybody seems to know everything about the other one. If you want to distinct yourself, you've got to find new influences.

Ghostigital & Finnbogi Pétursson "Radium" @ Sirkus (January 2008)

Don't you think Iceland has reached its peak in creativity and international recognition?
Totally not. We only can become better, because more foreigners are emigrating to Iceland. So there's a future for all Belgians who want to come to live in Iceland.
A lot of Icelanders go abroad to escape from the island?
Absolute. After a while you've seen it all in Iceland and you need to meet other people. I've studied media in London in the late 70s, where I got in contact with the anarchopunk scene.
Are politics and art related for you?
Politics and art are the same. It's all a question of respect for the individual, otherwise you're doing it wrong. I want to let people think about some issues. Like: what is good or bad taste? Who determines what is good or bad taste?
The Edgy Evening is 8 hours of entertainment. There is a chance that you like 5 minutes of the total program, but those 5 minutes can change your life or give you inspiration. That's enough.
Source: Zone 02 (Nr 185 - 9-22 April 2008)
More Einar Örn @ www.myspace.com/einarorn
More Ghostigital @ http://ghostigital.com/
More Bad Taste @ www.smekkleysa.net and http://badtaste4ever.wordpress.com/
More about Edgy Evening @ Bozar @ www.bozar.be
Synopsis, slideshows and video made by Wim Van Hooste.

Ghostigital @ Idno @ Iceland Airwaves 2006

4 Björk Sundays @ Rás 2 (Icelandic Radio)

Four Icelandic Radio Shows about Björk on Rás 2
20. April
1. Chapter: Björk & Bands: Childhood Album, Tappi Tíkarrass, Kukl & Sykurmolarnir (The Sugarcubes)
27. April
2. Chapter: Sykurmolarnir & Solo

4. May
3. Chapter: Björk around the world/worldwide
11. May
4. Chapter

Rás 2 @ www.ruv.is/ras2
All about Björk @ www.bjork.com

Aldrei fór ég suður Festival Streaming

Heiða Eiríksdóttir on Aldrei Stage
Aldrei fór for ég suður
Festival Streaming of
Friday Program @
Saturday Program @
Streaming Program is 10 hours, 18 minutes & 18 seconds (before sunrise)

fimmtudagur, apríl 17, 2008

Einar Örn Benediktsson on Belgian Radio 1 about the Edgy Evening of Bad Taste @ Bozar 30. April 2008

EÖB about the Edgy Evening of Bad Taste @ Bozar/Paleis voor de Schone Kunsten, Brussels (Iceland on the Edge Festival) or
Belgian Iceland Airwaves Part 3 on the Belgian Radio 1 "Exit Alternative" (1 hour show)

Einar Örn Interview @ 12 / @ 16 / @ 21 minutes
Music of the radio program: Ghostigital, Trabant, Steintryggur, Kimono, Steindór Andersen, ...
More Einar Örn @ www.myspace.com/einarorn
Ghostigital @ http://ghostigital.com
More Bad Taste @ www.smekkleysa.net
More about the Edgy Evening @ http://badtaste4ever.wordpress.com/
Photograph of EÖB @ Sirkus (January 2008) by Wim Van Hooste

Steintryggur Live @ Icelandic TV

Steintryggur performed the song "Melur" of their brand new Album "Trappa" @ the Icelandic TV.

Order Trappa @ www.smekkleysa.net/album/516
Listen Trappa @ www.siberia.is/steintryggur/trappa/player.html
MySpace Steintryggur @ www.myspace.com/steintryggur

sunnudagur, apríl 13, 2008

Long Interview with Riceboy Sleeps @ SiouxWire

Interview with Alex & Jónsi of Riceboy Sleeps @ http://siouxwire-annex.blogspot.com/2008/04/interview-riceboy-sleeps.html
10. April 2008 the Exhibition @ London opened.
More @ www.riceboysleeps.com

Björk "Unison" Alternative Video


Rás 2 & Monitor Rokkar Hringinn - Part 2

More Videos of Sign, Benny Crespo's Gang & Dr. Spock On Tour Rokkar Hringinn around the island:
@ Höfn í Hornafirði

@ Eskifjörður

@ Akureyri

Ólafur Arnalds "Marching bands of Manhattan" Iceland versus Belgium

Ólafur Arnalds & his String Quartet covering Death Cab For Cutie's
"Marching Bands of Manhattan"
@ Home (Iceland) (March 2008)

@ Asse (venue 't Smiske)(Belgium)(December 2007)

Ólafur (Óli) is back in Belgium @ Cactus (Brugge) 25. May 2008:

"Gong" Video

"Gong" Sigur Rós

"Girls night out" Video by Alda (Björk Ólafsdóttir)

90s Icelandic Pop Music by Alda, full name Alda Björk Olafsdottir, a sort of Sylvia Night avant la lettre or the Icelander with the crazy hair who isn't Björk.
Her 2 Previous Singles were "Let your body move" with Urban K Loud (1994) & first Solo Single "Real good time" (1998). Her album on Wildstar Records was called "Out of Alda" (1998).
Now is working in a catering company @ London.
"Girls night out" (1998) is not a cover of the American Taylor Dane's song with the same title. This Video reminds me of the Spice Girls Movie. So if Nylon are not the Icelandic Spice Girls, Alda defenitely was the Icelandic Spice Girl.

laugardagur, apríl 12, 2008

Bad Taste 4 ever @ MySpace & @ Bozar Brussels 30. April 2008

Hosted by Einar Örn BenediktssonWe are are heading out to Belgium for a Massive one day festival @ Bozar Art Centre. Make sure that you can be there on the 30th of April.
The art scene in Iceland is notorious for a diversity and eclecticism that has led many to think that all Icelanders are mad. Judge for yourself at the EDGY EVENING of BAD TASTE where musicians, poets and artists from every nook and cranny of Iceland will be at their most kooky and uncanny. Collaborations of unexpected proportions will ensue followed by a DJ-set until dawn or until everyone is dead, whichever comes first. Icelandic artists strongly dislike being pigeonholed, so here is a cursory glance at what each one of them does
And the artists performing:
Ásdís Sif
DJ Magic
Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl
Finnbogi Pétursson
Helmus und Dalli
Hrafnkell Sigurðsson
Ingibjörg Magnadóttir
Lay Low
Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir
Ragnar Kjartansson
riceboy sleeps
Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason

More information also @ www.badtaste4ever.wordpress.com
& of course Bad Taste aka Smekkleysa @ www.smekkleysa.net

Benni Hemm Hemm "Whaling in the North Atlantic" & "Gordon Lightfoot"

Benedikt H. Hermannsson & Róbert Sturla Reynisson of the band Benni Hemm Hemm (BHH) performed "Whaling in the North Atlantic" and "Gordon Lightfoot". Video was shot by Stuart Rogers in an art studio adjoining Benni's rehearsal space in 105 Reykjavik. Sound editing by Ben Allen.
"Whaling in the North Atlantic"

"Gordon Lightfoot"


Bloodgroup, Sometime & Yunioshi @ Organ 12. April

Bloodgroup, Sometime, Yunioshi @ Organ 12. April
3 Bands on stage:

Opening of the "The New Moon" 11. April: Tunglið @ Tryggvagötu 22

Tunglið open (again) but @ different place
New venue Tunglið (The Moon) opened last night @ Tryggvagötu 22 (which was the spot of the famous venue Gaukur á Stöng aka Gaukurinn).
On stage were Jack Schidt (Margeir), Sean Danke (Grétar G), Ghozt (Kiddi Flex) together with Mikko from Berlin.


fimmtudagur, apríl 10, 2008

Papamug goes Elvis @ Flateyri

Papamug, the father of Mugison went on stage to perform an Elvis song @ Flateyri @ the closing night dinner for the Aldrei fór ég suður festival. After cooking for nearly 200 of the festival's performers, he covered Elvis "Can't Help Falling In Love".

The Sugarcubes "F***ing in Rhythm & Sorrow"

The Sugarcubes Song Number 10 from their Debut Album "Life's too good".
"Fucking in Rhythm & Sorrow"

Dáðadrengir Video "Bara smá"

"Bara smá" ("Just a little") by Dáðadrengir

Unun "Einkalíf" Video

Finally an Unun Video on YouTube. Thank you Smekkleysa SM & Jen goes digital. Title song of the movie "Einkalíf" (1995). Soundtrack was written by Margrét Örnólfsdóttir aka Magga Sugarcube.
Einkalíf music by Dr. Gunni/text by Unun.
Soundtrack released as Smekkleysa Album: SM 57 CD
"Einkalíf" featuring singer Heida with mohawk.

More information on Unun and related bands @

miðvikudagur, apríl 09, 2008

sunnudagur, apríl 06, 2008

Beyond Björk & Sigur Rós

Today I visited the Blogspot of Jennifer Leigh. She's not only running the EÖB Fansite, but she started recently to post about interesting Icelandic music "Beyond Björk & Sigur Rós":
Trabant, Ske, GusGus, Ghostigital, Bang Gang, Ampop, Benni Hemm Hemm, etc.

Check it yourself !
Or @ www.che-denfreude.com

The North Star: Einar Örn Benediktsson (EÖB) Fansite

EÖB Fansite by Jennifer Leigh @ http://nordurstjarnan.com/eob
Einar Örn is coming to perform @ Belgium. He made the program for the Bad Taste - Edgy Evening the 30th of April "Iceland on the Edge" @ Bozar.
Yesterday, I booked my ticket online.

Best Icelandic Band Names

Best Icelandic Band Names according to 1.027 voters @ Jens Gud Blog @ http://jensgud.blog.is/blog/jensgud:
1. Spilverk þjóðanna 17,2%
2. Unun 10,4%
3. Kamarorghestar 10,1%
4. Hljómsveit Ingimars Eydal 9,2%
5. Purrkur Pillnikk 8,1%
6. Sauðfé á mjög undir högg að sækja í landi Reykjavíkur 7,8%
7. Tennurnar hans afa 6,5%
8. Brimkló 6,2%
9. Sigur Rós 5,9%
10. Hljómar 5,1%
11. Búdrýgindi 4,7%
12. Bara-flokkurinn 2,8%
13. Morðingjarnir 2,7%
14. Mínus 1,7%
15. Dátar 1,6%

Enjoyed: A Tribute Album to Björk's Post

Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björk's Post is a complete 12 track tribute to Post.
It is available now for free from Stereogum @ http://stereogum.com/bjork/track
"Stereogum's complete 12-track Enjoyed comp is live and ready to be downloaded for free. Yep, 12. Because No Age cooked up an excellent alternate take on "It's Oh So Quiet," which we wanted to keep a surprise until ... now. In addition to Dean and Randy's Björk, you'll hear, in order of appearance, the previously announced covers by Liars, Dirty Projectors, High Places, Bell, Pattern Is Movement, Evangelicals, Xiu Xiu, Final Fantasy & Ed Droste, White Hinterland, El Guincho, and Atlas Sound."

Interview with Björk @ Naked City

Björk interviewed by Moran Caitlin @ Naked City

The Making of Fisherman's Woman by Emiliana Torrini

Emiliana Torrini about Making her Album Fisherman's Woman
Part 1

Part 2

Emiliana Torrini @ MTV & @ SWR3 New Pop Festival (September 2000)

Emiliana Torrini
"Life Saver" @ MTV France


"Dead things"

"Unemployed in summertime"

Diddú: A singer for all seasons

Diddú: A Singer for all seasons
Diddú’s performances move audiences and critics alike.
Most Icelanders, artists included, are known by their given names in Iceland. But if you asked an Icelander about Sigrún Hjálmtýsdóttir, they might not be sure whom you were talking about. If you say Diddú, however, a smile will appear and they will already be recounting their fond memories of a singer who has been one of Iceland’s favorites for decades.
Diddú started singing while in her teens. She first appeared on the Icelandic cultural scene when she was a member of pop and folk group Spilverk thjódanna in the 1970s and immediately became known for her distinct voice and lively performances. Spilverk thjódanna was one of the most prominent musical groups at the time and most people probably expected Diddú to continue as a pop singer. However, she surprised many of her fans by switching over to opera.
Diddú studied classical singing in Reykjavík, at the Guildhall School of Music in London, and in Italy. On completion of her studies she started appearing in operas, both within Iceland and abroad. With the Icelandic Opera she has performed the roles of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gilda in Rigoletto, Papagena and the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, Violetta in La traviata, Adina in L’elisir d’amore and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. She has also sung the role of Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann at the National Theatre of Iceland. Many of her performances have strongly moved audiences and critics alike.
Diddú has also acted in several Icelandic films, most notably Movie Days (Bíódagar) by Fridrik Fridriksson and Brekkukotsannáll, based on the novel The Fish can Sing by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness. Had she not chosen singing as her profession she would surely have become an actor.
Her recent albums include Hvert örstutt spor (‘Each Tiny Step’) and Fuglar tímans (‘Birds of Time’). In the fall of 2007 she performed with singer Gardar Thór Cortes in London and starred in a special production at the Icelandic
Opera called Opera Pearls.
Diddú often performs at concerts and official gatherings. When she arrives the venue is inevitably filled with joy. Her presence is strong and she radiates positive feelings. Her skills at finding the right songs to fit the moment are uncanny. Even foreign audiences who have never seen her before are immediately charmed. Her smile and good humorpenetrate even the strongest defenses.
I & I Iceland 2007 (Number 3)
Diddú & Icelandic rapper Sesar A

I & I Interview with Lay Low: Icelandic Music’s Brightest Hope

Last January, Lay Low & a friend were watching the same movie as me, I'm Not There about Bob Dylan, in Reykjavik's Rainbow Cinema.
Lay Low: Icelandic Music’s Brightest Hope
In school she sang in a choir but didn’t dare sing solo until she was in her twenties.
Last year a young Icelandic singer who calls herself Lay Low was chosen the most popular artist in Icelandic music. She is popular, very personal and a great musician. She plays enjoyable songs, many of which are her own.
In 2006 her CD Please don’t hate me was released.
Lay Low’s real name is the very Icelandic sounding Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir – not exactly a catchy stage name. Her father is from Sri Lanka and his family name is Ganeshalingam, so that did not really help either. After some deliberation she and her friend came up with this slick and descriptive stage name, as she plays the acoustic guitar and sings quiet songs.
Lay Low is 25 years old and you could say that music is her life in more ways than one. She plays music at night, and sells it during the day in Skífan, a music store in downtown Reykjavík, where she works as a sales clerk.
Sometimes she is asked for her own CD. “Some people are embarrassed, but many ask me for my autograph. I don’t mind, I like it. It comes with being successful.”
Lay Low first learned to play the recorder, then the piano, next the bass and finally the acoustic guitar. In school she sang in a choir but didn’t dare sing solo until she was in her twenties. “I was sure I could not sing!”
Her most recent project is creating and performing the music in the play Driving Lessons by Paul Vogel. Some are her own compositions, and
she also plays some songs by Dolly Parton. She mentions that she experienced stage fright at the beginning, which gradually wore off. The music from the play, staged by the Akureyri Theatre Company, has received considerable radio play.
So does she have a particular role model? “No, not really. The musicians I really like are so good that there is no chance that I could be like them.
Shouldn’t you just try to be yourself? Of course I resemble many people and that’s OK. At the moment I am listening to Jolie Holland a bit. My record player was just fixed so I am also listeningto many old albums and really enjoying it.”
Does she mind being famous? “Everybody is famous in Iceland. It is enough to be on television once and then somebody knows you.
Nobody ever bothers me, but strangers often want to talk to me and I am happy with that.”
Lay Low is both a solo artist and a member of the band Benny Crespo’s Gang. “It is a totally different type of music, which I enjoy.”
So what does the future hold? “I want to be happy and content, in whichever way I can and wherever I end up.”
I & I Issues and Images of Iceland 2008 (Number 1)
Lay Low "Please don't hate me" Live

Lay Low @ MySpace: www.myspace.com/baralovisa