Iceland's Lay Low makes her Canadian debut at the Nuna (now) Festival, but the folksinger is well known in her home country. Her country and blues-tinged CD "Please Don't Hate Me" topped the charts and earned her three Icelandic Music Awards. We chatted with her via e-mail.
Are you a household name in Iceland?
The Lay Low name sounds familiar to a lot of people. It is such a small country, and Reykjavik a small city that sometimes you can end up knowing everyone and everyone knowing you.
How did you become a country and blues singer in Iceland?
I wasn't really planning on staying in a particular genre. But it turned out that my music was a bit country and a bit bluesy sometimes. Those genres are pretty well liked, I would think. There is a big blues festival every year and I think people all over like a bit of country.
Most Canadians have only heard of Björk and perhaps Sigur Ros. What other popular bands are there in Iceland? Do you have any favourites?
There is a lot of bands around here in Iceland. And a lot of good bands, very good bands. Sin Fang Bous, Seabear, Hjaltalin, FM Belfast, Olöf Arnalds, Pikknikk if I have to name a few ... but there are many many more that I like.
What characteristics and qualities do you hear in Icelandic music that you don't hear in music from any other country?
I'm not sure what it is, but it is a fact that we live in an extraordinary country with great landscapes and powerful mountains. It must affect and come through in the music and is inspiring. A small population living on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, that's what we are.
"Please don't hate me"