Category: ICELAND MUSIC


Svavar Knútur-ICELAND

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ICELAND ARTIST

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LAY LOW is the alter ego of singer-songwriter Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, who was born in London in 1982 to an Icelandic mother and Sri Lankan father, with the family relocating to Reykjavík when she was a small child. She took piano lessons at a young age and started playing bass and guitar in her teens, performing with several local acts before joining the experimental rock band Benny Crespo’s Gang adding keyboards, synthesizers….and her voice….to her musical armory.

LAY LOW evolved in early 2006, after Lovísa was contacted by a local label showing an interest in a raw demo she had placed on MySpace that combined elements of blues, folk and country and twisted them into a fascinating new shape. Just a few short months after being discovered she had recorded and released her debut album, ‘Please Don’t Hate Me’, which topped the Icelandic chart and became the bestselling original album in the country that year, getting nominated for four Icelandic Music Awards (winning three) in the process.
Demonstrating a musical maturity beyond her years, ‘Please Don’t Hate Me’ was an impressive debut, with Lovísa’s intoxicating new take on classic Americana sounds attracting much praise and her authentic and compelling live performances standing up well to the recorded versions of her songs.

Following the speedy success of her debut, Lovísa refused to rest on her laurels, recording covers of two well-known Icelandic songs for a local hit movie (‘Brúðguminn’, directed by Baltasar Kormákur) and taking on the role of music director for the Pulitzer Prize play ‘How I Learned to Drive’, (written by Paula Vogel), for which she not only wrote the music but also performed it on-stage to sell out crowds and great reviews. The music from the play was released in Iceland in early 2008 and included five original LAY LOW tracks in Icelandic plus eight Dolly Parton covers, all in a distinctive LAY LOW style. The record was an instant hit and Lovisa again found herself nominated for a prize, this time for an Icelandic Theatre Award. Despite several other musical luminaries being nominated (including Nick Cave and Warren Ellis), LAY LOW won the award.

Lovísa also began sewing the seeds of an international career in 2007, playing shows in the UK and the US and performing at several industry conventions in mainland Europe. While in the US, Lucinda Williams saw her play two shows in LA and began talking up LAY LOW as one of the best new artists she had seen in years.

The early part of 2008 saw LAY LOW begin planning her much anticipated new album, visiting London to meet up and play with producer Liam Watson and a crack team of musicians at his famed Toe Rag Studios. Things clicked immediately between Lovísa and Liam and a full recording session was scheduled for the summer. To prepare for the recordings Lovísa spent some time in the Icelandic countryside, first staying on the remote island of Hrísey in the far north of the country and then travelling to the extreme east to the tiny village of Borgarfjörður Eystri.

Recorded and produced by Liam Watson (White Stripes, Pete Molinari, Holly Golightly), ‘Farewell Good Night’s Sleep’ is a superlative sophomore album that reinvents the country music wheel for a modern audience. Recorded between July and September 2008, it features high calibre musicians such as Carwyn Ellis, Ed Turner, Rupert Brown, Matt Radford, Jason Wilson and BJ Cole. Liam Watson himself comments that “working with Lovísa was a great experience. I really enjoyed working with a girl of Lovísa’s age that enjoys good country music, the kind that I like – sincere, melodic and lush. Lovísa has a very special and unique voice and is coming up with the kind of material I don’t hear from anyone else. Iceland’s top female country artist will surely become a favourite the world over.”

When asked about influences for the new album, Lovísa talks a lot about the honky tonk era from 1950–1960 as well as specific artists who have influenced her – Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams Sr., Red Foley, Loretta Lynn, Hank Lochlin, Skeeter Davis and The Carter Family. In general she listens to a great deal of country, roots and old gospel, together with a lot of new indie bands.

As for the album title, Lovísa states that “I was really stressed making the album and felt pressured since ‘Please Don’t Hate Me’ had been doing so well. I didn’t sleep much when I was working on it and that’s why I thought it was appropriate that I should call it ‘Farewell Good Night’s Sleep’, since that’s how it was.”

The music team at iTunes in the US have already picked up on the new album, tipping LAY LOW as one of the best discoveries of 2008, while the opening song on the record (the 6 minute country-burlesque ‘I Forget It’s There’) has been getting much daytime airplay from the influential LA radio station KCRW.

LAY LOW toured mainland Europe as the main support for Emilíana Torrini early 2009. She has also been supporting Emilíana Torrini on her shows in London, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. On her own LAY LOW has performed this year in Finland, Denmark, Germany, Winnipeg, Gimli, New York and Los Angeles and recently did a live session at KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic plus festival appearances at Glastonbury, Slottsfjell, Into The Great Wide Open and End of the Road.

LAY LOW will be the main support for Emilíana Torrini on her European tour starting September 24th.

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MAMMÚT is a band from Reykjavik, Iceland consisting of three girls and two boys aged eighteen and nineteen. In 2004, three months after forming, Mammút won the annual battle of the bands (Músiktilraunir) competition in Iceland . This has been the springboard for some of the most promising bands and artists in Iceland. Since then Mammút have been playing gigs all over Iceland and Europe ,including supports with Belgian art rockers dEUS. Their music has developed in to something quite unique; distinctive vocals and angular guitars held together by brilliant melodic bass and innovative drums.

Mammút have attracted international attention from Rolling Stone journalist Dave Fricke who called them “a really good band”, Music Week(UK) who named them as “a band to watch for the future”, and the respected Playlouder.com website, which described the band as “Incredible”. Mammút’s eponymous debut album was released in Iceland in spring 2006 on Smekkleysa (BadTaste) the label founded by The Sugarcubes and one-time home to Björk and Sigur Rós.

After a little brake from the spotlight, writing and recording, Mammút is now armed with a new bassplayer, new label and a new album, Karkari! Karkari was released the 26th of August 2008. Including the hit singles “Svefnsýkt” and “Geimþrá” which have gotten great response on national radio stations in Iceland.

“The group is a powerhouse on stage, delivering series of searing post-punk songs that were terrifically fractured and neurotic. Guitarists Arnar and Alexandra deliver notes in tight clusters, and the songs stike like stabs to the chest. Vocalist Kata is just as agressive: her voice is a miracle, a collection of tics and gasps and shrieks that injects the songs with the proper sense of panic. Their set was a series of well-timed thrills, breathless and invigorating”
– J. Edward Keyes, The Reykjavik Grapevine, Airwaves ’08 review.

The 28th of November 2008, Karkari by Mammút won the Kraumur awards for one of the best icelandic albums of the year.

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ICELAND TECHNO BAND

SIGUR ROS-ICELAND

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ICELAND VISUAL BAND

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ICELAND ELECTRO BAND

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November 16, 2000 Mtv Europe Music Award in Stockholm Hosted by Wyclef Jean

Performers
All Saints — “Pure Shores”
Backstreet Boys — “Shape Of My Heart”
Bomfunk MCs — “Freestyler”
Guano Apes — “No Speech”
Ronan Keating — “Love Is A Rollercoaster”
Jennifer Lopez — “Love Don’t Cost A Thing”
Madonna — “Music”
Ricky Martin — “She Bangs”
Moby — “Porcelain”
Spice Girls — “Holler”
U2 — “Beautiful Day”
Robbie Williams feat. Kylie Minogue — “Kids”

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The 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards was presented on November 2, 2006 simultaneously at Bella Center and The City Hall Square, in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was the 13th MTV Europe Music Awards. The host was Justin Timberlake. The event featured a PSYC backstage video chat hosted by Juliette and the Licks.

Performers
Nelly Furtado — “Maneater”
Jet — “Rip It Up”
Keane — “Is It Any Wonder?”
The Killers — “When You Were Young”
Lordi — “Hard Rock Hallelujah”
Muse — “Starlight”
Outlandish — “I’m Callin’ You”
Diddy & Cassie — “Come to Me”
Rihanna — “SOS”
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell — “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
Justin Timberlake — “SexyBack” / “My Love” / “LoveStoned”

FRIDRIK OMAR-ICELAND

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Fridrik Omar was born in Akureyri, Iceland on the fourth of october 1981. When he was about five years old he began playing drums but later he was asked to sing on a festival in his school and that was the first time he sang for other people then his mom.

The crowd went wild and he had found a new way to impress the girls…or the boys. Then later on he became the winner in several singing competitions in his hometown and at that point he made a decision…he was going to be a singer.

Since then he has worked with many of the most succesful artists in Iceland. Past months have been very busy and his first solo album is now in stores, ANNAN DAG. Fridrik Omar was in 2nd place in the Icelandic finals of the Eurovision song contest 2007. The song he performed is called “Eldur” (Fire)…

TOMMI WHITE-ICELAND

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