This folkie annual gathering takes place at KEX next week, from the March 6 to 8. The lineup features twelve artists and aims to celebrate the depth of Iceland’s folk music tradition by representing different generations of musicians. Snorri Helgason was involved in curating the lineup, and will close things up with a performance on the Saturday night. We had a word with him on the roots of the festival.
Has Iceland’s folk tradition had a big impression on you as a musician, alongside music from overseas?
I would say that the Icelandic folk tales and legends and mythology have made a bigger impression on me than the actual Icelandic folk music and the rýmur. I was always fascinated by those stories as a kid and I still am. I really didn’t know that much about Icelandic folk music until about a year ago when I realised this and made a conscious effort to research it and get to know it. I am very interested in trying to incorporate some of that into my music, but I haven’t been able to figure out a way to do that just yet. That stuff is very, very dark and heavy. But it’s at the back of my mind and maybe one day I will be able to create something out of that.
How did you come to curate the festival?
The festival was founded by Ólafur Þórðarson, who was my father’s best friend and they were together in a folk trio called Ríó Tríó for over 40 years, so he was a close family friend. When he passed away two years ago, my dad and I took over.
Tell us a little about this year’s lineup and what the vision was?
When I took over the festival last year, I wanted to try to focus on the diversity and breadth of the Icelandic folk music scene. I wanted to bring together the folk music of the past and the folk and folk-influenced music that has been coming out of the Icelandic music scene for the past few years with artists such as Ólöf Arnalds, Lay Low, Árstíðir and even Of Monsters & Men. I wanted to try to bring that together in a big melting pot and set that up in a nice intimate setting where people can really feel the power that the folk music and the performance of folk music can bring. In this year’s festival we have such varied artists as former Blonde Redhead member Skúli Sverrisson, Icelandic singer-songwriter king Bubbi Morthens, rýmur expert and Sigur Rós collaborator Steindór Andersen, the new veteran supergroup trio Drangar, the new folk youngsters in Hymnalaya and everyone’s favourite troubadour blues/folk man KK. They’re all performing in the tiny and intimate setting of the Gym & Tonik room at KEX Hostel. This will be good!
Wristbands on sale at midi.is will get you access to a three-day festival for 7,999 ISK and single-day tickets for 3,000 ISK.