Gyða Valtýsdóttir is best known as a sometime member of múm. But after several years spent off the radar pursuing low-key projects and collaborations, she’s back with a new album: ‘Epicycle’.
Her time away from the Icelandic music scene was spent getting her master’s degree in classical cello, followed by a few years travelling the world. As she explains in a recent interview with The Grapevine, these nomadic years were imperative to the creative process behind ‘Epicycle’—her time on the road was spent having adventures, collaborating with friends, and recording the music that would eventually form the album. It clearly worked—’Epicycle’ has since been nominated for The Icelandic Music Awards’ 2016 Album Of The Year.
‘Epicycle’ is an ode to Gyða’s classical studies. It is essentially a ‘covers album’, each track being inspired by various pieces of music from the past 2000 years. Gyða recently went through her album with us, detailing the inspiration behind each track: from “Seikilos Epitaph”, the oldest surviving composition excavated from a tomb in Turkey, to “Louange à l’Éternité de Jésus”, composed by Olivier Messiaen during his time as a PoW in WWII. Gyða’s music remarkably manages to give us a glimpse into the past, whilst still feeling like it belongs to now. It’s evocative, moving, and reminds you that the power of music transcends time and space.
The release concert on March 3 will see her playing cello and lead vocals, but she also has a wealth of talent accompanying her: Shahzad Ismaily on guitar, Julian Sartorius on drums, Júlía Morgensen, Frank Aarnink, and Óli Björn Ólafsson on crystal glasses and percussion, and Kristín Anna and Ásthildur Valtýsdætur (Gyða’s sisters) on backing vocals. All this in a church with the Kórus choir means that it’s sure to be an otherworldly and beautiful performance.