“Other boys are bigger than you, and they think you’re a fool. But I know better. Don’t sweat it, I got your back baby,” sings singer-songwriter Bara Heiða, whose full name is Heiða Dóra Jónsdóttir, on her song “I Got Your Back.” The upbeat tune, infused with ukulele, piano and jazzy percussion, is taken from her split 12” vinyl with her brother Daníel Jón Jónsson, aka Danimal.
The split LP is called “Danimal Says Hi,” which is Daníel’s side, and “Bara Heiða, So Do I,” which is Heiða’s side. They released the vinyl in December last year, and 10% of all proceeds are donated to the CFC Research Fund in Iceland. “We have a brother, Breki, who is 13, and he has CFC Syndrome (Cardio-facio-cutaneous Syndrome),” says Daníel. “So we decided to have a fundraiser for that.”
For a great cause
Heiða and Daníel’s mother, Anna Kristín, is a biologist and geneticist who set up the CFC Research Fund in Iceland in hope for finding a cure for the rare genetic syndrome. There are only two Icelanders with the syndrome, and one of them is Breki. “It affects your body and development,” Heiða explains. “They have special facial features. Many have heart problems and difficulty walking. But Breki is a happy boy who is lucky not to suffer from the more serious disabilities associated with the syndrome.”
But the family’s got their little brother’s back, even though sometimes things are hard. “It’s difficult because even though he’s 13 now, his development resembles that of a 4-year-old,” says Heiða. “So it’s always like having a kid.”
Before the release of the vinyl, Heiða and Daníel set up an online fundraiser to fund the manufacturing of the LP. Now the split vinyl is available to purchase in stores across Reykjavík: Lucky Records, Reykjavík Record Shop, Kaffi Vinyl, Bad Taste, Eymundsson, and 12 Tónar.
Heiða wrote her first song when she was 16. It was back in a time when internet was still not as prevalent. “I learned a few chords on the guitar with a Beatles book,” she smiles. “I started straight away to write my own songs with the few chords that I had, and that’s what I’ve been doing since.”
Her music is refreshing, upbeat and introspective. Heiða has been working with producer Arnar Guðjónsson for a long time, and the instrumentation in her songs is always diverse. Arnar plays a lot of instruments on the EP, as well as other musicians that Heiða collaborate with. “Even though I do play a little bit of instruments, I don’t really look at myself as an instrumentalist,” says Heiða. “But I do enjoy making songs.”
As the younger brother, Daníel started writing music when he was only 12. “I learned to play instruments just to be able to write music,” he says. “Once I got three chords down on guitar, I wrote another song.”
Daníel is constantly inspired by other music, and he goes through different phases. “I kind of obsess over bands. I have an ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) obsession, with a weird mix of Elliott Smith maybe for a month. Then I may have a Dylan obsession for a couple of months,” he laughs.
Next, Daníel will change direction again. “The songs I’m working on lately, that will be on the next album, are more punk,” he says. “I’m just tired of the idea that everything has to be perfect.”
The split vinyl is out now. 10% of all proceeds are donated to the CFC Research Fund in Iceland. A release concert on April 19th, 2018 at Húrra, Tryggvagata 22, Reykjavík.