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On The Road:  Snorri Helgason On Silly Songs & Brand-New Adventures

On The Road: Snorri Helgason On Silly Songs & Brand-New Adventures

Alice Demurtas
Words by
Photos by
Timothée Lambrecq

Published July 4, 2018

There is something magically captivating about the idea of life on the road. From Marco Polo’s ‘Million’ to the American Dream, generations of youths have counted on the cobbled roads of the world to spur them forward—physically and mentally.

So it’s no wonder the Icelandic Ring Road has a special place in the heart of travellers and artists, and this summer is time for singer-songwriter Snorri Helgason to embark on a new journey through his own hazy dreamland.

Of tales and legends

Snorri’s latest album ‘Margt býr í þokunni’ came out last December—a melancholic yet energetic selection of Icelandic folk stories that stretch elegantly on a pentagram, with Snorri as their tireless narrator. It took Snorri four years of research to gather the material he needed, and finally, from the distant shores of the Westfjörds, isolated in a semi-forgotten lighthouse, he began to write.

“To me usually the music comes naturally,” Snorri says. “But for this album it was different. I had to focus on the stories.”

Armed with acoustic guitar and a lot of discipline, Snorri continued working. “I knew what kind of soundscapes I wanted to have,” he says. “I knew I wanted it to be very acoustic and simple and to catch this folk music feel. And there had to be a focus on the acoustic guitar and the voices, because the purpose of folk music is to tell a story.”

A new journey

The album ended up being a clamorous success, and a surprising one for Snorri. Melodic and gentle, the album itself is a journey through the psychology of narrative, and a glimpse into the past of Icelandic society. So what better way to celebrate it than with a tour around the island?

From Dalvík in the North to Havarí in the East, with a short stop in Borgarfjörður Eystri on the way, Snorri will be bringing tales and legends back to the people on a short, sweet summer tour with the sole company being his acoustic guitar. And his new family, of course. “I’m taking my little girl as well,” he adds with a smile, referring to his newborn. “I have done tours like this before but it’s always a lottery whether people show up or not. But I am really excited.”

“When I was writing my last album, I was completely immersed in the miserable reality of centuries ago.”

Silly songs

Despite the success of his brand new album, this self-confessed pop lover with a subtle humour and a soft spot for Brit pop has no intention to stop here. His next venture? A children’s album—but don’t call it that.

“When I was writing my last album, I was completely immersed in the miserable reality of centuries ago, so I had to do something to clear my mind every once in a while,” Snorri explains. “That’s when I started to write these completely silly songs.”

We’re not sure whether his plan is to take the world by storm one silly song at the time, but Snorri has already got a fan. “I play some of these songs for my little girl already and she seems to like them,” he adds, smiling. “So maybe that’s a go ahead, you know?”


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