Published October 23, 2013
The haunting collection Stafnbúi opens like a hymn from another time. And the vibrantly beating heart of it is of another time. This collection of traditional rímur poetry and music from Steindór Andersen and Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson shakes the digital dust from the ears and snaps the listener into a world removed, vast and mysterious.
These 12 recordings, vocals from Steindór and music by Hilmar, are a history lesson in the most affecting way. However, the significance and beauty of a recording like this is it does not feel like one. The arresting presence of Steindór’s voice captivates one’s attention the way staring at a snowy sea does, simple but deceivingly powerful. The longer you stare, the deeper you are drawn in.
Hilmar’s music is an intrinsic and intimate platform for Steindór. Its slow undulations call to mind the Icelandic landscape these poems originated from. While the words are sung in Icelandic the content is far from lost. Each piece is performed with enough emotion to deftly transcend the language barrier into an experience in of itself. With this release the bar has been raised for what to listen to and why, and the world is a bit richer for it.
Preview their album here.