A Faroese Folk Fay - The Reykjavik Grapevine

A Faroese Folk Fay

A Faroese Folk Fay

Published February 25, 2014

Gamli Gaukurinn, February 12

Gamli Gaukurinn, February 12

A cold, monotonous and tipsy Wednesday was on its way when I stepped into Gamli Gaukurinn to see the Faroese singer Eivør Pálsdóttir. From the get-go, she captivated a roomful of listeners. The show was advertised with only two days notice and unexpectedly started briefly after its scheduled time. Nonetheless, by the end of her first song, an audience made up of avid aficionados of Eivør was seated and listening intently.

Gamli Gaukurinn’s quaint stage, low-level ceiling and warm lights complemented Eivør’s intimate universe. Two keyboards, a synthesiser as well as a drum set backed her up with precision, and the heavy bass and short synth segments delighted me. I would have appreciated more of those electronic sections, which Eivør said were a more recent addition to her otherwise folk-based repertoire.

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Eivør, who often sang with her eyes closed, captivated the audience with her energy, which flowed from her voice all the way to the tip of her frenetic fingers. The spell was scarcely broken, only by the listeners’ need for a beer or the emptying of an exhausted bladder. At the same time as the softness of her voice reminded me of Eva Cassidy, she also roared with great control, which, to my glee, echoed to a sauntering effect.

For the first encore, my highlight of the night, she played a shamanic drum, which she acquired through a sage. She pounded on it with ferocity unseen up to that point, which made for a great ending to an altogether captivating performance. A British tourist in his early thirties confessed, while purchasing refreshments, that the show exceeded his expectations. Even though I’m not a big folk music fan, her performance impressed me too.


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