From Iceland — Finding A Place In Nomadland

Finding A Place In Nomadland

Published April 1, 2022

Finding A Place In Nomadland
Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Anna Maggý

It’s no easy feat to define MIMRA’s music. Bordering on electronic and folk music, it’s tempting to just boil it down to some kind of dream-pop. But nothing is that simple when it comes to María Magnúsdóttir, the person behind the project.

On her new album, the artist plays with more traditional structures when it comes to her compositions while staying true to her original sound.

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Exploring dimensions

“I allow myself to explore a lot of dimensions in music and often find myself on borders of dreamy experience and something more straightforward,” María explains, and this is understandable, since she’s educated in jazz music, composition and production and is teaching music at FÍH Musicians’ Union school of music and MÍT Highschool of music alongside her work as MIMRA. Perhaps the reason for this odd travelling in the music scene might be because she has found herself between worlds.

“I was kind of homeless after I experienced a heartbreak a few years ago,” she says. This changed her life in a drastic way. She decided to move back to Iceland from London where she was living at the time.

“I hadn’t lived in Iceland for 10 years, but now, suddenly, I found myself at a crossroads. Suddenly, I needed to find a new purpose,” she adds.

Make up your mind, weather

María said it was hard to return to Iceland and try to fit into a society she barely knew anymore.

“But then I came across this article about the weather and Iceland,” she explains. “The core of the article was that the weather, perhaps like Icelanders, just couldn’t make up its mind.”

She strived to create this lack of decisiveness in her new album. Almost all of the songs on MIMRA’s new album, Finding Place, were written in 2017 and 2018, a while ago now.

Writing songs over a few years and then gathering the best ones for an album is a process MIMRA has always followed, even for her first album, Sinking Island.

Telling a story is important

María follows the folk tradition when it comes to writing lyrics.

“I try to tell a story, and I need to understand it and make it understandable for the audience,” she says, pointing out that one song, Sister, was inspired by the #MeToo movement. “And perhaps to top everything, I got into Handmaid’s Tale,” she adds and chuckles.

MIMRA is once again standing at a crossroads.
Her album release and album release concert is today April 1st at Salurinn in Kópavogur — and it’s not an April fool’s thing.

Always moving

“I just want to tap into the audience that wants to hear something alternative, music that treads the line of the conventional and not so conventional,” María says. Of course, her album will be available on all of the main streaming services, but she will also release a handful of vinyl records. Before the conversation dwindles, I have to ask” where does the name MIMRA come from? “I came across it at Fimbulfamb [the Icelandic version of Scrabble],” she says. “The meaning is to be constantly moving,” she explains. It’s fitting.

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