5th Column Takes Moscow - The Reykjavik Grapevine

5th Column Takes Moscow

5th Column Takes Moscow

Published March 11, 2005

The rock-band “5ta herdeildin” (The 5th Column) has just returned home after marching on Moscow.

Internet sites that deal with Icelandic rock usually describe 5ta herdeildin as a folk band that performs melodies based on Icelandic and foreign folk tunes. But Gísli Magnússon, the band commander and his three fellow musicians would hardly agree with such a description: 5ta herdeildin used to be a folk band, but things have changed. Though a part of the band’s repertoire is light-minded dance tunes, one would not recognize any influences from ethnic music in them. Both the music and the texts are written by the members of the band; the texts are mostly satirical. The members of the band have some experience of participating in other projects: Hermann, the drummer, once played banjo for the rock band “Ríkið” (The State), now dismissed, and Loftur (the bass player) also plays in the well-known punk-hard core band “DYS”, led by Siggi Punk.

Katyusha Takes Off
The first concert took place on the 4th of March at a small club in the centre of Moscow. It’s name is “Kitajskyj letchik Jao Da” (The Chinese Pilot Jao Da) is popular among fans of modern rock music. The second concert took place the next day at the movie-house “35 mm”; the house was packed. Though only those of the audience familiar with the Icelandic language could understand the texts, the music told its own tale. 5ta herdeildin performed songs from their latest album “Áður óutgefið efni” (Previously Unreleased Material) and some still unreleased. At their second concert the musicians took the audience by surprise by performing the well-known Russian folk song “Katyusha”.

The Right Place at the Right Time
Actually, it was not the band’s first trip to Russia: in 2003 5ta herdeildin got a chance to take part in the international folk song festival “SKIF-7” in Saint Petersburg. Loftur the bass player says: “Unnur Andrea, the girl in our band had somehow found out that there was no Icelandic band represented at this festival, so we were allowed to participate. All we needed was to be in the right place by the right time.” At present, 5ta herdeildin are working on their new album; it is due to come out in the end of this year or at the beginning of the next.

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