María Rut Reynisdóttir is the project manager of Reykjavík Music City, which seeks to promote the city’s music scene and Icelandic music abroad. She’s also a former program manager for Iceland Airwaves. Here are her top picks for Airwaves 2019.
I bet that this is the first time that an artist from Ukraine performs at Iceland Airwaves. Alyona Alyona recently won the Anchor award at the Reeperbahn Festival International Music Awards, as decided by a jury comprised of artists like Peaches and Kate Nash. With her looks and attitude she defies stereotypes and even though you don‘t understand a word of what she‘s saying, you instantly get carried away by her fire. It really makes me happy when atypical artists that sing in their mother tongue manage to break across borders. I’d love to see a collab between her and Reykjavíkurdætur.
GDRN brought something fresh and new when she exploded onto the Icelandic music scene in 2018. Her beautiful jazzy and thick voice instantly caught my attention. I had been anticipating real sensual Icelandic R&B pop for a while, then all of a sudden we had both Auður and GDRN. GDRN won four awards at the Icelandic Music Awards 2018 for her debut album ‘Hvað ef’ (‘What If’) and quickly established herself as one of the most talented emerging artists in Iceland. Simultaneously she played a leading role in changing the boys club that had defined the rap and hip hop scene in Iceland for years, collaborating with many of the boys that had been leading that scene. GDRN is a grounded, ambitious and professional young artist that I really admire and look forward to follow.
Auður‘s last album, ‘Afsakanir’ (‘Excuses’) was my favourite Icelandic album and the one that I listened to most in 2018. Auður is extremely talented, ambitious and creative and he strikes me as an artist who goes to great lengths to give his fans the best experience possible at his live shows, not afraid of taking up space. To no surprise, he and GDRN are collaborators and together the two of them have been at the forefront of the new Icelandic R&B scene, managing to melt cold hearts with their intimate lyrics and late-night sounds.
I have been a fan of Ólöf Arnalds since she released her debut album ‘Við og við’ (‘Now and Then’) back in 2007 and I remember seeing her playing an Iceland Airwaves off-venue show at the Nordic House around that time and being totally captured by her songs, the beautiful lyrics and unique voice. About two years ago, I saw her playing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles along with a band comprised of Skúli Sverrisson, Ólafur Björn Ólafsson, Gyða Valtýsdóttir and more and the audience was totally enthralled thanking her with a standing ovation after the show. That experience is actually one of the nicest concert experiences I‘ve ever had and obviously I‘m really excited to see what she does at Iceland Airwaves this year.
His laid back, slow rock music with vintage but still somehow progressive feel to it, makes Mac DeMarco the perfect opposite of over-the-top commercial pop that we are flooded with in mainstream media today. I enjoy his simplicity, low fidelity and wacky humour that is greatly depicted in his insane videos and I really look forward to experiencing him on stage.
Orville Peck is the pseudonym of an anonymous masked country musician outlaw who released his debut album earlier this year. Peck builds on the traditions of country music—which I‘ve learned to appreciate more and more—but simultaneously breaks out of that tradition with his cinematic and psychedelic sound. Peck, who also identifies as a queer artist, is quoted as saying that country music is not about instrumentation, not about the colour of your skin or your sexual orientation, but the crossroads of drama, storytelling, and sincerity. True. The combination of his music and mysterious, curated image is just too interesting to miss.
Iceland Airwaves is from November 6th to 9th. Tickets are 19,900 ISK for the festival and 12,900 ISK daily.
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Posted November 1, 2019