From Iceland — Editorial: Strong Year In Music

Editorial: Strong Year In Music

Published January 15, 2021

Editorial: Strong Year In Music
Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

If you feel down because of the pandemic, the boring storms and the strong winds beating on you all the goodman time, don’t despair: Reykjavík Grapevine’s Music Awards are out! We got an incredible panel to find out who were the best musicians of the dreadful pandemic year, and it turns out that we had some seriously good music this year. We have a new star rising as the artist of the year, Bríet, who came literally like a storm to the Icelandic scene. Her album, Kveðja, Bríet (Best regards, Bríet) was one of the strongest debuts we have seen for years in Iceland. On top of that, she sang straight into the nation’s soul which couldn’t get enough of her best song of the year, Rólegur Kúreki (Easy now, cowboy), which is not something many new artists manage to do.

An old friend of Reykjavík Grapevine, JFDR, showed the nation, once again, that she is one of Iceland’s top artists, and won the best album of the year award for her ethereal, sincere EP, Dream On. Both of these women have in common the courage to bare their soul, something that the Icelandic nation did not only appreciate, but needed in the odd time of social restrictions and distance from other people.

The last year in music was good, but it was a seriously hard year for artists at the same time. Many have lost their living because of the strict social gathering rules while others used the time to record new music. Yet musicians did not forget their most vulnerable brothers and sisters: Frosti Jón Runólfsson made an incredible video of Jónsi’s song, Sumarið sem aldrei kom (The summer that never came), where Frosti followed houseless people and their hard days in his shocking video, creating a true momentum in Iceland when the video came out. We also have unique artists, like Hekla, who is one artist you should have heard. Her usage of the Theramin and her classical approach to it shows us that creativity in Icelandic music is bustling. The same goes with the odd couple in Holdgervlar, the one you should be watching. All in all, this year in Icelandic music was much stronger than anyone anticipated. So go to your streaming platform, or better, buy the albums you like, because, well, Icelandic artists are struggling like so many of us.

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