From Iceland — GOLLUM´S SINGER


Published June 13, 2003


Emiliana Torrini is sneaking up on you. Did you know that?

It is sheer coincidence that an Icelander sang on the soundtrack to “The Two Towers” when that nation came closest to saturated viewing of The Lord Of The Rings celluloid sequel. The Icelander in question is Emiliana Torrini who sang ‘Gollum’s Song’ which plays during the closing credits.

Not that Icelanders are unfavourable to Miss Torrini, by no means. Her musical apprenticeship in her homeland may have seen her punting unchallenging cover versions for easy listening radio but she went on to perform on some of the most popular tracks from both the Gus Gus and Slowblow (lo-fi in-secret in Iceland) back catalogues and to collaborate with the likes of street-credible UK dance label Fat Cat.

She was uncharacteristically cool during the Gus Gus dalliance, opting not to sign up to 4AD, the band’s original label – a boat many aspiring singers would be too scared to miss. It was, we see now, not her boat.

However, her vocal performance could not account for the mass box office turn-out. If that were the case, Torrini would be top of the Pops in her homeland Britney stylee, which she isn’t.

Indeed, she isn’t a chart buster anywhere and is perfectly happy to admit it. On the big film debut Torrini commented humbly: “They contacted many singers concerning this song. There was a lot of uncertainty whether I would be given the opportunity since I am completely unknown. This happened very quickly. I had barely finished learning the song when I had to go into the studio”.

But it was not just the exposure that excited the singer. “I’m really a big fan of the books,” she added. “I’ve read them four times”.

The gossip circuit in the past has suggested that there’s some friction between Miss Torrini and her fellow Icelandic chanteuse, BjÖrk. This is understandable when one considers that there is a similarity in the flow of their voices, being sometimes very powerful and at other times little-girl-lost. But really, apart from the inevitable similarities in accent, the musical and live performance comparisons end there.

One could not, however, help but feel that her famous predecessor was raining on her parade somewhat when she announced that The Lord Of The Rings buck was passed to Torrini after she had knocked it back on account of her mother-to-be status. Second in line, remember, is a different thing from second best.

Still, if that thought passed through her mind she could easily write it off as paranoia, having said of herself: “I’m a drama queen. I’m always imagining things.”

Torrini was raised in Iceland by her Icelandic mother and Italian father and on a balanced aural diet classical, Italian pop and Icelandic folk songs. Her solo album ‘Love In The Time Of Science’ was well received and she has supported both Moby and Sting, but she is not going to take us by storm. No indeed, Torrini is sneaking up on us. Hers is the voice that plays over the enigmatic car add. She’s been a fave with the women’s mags, most obviously because of the emotion invested in her performances perhaps.

Right enough, it would be improper for Torrini to make a Britney-esque impact on music as she looks likely, in the long run, to have a far more prolific and earnest career.

Listen out, say we, because you are going to notice her when you least expect. She’s no longer in the audio-wallpaper business.

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