From Iceland — Riding the Sound Waves

Riding the Sound Waves

Published July 10, 2024

Riding the Sound Waves
Photo by
Joana Fontinha

Tríó Sól and Atli Arnarsson bring it home for a six-day tour

Copenhagen-based Tríó Sól and Atli Arnarsson are crossing the ocean to bring their Öldur tour to Iceland July 11 to 16. The homecoming will see the musicians take the stage on a handful of stops in the west and north to perform their genre-spanning music.

“Sometimes we like to think about ourselves as a string quartet minus a cello… sometimes we think that’s kind of funny,” says Sólrún Ylfa Ingimarsdóttir, who plays violin alongside fellow violinist Emma Garðarsdóttir and violist Þórhildur Magnúsdóttir. “We like to go our own way. Because there’s not a huge repertoire for a trio of this kind, in the classical repertoire, so we like to find all the pieces written for this combination, but also just make our own arrangements and even improvise music!”

Though Atli composed the pieces on his forthcoming album Stígandi to be performed by strings, drums, bass and more, they’ve been adapted to be performed on tour only by himself and Tríó Sól.

The sea inspires

Slated to be released on a yet to be decided date in the near future, Stígandi was inspired by a 1967 maritime accident in the town of Siglufjörður, where herring fishers were stranded at sea for five days after their ship (also named Stígandi) capsized. Atli’s grandfather was among those stranded. Fortunately, all the sailors were brought back to land safely.

We are playing this music based on this boat!

“I think I’m probably most excited about the concert in Siglufjörður,” Atli says of the July 13 tour stop.

“I’ve always thought this is quite a crazy story,” Sólrún adds. “And in this museum in Siglufjörður they actually have one of the boats that the fishermen floated around in. It’s going to be interesting to experience — like we are playing this music based on this boat!”

The forest inspires

Playing seaside towns in Iceland will be a far cry from one of the group’s most memorable performances to date. Atli and Sólrún both laugh while recalling the group’s attempt at recording a live session in the Danish woods, only to be completely derailed by attacking mosquitos. Some members of the string quartet fled the vampiric insects, leaving only Atli and the two violinists to complete the set.

“It was horrible,” admits Sólrún, “but then we also had the forest sounds and just the magic of the moment and we just did this one take!” The results are on YouTube, showing the three remaining musicians resting on different points of a rock, note stands blend into the trees, making incredibly beautiful music in nature.

“I think that’s at least a moment where I realised it’s definitely adaptable and can be scaled up and down,” Atli says of what that experience taught him about his music. “I think that’s actually a lot better than I had imagined.”

Friends inspire

The first stop on the Öldur tour will be at IÐNÓ’s Sumartónleikar (summer concert) event on July 11. Atli and Sólrún are both quick to shout out friend and collaborator K.óla, who planned the event. Joining them on the bill are Salóme Katrín, and Guðmundur Arnalds & Sara Flindt.

“We just wanted so much to play in Iceland,” Sólrun notes as the impetus for the tour. “We just wanted to show what we’ve been cooking!”

See Tríó Sól and Atli Arnarsson’s Öldur tour begins and ends in Reykjavík, with stops in Borgarnes, Siglufjörður and Akureyri between July 11-16. Learn more about them on Instagram (@trio.sol).

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