Icelandic Hymn Goes Viral - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Hymn Goes Viral

Published October 15, 2013

Foreign media finally caught up with the rest of us when The Telegraph and Huffington Post discovered Árstíðir’s YouTube video of the band’s impromptu performance at a German train station.

The video went viral in Iceland a few weeks ago and had received 327.000 views when The Telegraph posted the video on Monday, followed shortly after by a post in Huffpost Arts & Culture section.

By the time this is written, the video has been viewed 416.806 times on YouTube.

Árstíðir is a vocal based acoustic band, branded Indie-folk group on The Telegraph but often also referred to as chamber pop group, and will perform at this year’s Airwaves.

The video shows the band members bursting into hymn ‘Heyr himna smiður’ (Hear, heavenly Creator) while waiting for a train after a gig in Wuppertal.

And as everybody knows, the acoustic in most train stations creates an otherworldly atmosphere for music, especially hymns such as this one.

The hymn was written by Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208) but the song to accompany it was written over 700 years later by composer Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson, who died earlier this year. Heyr himna smiður is his best known work and a very popular hymn in Iceland.


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