Logi Pedro’s second album ‘Undir bláu tungli,’ meaning ‘Under the blue moon,’ is being released today, RÚV reports. It has been in production for two years, with its first songs written in the autumn of 2018, soon after the release of Logi’s first album. At that time, he traveled to Sierra Leone in western Africa to work on a recording project with local, British, and other Icelandic artists.
He returned to Sierra Leone during the summer of 2019 to play at a music festival. “I recorded several songs on the album during the second trip,” says Logi. “Though not all of the album was produced then, that period of time had a huge influence on it, as well as the African pop music that I got to know while I was there.” Among this music was that of Nigerian singer Burna Boy, one of the biggest names on the Afro Pop scene. “I thought the music was awesome, it felt like I was listening to something new and exciting, at a time at which it had been several years since I’d heard something new and exciting.”
Logi says that his first album ‘Litlir svartar strákar,’ meaning ‘Little Black boys,’ was more like a mixtape compared to the new one. “At the same time, there are some verses on the album that are like diary entries. It’s not a retrospective, rather it’s done in the present, one is like an open wound. Much has changed in the two years that have passed since then. I feel like I fit better in this album. In the last one I was still establishing the essence of my art and introduce myself as a solo musician. Now I feel much more secure in what I want to do.” One song on the album is dedicated to Logi’s mother, who is from Angola.
“I started to put my mother’s story in the context of current events in the United States and the Black Lives Matter movement.” He says the main topics of the album are what it’s like to be black in Iceland, origins, daily life, and conflict. “The lyrics don’t always refer to these topics very directly, they are just based on them.” In the last song of the album, entitled ‘Reykjavík,’ Logi sings to his son, as well as about a loss that took place before his birth. “We went through a miscarriage. But then of course my son Bjartur was born, and that is a gift from God.”
20,000 Copies Sold
According to Logi, the album represents his own life and identity first and foremost. “[What it means to] be Icelandic and also African. The album is trying to encapsulate this by using African music and Icelandic lyrics to create space for that experience.” He says that he has often felt like an outsider, but that in recent years he has gained a great deal of confidence in his own identity. “I’ve been making music for a long time, but it’s still difficult and complex. I had the experience of releasing my first album in 2008, and since then I’ve sold 20,000 physical copies of it here in Iceland. That won’t ever happen again.”
The album contains quite a lot of references to Icelandic pop culture. “I moved to Iceland in 1995, and missed out on lot of Icelandic pop culture. The first Icelandic music I really listened to was rap, Rottweiler-hundar and all that, and Laddi.” He says that in recent years he’s been purposefully reading and watching content by black artists, such as the work of Spike Lee, whom he quotes in the song ‘Um Da Tímann ´N Da Vatnið.’ “Also ‘Malcolm X’ is one of the best films I’ve ever seen; it doesn’t get nearly enough praise.”
Starting School In The Fall
Logi affirms that it is hugely important to increase the visibility of Icelandic people of color, and says that it’s been quite hurtful to see Pétur Jóhann’s racist jokes. As reported, the comedian has come under fire multiple times for racist acts, one such occasion being when he dressed in yellowface as an Asian game show host with “makeup designed to pull back the ends of his eyes” and speaking broken English in a “very heavily affected generalised Asian accent.” He sparked controversy again in June this year, when an Instagram video from fitness star Egill Einarsson’s birthday party went viral in which the comedian is seen doing a deeply racist, stereotypical, strongly accented, and overtly sexual impression of an Asian woman to the amusement of other guests. The video, posted on the University of Iceland’s School of Education teaching assistant and activist Sema Erla Serdar’s Facebook page, is aptly and poignantly denounced as “an excellent example of white, middle-aged Icelandic men who truly believe that prejudice and racism don’t exist in Iceland, and understand none of this.”
It was also greatly criticised by Díana Katrín Þorsteinsdóttir, who is half Icelandic and half Thai, and published an IGTV video on her Instagram page in which she spoke openly and candidly about her struggles against racism and prejudice growing up in Iceland as an Asian woman, and her deep frustration at the extent to which they persist in Icelandic society.
“In their Iceland there is no Asian woman; they don’t feel like they’re hurting anyone because there’s no such person in their lives,” says Logi. “But in my life there are many such people; I believe this has been the spark. Reminder that my Iceland is colourful. I believe there are a great many Icelanders who live in the same Iceland as I do, but also a great many who live in some other, completely different Iceland.”
Logi says it’s hard to say what will follow the album release, due to the newly tightened gathering restrictions. “I’m going to start by going to school; take a break from the company and enroll in product design at the University of the Arts.”
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!