Icelandic music and music festivals

The history of Icelandi music
Throughout the centuries Icelandic music consisted mostly of singing but it wasn´t until about 1930 that music evolved into what it is today. There are few resourses that can tell about music life during the first centuries of the icelandic settlement. Many european slaves came with the Icelandic vikings to the country in first years of settlement and researches say that the people brought their music culture with them. Furthermore, music was part of the education of learned people.

Folk songs
Iceland has a precious collection of folk music that was preserved  among the common people thru long and often difficult centuries. Isolation of the society led to this priceless cultural heritage moved between generations virtually unchanged and individual characteristics strong and independent. Folk music and poems were sung at farms and homes as a way to tell story´s and to scare people because some of those poems were really scary and people believed those story´s.

Rima is a type of traditional Icelandic poetry. Rhymes are performed under specific culture practices, and each verse usually consist of several poems. Subjects matters are often stories of heroes, love stories, prose or adventure. Each rhyme is written in the same meter. Some ballads started as  drinking songs a long time ago and are well known today.


One thousand men sing together in Harpa concert hall.

There are many choirs in Iceland both male, female and mixed ones. Church choir is a very common thing in Iceland, in fact in almost every town in Iceland there are some kind of choirs. Choir culture in Iceland has had a big impact on the Icelandic music culture. Choirs have been active in Iceland for a long time, and over that time they have evolved into the Choirs they are today.
In Höfn, there are 7 active choirs, all from young children to elderly people.

Icelandic musicians
Bubbi Morthens:  is probably  the most known musician in Iceland and has become a legend in the Icelandic music history thru the years. He started in a punk band that was called Utangarðsmenn. After Utangarðsmenn he started a rock band called Egó. Outside Egó he has published many solo albums.

Megas: Magnús Þór Jónsson is a rock and roll singer and songwriter, and writer who is well known in Iceland. He is one of the most famous artist of Iceland and has become a legend in the music history of the country.

Known musicians abroad
Sigur Rós: is an Icelandic post-rock band from. They have been active since 1994 and have been known for their sweet sound. The band became popular after their first hit Von brigði won a record deal and soon made their first album which made them famous not only in Iceland but also worldwide.

Of Monsters and Man:  is a five-member indie folk-pop band from Iceland, formed in 2010. The band won the Músíktilraunir in 2010 which is an annual battle of the bands competition in Iceland since then are becoming one of the biggest bands in the indie folk industrie.



Björk: is one of our most famous artist of all time. She is a singer, songwriter and actress. During her 40 year career she has developed an eclectic musical style that draws on a wide range of music styles. Such as electronic, pop, experimental and trip hop.

Music festivals
There are many music festivals  in Iceland which are getting bigger and bigger every year and are starting to attract more people from foreign countries. over the last decade festivals been getting more popular than ever and is playing a big part in Icelandic culture.

Iceland Airwaves:
Airwaves is an annual music festival held in Reykjavík.  The festival is a five days program and its main focus is showcasing and introducing new music both Icelandic and international. The first Airwaves was held in 1999 and since then it has become bigger and bigger and is now one of the biggest music festival in Iceland.

Is a metal festival in Iceland held annually in the second weekend of July each year. It started in the summer 2005 and has been increasing since then. It takes place in a small town on the Eastern coast of Iceland, Neskaupstaður.

Secret Solstice:
Secret Solstice is a big music festival in Iceland and takes place from the 16th to the 19th of June and is held in in Reykjavík. The festival has a multi genre lineup, all from electronic, indie to urban and folk music. It started in 2014 and since then it has been increasing the last two years.


Harpa concert hall

Harpa concert hall is the biggest concert hall that has been build in Iceland and an conference centre as well, located in Reykjavík. Harpa was designed by Henning Larsen in co-operation with Ólafur Elíasson, it was completed in December 2009. Many famous artists have held concerts in Harpa. Harpa is the home of the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and is also one of the most famous places people like to visit in Iceland.

Written by Ágúst Máni and Ísar Svan

Presentation about Icelandic music