Icelandic music

The music scene in Iceland is very colourful and tasty. There is a lot of interesting stuff going on; Lots of ambitious musicians, bands and music festivals. Some of them are well known outside of Iceland, for example: Björk, Sigurrós and Of Monsters and Men.

Fimmundasöngur is a traditional form of music and people used to sing in the old days. The lyrics are often rhymes or some poems. One, or many sing the melody of the song, and others sing the same melody, but fifth above. It sounds really strange. Here’s an  example of fimmundasöngur.

Music has always been very important in Iceland. There are a lot of singers and groups in the country and many of them are also famous abroad. Here are some examples:

bjorkBjörk – She is probably the best known Icelandic musician now. Her carrier started at age 12, when she released her first album called Björk. Then the ball began to roll and she quickly climbed the ladder of success. She performed with various groups in the 80’s and 90’s playing all kinds of music. Besides from being a greatly respected and well known for her solo work,  she’s also known for her contribute in bands such as Tappi Tíkarrass, KUKL og Sykurmolarnir
(the Sugarcubes). This song is one of Björk’s most famous.

Sigurrós – The band was founded around 1994 and has released 7 studio albums since. They’re known worldwide for their peculiar and interesting style. They play the guitar with cello-bow and use falsetto vocals to create slow songs with an ambient feel. Here is an example of what they sound like.

Of_Monsters_and_MenOf monsters and men – This group is rising stars. The band won the Icelandic “battle of the bands” in 2010 and has been on its way to fame and fortune since. They are mostly known for their 2011 hit song called “Little talks”. They have appeared in variety of TV shows, movies, etc.


Skálmöld – This group was founded in 2009 by a few members of the Icelandic metal scene. After their first album release in 2010 the band began to recieve attention for their extremely well written lyrics.  Their music is like a mixture of the old scandinavian folk music and face-melting heavy metal. They have released 3 studio albums since the beginning of their career. Here is an example of what they sound like!

There are a few music festivals in Iceland every year. The most famous is Iceland airwaves which is an annual music festival that spans 5 days. It takes place in Reykjavík and its Iceland’s biggest music festival. The main sponsors of the festival are Icelandair and the city of Reykjavík. The main focus of the festival is to present all kinds of new and interesting music.

Eistnaflug Is an annual music festival in east of Iceland. The theme of the festival is mostly heavy metal music, but you can also hear some other interesting kinds of music there (hard-core, punk and indie) . The festival started in 2005 as a small festival for only heavy metal bands. Now it has grown into a 5 days fest and it gets bigger every year. The most remarkable thing about Eistnaflug (or Flying balls) is the extremely friendly atmosphere. It’s like a big family reunion.

harpanHarpa is a concert hall and a conference centre in Reykjavík. The building is only a part of a larger project that originally was intended to be a hotel, business centre and a mall, but that was cancelled because of the economic crisis in 2008. The building was designed by the Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects in co-operation with Danish-Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson.
The Icelandic symphony orchestra and the Icelandic opera are housed in Harpa. Lots of world known artists have performed in Harpa. For example;  Stevie Vai, Nile Rodgers, Neil Young.

Written by Þorkell Ragnar

Presentation about Icelandic music


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