Iceland has it’s own special music, which includes vibrant folk and pop tunes and has a very long tradition. The music doesn’t resemble any other music of European countries or around the world. Actually it’s related to Nordic music form; some of today’s songs that are still sung in the country are dating from the 14th century.
The traditional music of the country has a religious character. For example, during the 17th century there have been written a wide range of songs and the most popular would be Hallgrimur Petursson’s Protestant hymns. Folk songs talk about love, winters, sailors, elves, trolls, as well as other mythological creatures. All this kind of local music was later modernized.
Bjork: the most famous Icelandic artist
Even though the country has a small population in relation to other European countries, it includes many bands and famous artists, ranging from indie, pop rock to electronic music. The most famous artist in the country is the composer and eclectic singer Bjork, who has sole over 15 million albums all over the world and has also received 13 Grammy nominations.
She is considered to be the most popular musician in her country and one of the most influential modern artists. Her musical style has been described as eclectic and has ranged from jazz, alternative and electronic to classical. She initially became known as the lead singer of the famous rock band The Sugarcubes. Her sound is unique, while she is still continually experimenting and pushing her musical boundaries.
Other Icelandic Important Artists
Daniel Aust Haraldsson is another important artist in his country. He is a solo artist, who has made a great career as a lead singer of the bands GusGus, Esja and Nydonsk. Moreover, he has been part of the local and internations music scene for 20 years, since he started his career in the country. Emiliana Torrini is another a well known singer in Iceland.
Best known for the single ‘Jungle Drum’ (2009)from her album ‘me and Armini is well known abroad and reached No.1 in the Austrian, German and Icelandic single charts. Her latest album Tookah was released in 2013. Other great Icelandic artists are Eirikur Hauksson (heavy metal vocalist), Bubbi Morthens (singer and songwriter), Hera (songwriter, who now lives in New Zealand), Mugison and Asgeir Trausti among many others.
The most well known bands in the country
Sigur Ross is a post-rock band group from Reykjavik, which has been active in the music scene the last 15 years. The members of the band are best known for their ethereal sound, Jonsi Brigsson’s falsetto vocals, as well as the use of bowed guitar. In addition they incorporate into their music classical and minimalist aesthetic elements.
They have participated in a number of large festivals in Europe and in the United States of America. The band has been named after Sigurros Elin, the sister of Jonsi. In addition, the metal band Solstafir is another important band in the country and around the world. The Viking metal band, by the name Skalmold, played two shows with the Icelandic symphony orchestra in 2013 that were sold out.
Icelandic music Festivals
The country hosts many music festivals annually. The most recognized one is Iceland Airwaves, which is in the music scene since 1990. This festival showcases the local rock, pop and electro music scene along with a number of international acts. It takes place every October and usually hosts more than 9.000 guests from all over the world.