Into The Great Wide Open festival has a central focus on music,and it also has a varied programme of visual arts and film. One such film on the programme is Grandma Lo-Fi which is being screened at 10pm on Friday 7 September at the festival. This utterly charming film also has music as a central focus – the music made by Sigrídur Níelsdóttir in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Having made music her whole life, this Icelandic grandma (half German, half Danish, with a bit of Brazilian in there too) didn’t actually start recording any of her music until she turned 70. She released her first album in 2001 and it – along with many of the 58 (!) that followed – was recorded on tapes in her basement, often with household items used as instruments. Anything that she could lay her hands on that would make a sound and help unleash the music that was brewing inside of her could be used because, as she says, ‘I felt compelled to play’.
This documentary is about Iceland’s grandma of lo-fi pop,who inspired a generation of musicians, some of whom appear in the film including Hildur Guðnadóttir, Mugison, múm, Sin Fang, Mr Silla and Kría Brekkan paying tribute to the grandma’s irresistible tunes and charm. The film was written and directed by Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir, Orri Jónsson and Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir – all three musicians themselves – who spent 8 years developing the film, capturing the most creative time in Sigrídur Níelsdóttir’s life and realising a most inspiring cinematic treat.
Grandma Lo-Fi received its international premier at the Rotterdam film festival at the start of this year, and now it is back on Dutch soil. Just as this amazing musician was compelled to play, I hope after hearing about the film you will feel compelled to see it. You will definitely laugh, possibly cry and hopefully singalong (there is a singalong bit!) but above all I guarantee you will be inspired. It certainly is never to late to start doing what you want to do!
Into The Great Wide Open, happening from 6 to 9 September, is an event surrounded by nature where music is central but there are also visual arts, film and much more. Watch this space for the other couple of previews of Nordic-related niceness happening at the festival which are bound to delight your musical and visual taste buds.