Thousands of music lovers – fans and industry professionals alike – will soon descend on Groningen for the start of Eurosonic 2015. With the festival’s focus-country this year being Iceland, this means a bunch of artists (19 to be exact) from the land of fire and ice will also be arriving in the Netherlands. We await their arrival with excitement, and so it bubbles over into this article.
We write about Iceland a lot on this site (or at least I do; I have attempted to analyse this, see here), but we make no excuses for this, as there is a lot of good music to write about coming out of that far-flung northern island – including acts we featured recently, from Árstíðir and Júníus Meyvant to Low Roar and Rökkurró, who will all play at Eurosonic – yet there is still so much more to discover. For now, we wanted to share some of the upcoming itineraries of some of the Icelandic bands on their sojourn to the Netherlands. Following on from Eurosonic, a number of the Icelandic bands will also entertain crowds in a various other Dutch cities, heading to Amsterdam, Utrecht and Gouda before the week is out.
- Iceland Erupts At Eurosonic
Various venues, Groningen14–16 January
Under the banner of Iceland Erupts, a whole range of events have been planned by Iceland Music Export in Groningen – from the opening Eurosonic opening party on the Wednesday night, industry panels (including stalwart Icelandic music ambassador Kevin Cole of Seattle radio station KEXP and Einar Örn Benediktsson co-founder of The Sugarcubes) and a networking reception at Stadsschouwburg where Júníus Meyvant will perform, as well as a pop-up Icelandic market and record store. Then of course there’s the numerous official performances that will take part as part of the festival proper (see the artists’ schedule on the Iceland Erupts website here). Out of the bands playing, we have made a short selection of artists (whose releases have not yet been featured in-detail on our site) for your listening pleasure:
Who: award-winning composer Ólafur Arnalds and Faroese musical collaborator Janus Rasmussen (also of Icelandic electro-pop outfit Bloodgroup)
What: organic, ambient sounds and melodic techno
When: self-titled album was released on 27 October 2015 by Erased Tapes Records.
Who: Hörður Már Bjarnason, an Icelandic solo artist whose tenor vocals overlay his blend of music combining beat-driven nu-electronica
What: atmospheric, captivating and dreamy
When: debut LP, Haust (translation: ‘autumn’), is a collection of eight tracks, that was released in November 2014 by Projekta.
Who: multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Björn Ólafsson, who has played with such Icelandic artist as Sigur Rós, Emiliana Torrini, múm, Jóhann Jóhannsson and many more
What: mysterious isolation summed up in cinematic soundscapes
When: on 14 November 2014, he released his debut solo album Innhverfi (which is a made-up title but comes from the words for ‘suburbs’ and ‘introvert’) on the Morr Music label.
Who: evolving producer/musician Anton Kaldal Ágústsson
What: using a mix of electronics and organic instruments to create emotional and ambient sounds that are strong yet minimalist and intricate
When: the first single ‘Until We Meet Again (feat. Shipsi)’ was released on 18 November 2014 (on the Atomnation label), with the debut album Snapshots to be released on 2 February 2015.
- Sóley and Low Roar
Friday 16 January
(tickets available here)
We are delighted that Sóley Stefánsdóttir, better known as Sóley, is back on Dutch soil again (the last time was in 2012). With her gorgeous ambient sounds, with looping and sonic effects, she has been busy of late – not only releasing her Krómantik EP in 2014 (on Morr Music), she also has her second full-length album due out this year. On the Amsterdam bill also is Low Roar. The band was here not so long ago of course, and it is great to see them back again so soon following on from the successful appearance at Crossing Border festival in The Hague in November 2014. This trip sees Ryan Karazija, Leifur Björnsson and Logi Guðmundsson playing their two shows at Eurosonic, this date in Amsterdam and a final Dutch date (for now) at the Nordic Delight night in Utrecht, before heading off on a tour around Europe.
- Fufanu, Low Roar and Valdimar at Nordic Delight Icelandic Night
Saturday 17 January
(tickets available here)
Following my ‘discoveries’ of 2014 (see here), it goes without saying that I am super excited to see Fufanu at the Nordic Delight night. Along with my long-time favourites Low Roar and new-to-my-ears Valdimar, this special edition by the Nordic Delight team focuses on Iceland, with a number of Icelandic films being shown at the event also, and no doubt some other Icelandic treats in store too. How is this not sold out yet? It might be on the cusp though… so I’ve heard … so you best be quick buying your ticket.
- Rökkurró at So What Festival
Podium Info, Gouda
Sunday 18 January
(tickets available here)
And last, but not least is Rökkurró, the band who has the pleasure of closing this Icelandic tour of the Netherlands on Sunday 18 January in Gouda. This will be the first time that anyone on Dutch soil (outside of the Eurosonic realm) will have the chance to hear the ever-so-lovely six-piece playing any of the tracks from the recent album Innra. Grab this chance, I say – as there couldn’t be such a lovely end to this Icelandic-flavoured week!
Some of the Nordic Vibes team will be at some of these events – if you are going too, we hope to bump into you! In the meantime, here is a mellow mixtape we made of a selection of these bands. Enjoy!