Tag Archives: Hjálmar

Øye on Korean tour with Hjálmar in new video

Artist: Erlend Øye (and Hjálmar) | Single: Garota

The Norwegian singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer Erlend Øye presents the music video for his new single Garota. Erlend Øye is best-know for being a member of both indie folk-pop duo Kings Of Convenience and Berlin-based dance-pop project Whitest Boy Alive. But since the latter has broken up and no Kings of Convinience release is planned, Øye has been working on his solo album Legao instead. We’ve already posted the first single Fence Me In, now it’s time for single number two; Garota.

For Legao Øye has rounded up members of the legendary Icelandic reggae band Hjálmar. On Fence Me In the reggae influences were obvious with offbeat guitar and organ-shuffle. On Garota the reggae sound is more toned down, but still colored with horns and hammond in a distinctive Hjálmaresque way.

The album was recorded in Reykjavik, but the video was filmed in South Korea by director Michael Beech. The beautifully shot film documents a stadium-size show in Seoul with Erlend Øye backed up by Hjálmar, but also tells a fictional romantic story about Øye and a Korean garota, which means girl in portugese.

The album will be released October the 3rd via Bubble Records.

Reggae kings celebrate ten years with new song

Artist: Hjálmar | Song: Lof

Hugely respected, admired and loved. Hjálmar have until been one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. At home they are the great reggae kings, mixing the sounds of Jamaica with the sounds of Iceland creating a unique blend of warm, old-school reggae, sung entirely in Icelandic (so called lopapeysu-reggae = wool sweater reggae). The band consists of accomplished musicians who eagerly embrace the challenge of experimenting, while still maintaining the rehearsed, syncopated reggae grooves. 

Hjámars live performances are extremely tight, energetic, colorful and at the same time relaxed. Which is proved in this video filmed in the studio when Hjálmar recorded the brand new song Lof (Praise) in honor of the bands tenth anniversary this year.  If you like this as much as we do, then we have good news for you: Hjálmar plan to release another new song on July 1 – the International Reggae Day .

Sunny rhythms from Icelandic Idol Anna Hlín

Artist: Anna Hlín | Single: Everybody´s saying

Sit back, relax and sip your lemonade. Anna Hlín delivers this sunny and happy crossover reggae-pop-tune in perfect time for the summer. Everybody´s saying is made in the fine tradition of the Icelandic reggae scene, where bands like Hjálmar and Ojba Rasta has paved the way. 

Anna Hlín finished second in the 2009 Icelandic Idol. Now she lives in Norway, recording and producing music for others and herself. She has released two albums Kaerleikur and All Souled Out and is hard at work recording her new album that she hopes will be finished next year. We´re looking forward to hearing the result…

Icytopics Interview: bird

“I already have enough material to put on at least three full-length albums…”, Jón Valur Guðmundsson

A fantastic voice appeared online. Seemingly out of nowhere. The melancholy but catchy pop song had verses built around a minimalistic synthesizer loop. The beautiful and ethereal refrain urged us to “go back”. And we sure did. Go Back by Bird has been playing on repeat ever since. After some research we found out that this was the first solo-release from Bird or Jón Valur Guðmundsson, a 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Iceland. But we wanted to find out more. The result: Icytopics first interview ever…

Thanks for a great song. I discovered Bird via Hjálmar’s Facebook page, but can’t find much information about you. What is Bird? 

“Bird is basically just a one-man project, for now. I play several instruments and I play all the music myself. I’ve played different instruments in many bands through the years from a very young age. Between projects I found that I have written so many songs now that I just have to get them out of my system before they turn to dust. The name Bird comes from my second name, Valur, which in direct English translates as gyrfalcon – a type of bird. I’ve always been very fond of birds as symbols when I think about it. I even have two older brothers that are also named after birds of prey.”

What are your plans for the project?

“My plan was to just start with this one single, Go Back, and see how things developed. I’m planning to work further on my first solo album this year. I already have enough material to put on at least three full-length albums, so now I’m taking some time to carefully choose and re-arrange some of the songs that might be best fitting for this project. By the beginning of summer, I hope to have put together a band to back me up live and start playing some shows. I don’t plan on releasing the album until probably late this year or early 2015, if it all falls into place.”

You played drums in Who Knew, a fantastically talented band. What happened with that?

“Who Knew ended so suddenly for all of us; like a band-aid that was ripped off. It was so quick and quiet that I sometimes feel as if the whole thing was just a lucid dream. I think our last gig was at Iceland Airwaves 2012, for the KEXP radio station, without us even realizing it. Thankfully, that moment was recorded and can be found online for everyone to see. At that time we just had finished two or three years of traveling and touring and soon after Airwaves a couple of the guys in the band wanted to take a step back and leave the music scene, for a while at least. The rest of us gave it a bit of time, to let everyone finish school, and allowed our minds to wonder off a bit. We always thought we would just start playing again but that was somehow harder than we thought, so we just went our separate ways. But we are all still very good friends and meet up regularly. So that was that, really.” •

Hjálmar + Erlend Oye = True

Hjálmar are a household name on the Icelandic music scene. They’ve been playing old school reggae – sung entirely in Icelandic – for ten years now, winning loads of loyal fans, critical acclaim and music awards along the way.

Last year they spent some time in the studio with Erlend Oye from Kings of Convinience, working on his solo album Legao that will be released this year. To kick off this project they performed at By:Larm in Oslo this weekend.

Hjálmar are no strangers to  collaborations with Nordic music colleagues. In 2008 they had a home turf hit with Dom hinner aldrig ifatt, which they recorded together with Swedish rapper Timbuktu. And in 2011 they started working with Finish multmusician Jimi Tenor, firstly on a single called Messenger of Bad News and last year they released a whole album – Dub of Doom. 

Great stuff most of it! Unfortunately Fence Me In is the least convincing of all these collaborations, it simply sounds a bit pale and weary in comparison. But sure hope that the rest of Legao will surprise us. We’ll keep tuned and report more about it. Promise.