Artist: Jón Jónsson | Single: Ljúft Að Vera Til
Verslunarmannahelgi (Shopkeeper’s holiday) in August is the one of the biggest travel weekends of the year. Many Icelanders take advantage of the extra free day given on Monday and visit their cabin in the country-side, spend the days with their family or visit a festival. Vestmannaeyjar (The Westman Islands) are famed in Iceland for their major annual festival, Þjóðhátíð (National Festival), which attracts thousands of people. The festival was originally held in 1874 when the inhabitants were unable, due to bad weather, to attend the celebration of Iceland’s first constitution. Instead, they held their own party, which has been reprised every year since and has become the country’s biggest outdoor festival.
Locals and guests gather in Herjólfsdalur valley on the island of Heimaey, for four days of various events, most prominently big stage concerts, bonfires, fireworks shows and the festival’s signature Sunday night crowd singing. The crowd singing is the single event of the weekend which draws the most attendees. Approximately 15,000-20,000 people attend the festival every year.
Every year a special Þjóðhátíð song is made for the festival. This year, the honour went to Jón Jónsson. The song is called Ljúft Að Vera Til, which translates to Delightful to exist. In an interview with Pressan, he says, “The aim was to make a song that people could easily learn and sing. Something that was light and summery and easy to sing along to and play on the guitar. A song people easily can pick up and sing in their tents out there on the islands.”
Jón Jónsson is signed to Epic Records, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. He was discovered by Bryant Reid, responsible for finding the Grammy award winning artist Usher amongst others. His music is a mixture of pop, bluesy background, and soulful acoustic guitar. Jónsson´s first four singles were in the top 30 on Iceland music charts and his songs are heard in regular rotation on radio. Most of them have reached top 10 on radio as well as the Icelandic Billboard. Guess what? We predict that this one also is going to join the ranks of successful Jón Jónsson singles!