Music You Should Know About: Iceland Jeremy Williams-Chalmers 17 Sep 2014 Music Iceland. With an affinity for folk music, Iceland’s music growth is well-documented. However, it was not until the arrival of The Sugarcubes, and more notably the solo explosion of Björk that the world music industry started to delve deeper into what the country’s music scene had to offer. Amongst the acts uncovered and now celebrated internationally are Emiliana Torrini, Sigur Rós, Múm and cousins Ólöf and Ólafur Arnalds. However, here at So So Gay we feel the country still has more home grown talent that we need to be celebrating. Given that it would be impossible to offer insight in to every Icelandic act that we love, we have pieced together ten acts that we think you need to check out. Ásgeir The word phenomenon is an understatement when it comes to 22 year old Laugarbakki born Ásgeir. Having released his debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, back in 2012, something clicked with the Icelandic population, who fell in love with his effortlessly emotive compositions. Dýrð í dauðaþögn soared up the charts, with historic record sales leading to it become the biggest selling debut album ever in the history of Iceland. Outselling Björk’s Debut on home turf is something to scream from the rooftops about, but thankfully the modest musician has instead quietly worked with John Grant to create an English translation, In The Silence, which will ensure that Ásgeir is set to be something of an international icon. In The Silence is available now from Amazon and iTunes. Kiriyama Family Hailing from the South East of Iceland, the members of Kiriyama Family have been experimenting with sounds since they were very young. However, in 2008 they decided to stop bouncing from one band to another and set out to conquer as the unified Kiriyama Family. While they may have made the decision to unify in 2008, it was not until 2010 that the current line-up was finalised. Within two years the band had created their explosive retro-tinged, synth-driven eponymous debut. With their live shows hailed as some of the finest Iceland have ever seen, the band have just revealed their first post-debut single, ‘Apart’, but this time they have international intentions. Kiriyama Family is available now from Amazon. Mammút Quintet Mammút first gained notoriety in Iceland when they won Músiktilraunir in 2004, a huge battle of the bands. As a result the group found themselves snapped up by The Sugarcubes’ record label Smekkleysa, releasing their eponymous debut just two years later. Although successful, it was not until they released the single ‘Svefnsýkt’ in 2008 that they became big time players. An irresistible radio hit, it paved the way for a Best Band nomination at the Icelandic Music Awards. Despite this success, the band went quiet for five years, before returning last year with the phenomenal Komdu til mín svarta systir, which is a record collection must-have. Komdu til mín svarta systir is available from Record Records. Vök Reykjavik based trio Vök are relatively new names on the Icelandic music scene, having only formed in February 2013. However, the determined trio have wasted very little time in establishing their distinctive breed of dreamy electro pop in the hearts of the Icelandic public. Armed with the stunning EP Tension, the trio immediately proved that they were a musical force to reckoned with. From vocalist Margrét Rán’s wanting vocal through to the harmonious battle between Andri Már’s sax and Ólafur Alexander’s guitar, Vök are destined for greatness. Tensions is available now from Record Records. Samaris Otherwordly trio Samaris released their sophomore collection Silkidrangar earlier this year. The collection epitomised everything so flawlessly perfect about the Icelandic music world. With a real love for their own musical heritage, Samaris set about building the bridge between the folk poetry of the nineteenth century and partnered those words with their own enchanting melodies. Magical does not even come close! Silkidrangar is available now from Amazon and iTunes. Continue to page two for more artists and a chance to enter our exclusive competition.