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Emiliana steals the show

As you’ve probably seen, I’m turning out to be quite rubbish at the headlines thing. Putting them up in the sidebar every day just felt too binding, and – as it turns out – so does putting them in a post every day. Because some days I just don’t feel like blogging about headlines, I feel like blogging about inane stuff like googlies or the sleeping man in Room 13 at the Hotel Highland, or the superexcellent Yule Platter at Jómfrúin [where we went last night *swoon*] …

OR!!

Emiliana Torrini’s latest CD Me and Armini which I have just downloaded and listened to [it actually came out in September – I am so behind] and which has totally flung my eyes open as to Emiliana’s exceptional talents. Like most Icelanders I have followed her career since she started out about 14 years ago playing a flower child in a stage version of Hair at the Icelandic Opera, and have seen her grow from record to record. However, with this one she has moved forward in leaps and bounds from the last one, Fisherman’s Woman, which I gushed about a couple of years ago. I thought that one was very good and still do, but it’s a lot more mellow [her boyfriend was killed in a freak accident in New York City and this was her method of processing her loss] than Me and Armini, which is just a rollercoaster ride of styles and beats and rhythms and joie de vivre, all underpinned by her beautiful vocals. It’s very rare that a record captivates me on the very first listen, but with this one it felt like my head was Reykjavík on New Year’s Eve and the sounds were the firecrackers going off at midnight. In other words: va va voom!! So if you’re stuck for a Christmas prezzie, or just want to treat yourself, that one comes highly recommended.

IT JUST KEEPS SNOWING AND SNOWING AND SNOWING AND
It’s all just too beautiful. Seriously, I don’t think we’ve had it this gorgeous in December for years and years. The layer of snow keeps thickening and now most of the coloured lights are sort of enveloped by it and cast a hue on the white crystals all around. Sooo beautiful. Alas, it is not to last – apparently we’re in for rain on Christmas Eve. Sniff. Right now it’s -2°C [28F]. The sun came up at 11:21 am, set at 3:29 pm. Two more days until the solstice!

PS – Víkingsson [a.k.a. Don S.] is doing an excellent job of describing the Yule Lads in daily installments over on the Facebook group site. Check it out!

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  • Sandra in BC December 20, 2008, 2:40 am

    Wow. It’s actually colder where I am HERE than in Iceland. 🙂 We’re not used to sub-zero temperatures and snow that sticks around for more than a day.

    Love your blog. Not sure how I found it but I check in daily now!

  • coffee drinking woman December 20, 2008, 4:46 am

    The Yule lads! I’m off to Facebook to find the Yule lads!

    (thanks for the music tip!)

  • Gogmagog December 20, 2008, 8:28 am

    Don’t worry so much about the headlines Alda. Part of the reason your blog is so interesting is that it is written from the perspective of a normal person. We can get English language news from other places, but we English speakers can only get the opinions of regular Icelanders from a handful of places.

    Don’t get blogging burnout trying to perform for us. Just do what comes naturally.

  • hildigunnur December 20, 2008, 10:24 am

    Wasn’t it even Emilíana who sang Á íslensku má alltaf finna svar, in that commercial, ages ago, she can’t have been much more than 13? Got her musical education start in Skólakór Kársness, at least, they’re really proud of her 🙂

  • Lee, UK December 20, 2008, 1:34 pm

    “if we join the EU the member states will join forces, come over here, and gang rape us”
    They also burn down your towns, enslave your children, and eat your pets! That’s why Britons remain eurosceptic…

  • Vikingisson December 20, 2008, 2:27 pm

    Thanks for mention Alda. I hope that the Facebook page gets some activity. I’m new to that kind of site. I’ve been running the Yula Lads on my site each each year, this year I’m reordering the series instead of republishing them. I’m not sure which method I like better but those crazy lads are a riot.

    I can almost see the glowing snow you describe. We’re having the same lovely scene over here in Kanada. We just had the 1st 28cms (just under 1 foot) of a 3 storm series. The last time this happened we ended up with about 88cms (almost 3 feet) over one week. B.C. is indeed colder than normal. The prairies (and those West Icelanders) are under brutal cold. Us wimpy Easterners are in a deep freeze and buried under snow. Perfect.

    Sorry to hear about the big melt you’ll get for xmas. Safe to say that I’ll have a very white xmas over here. I’ll have to check out the new Emiliana, her voice is amazing and I might like the new styles.

  • Ann December 20, 2008, 4:32 pm

    Yes, thank you for the reminder on the Facebook! Going over to read about the Yule Lads. We have been laughing about the Yule Cat here at our house ever since I read your older past from previous years just a few weeks back. We got socks for our kids this year and are telling our kids (15 and 19) that it’s just for insurance. 🙂

  • Sólveig December 20, 2008, 6:40 pm

    I don’t think Emilíana Torrini was the one who did Á íslensku má alltaf finna svar… that was a blonde one?

    Have been a fan of her since her first album (and the previous Hár performance) and am really liking what I have of Me and Armini so far.

    And I am LOVING the christmas snow… I don’t want it to go 🙁

  • Annie Rhiannon December 20, 2008, 8:04 pm

    I can’t bear listening to Fisherman’s Woman knowing it’s about her bf being killed. It’s too much! Instead I like to pretend she just got dumped like all the other popstars sing about.

  • Charlie December 20, 2008, 10:21 pm

    Bjork’s rendition of “Jólakötturinn” is available for free (legal) download at Bad Taste Records website. (http://www.smekkleysa.net). (Click on the link for December 13).

  • Ljósmynd DE December 20, 2008, 10:38 pm

    It’s good to read something uplifting for a change after the overdose of bad news from almost everywhere. So, don’t feel compelled to stick to the headlines, if there are other things to write about.

    I hope, Skyrgámur hasn’t finished off the Skyr, I had stored in my fridge from my recent visit to Iceland. I always wonder, why they don’t export it.

  • alda December 21, 2008, 12:06 am

    Charlie – THANK YOU for providing that link! I was just saying to EPI today that it’s one Christmas song I’d like to download. I totally LOVE it. And for anyone else who is interested – it’s a traditional Icelandic Yule song about the terrible Yule Cat, sung in an inimitable way by Björk.

    And thanks everyone else for your input, too.

  • alda December 21, 2008, 12:58 am

    Uh … Charlie? I tried that download and all it did was open the song as an mp3 file on a page – it didn’t download it. Did you manage to?

  • namme December 21, 2008, 1:10 am

    Right Click and save target as.

  • alda December 21, 2008, 12:50 pm

    Nope. It doesn’t even give me that option.

  • Charlie December 21, 2008, 2:14 pm

    What options do you get when you right-click? I downloaded it using Firefox on a Windows-based computer. Just right click over the ‘Saekja lag’ link, and select “Save Link As…”.

  • Marc Scot December 21, 2008, 2:59 pm

    Currently in Quebec, and in the middle of one major-large snowstorm. Seriously, all you can see is white outside! Thanks for the music info.

  • Rozanne December 21, 2008, 4:50 pm

    Sounds like SAB again. Portland is (very atypically) buried under at least 8 inches of snow, and freezing rain is in the forecast. It is pretty, but we don’t have many snow plows, so walking, skiing, and sledding are the main transportation options. I love it.

  • Grif December 21, 2008, 6:43 pm

    As the others said, do what you feel like doing. It’s not like we’re subscribing to this site 😉
    Besides, if anything, putting them in as a post makes it less noticeable you didn’t post new headlines as they don’t show in the side bar together with the date.

    The song ‘Jólakötturinn’ is really nice indeed. Still have big problems understanding the lyrics (as in almost don’t understand anything) … Should pick up my Icelandic course again, but lacking the time at the moment.
    If you keep having problems with the link, I can send it to you by email if needed.

  • Andrew December 22, 2008, 1:51 am

    One by-product of the economic situation is the boost to Icelandic music, as mentioned in this article:

    For richer, for poorer: the struggle to survive after banking collapse.
    Icelanders facing soaring prices consider leaving country as debts stack up.
    Valur Gunnarsson in Reykjavik
    The Guardian, Monday 22 December 2008

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/22/iceland-recession-banking-collapse

    However, the collapse of the krona may be good for Icelandic music. The weak krona makes it too expensive to import anything but the most surefire sellable albums, says Kiddi Krisjansson in the Bad Taste Music Store. Guns’n’Roses fans were exasperated when, having waited 15 years for the new album, they had to wait even longer for it to appear in Iceland’s stores.

    Sales have held up, Krisjansson says, but mostly because tourists with hard currency are eagerly snapping up merchandise which has become so much cheaper for them. Icelanders are settling for listening to Björk and other local acts. “Icelanders are buying more local music. The musicians here are happy. It will be an Icelandic Christmas,” he adds.

  • Dietmar December 22, 2008, 3:28 am

    @Charlie.
    Here is one you may enjoy –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNN7SHf3wR4

    What is it about cats and paper bags!

  • MAJA December 22, 2008, 7:30 am

    I downloaded Me and Armini about a month ago and have been loving it too. So many good songs!

  • James January 2, 2009, 3:07 pm

    I picked up Emiliana’s CD when I was in Iceland in September and have been loving it ever since. Iceland is a music-lover’s paradise!