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Sleepy gypsies

It’s become a trend: every time there’s a long weekend here in Iceland, somebody organizes a music festival. This weekend was no exception and we saw the first-ever world music festival, entitled Rites of Spring, featuring excellent world music both domestic and imported.

To that end, EPI and I headed down to NASA last night to catch a glimpse of a ‘gypsy rockabilly’ band called KAL, which reportedly tops the UK world music charts as we speak. They were excellent. I was in absolute awe. Their musicianship, rhythm, humour, and – not least – their supreme coolness. One accordion player in particular was fantastic, playing the most gorgeous instrument with amazing skill [I’ve never quite managed to fathom how people can learn to play the accordion anyway – all those buttons] – while he just sat there cool as a cucumber with this zen-like expression on his face, while his hand just flew back and forth the board in this exceedingly complex orchestration of button-pressing, looking as though he’d been doing this since before he was born, as natural to him as drinking water.

They absolutely drove the crowd wild and I swear that rarely have I seen a band have such a great time onstage. After finishing they actually came back for a four-song encore. Towards the end of it, the leader remarked that they were ‘very tired’ and added, ‘Please… let it be dark outside now! Please let there be a little bit of night!’ Heh. Every foreigners’ dilemma here in Iceland: how to sleep through the bright summer [spring] night. It seems that Icelanders are genetically conditioned – they can sleep even though the sun is shining brightly through their window at 4am. Meanwhile foreigners and pseudo-Icelanders like YT are reduced to wearing sleep masks or covering their windows with aluminium foil.

Meanwhile, the weather has been decidedly spring-like, yesterday rained like gangbusters but today was sunny and beautiful with highs of around 7°C [yeh yeh, but this is Iceland]. Alas, I fear that our gypsy friend got limited sleep last night because daybreak, with sunshine, was at 03.56 [sunrise at 05.04] and nightfall tonight is at 22.57 [sunset 21.48].

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