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Sounds Icelandic

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Over the past 25 years, Icelandic music has been gaining considerable international attention. This is attested to by the international success of such acts as the Sugarcubes, and then Björk as a solo artist, followed by the worldwide success of Sigur Rós, and more recently Of Monsters and Men. And these artists reveal themselves to be ‘the tip of the iceberg’, once one delves further into the music of Iceland and the myriad of genres that thrive there. That such a small country can produce so much music of quality, value and acclaim is a fascinating situation that has boosted Icelandic tourism and made the country the ‘hippest’ place in the world. This is a book of wide-ranging essays on different aspects of Icelandic music, from the ancient traditional chants of rímur to the large output of classical music by nationalist composer Jón Leifs and others, to the plethora of Icelandic rock and pop groups that have already made an impact on the world as well as more idiosyncratic and genre-bending musicians now emerging from the Reykjavik music scene.

Published: Mar 1, 2019

Section Chapter Authors
1. Sounds Icelandic Þorbjörg Hall , Nicola Dibben, Árni Ingólfsson , Tony Mitchell
Part 1: Histories and contexts
2. ‘A Nation without Music?’: Symphonic Music and Nation-Building Kimberly Cannady, Kristín Loftsdóttir
3. Rímur: From National Heritage to Folk Music Ragnheiður Ólafsdóttir, Nicola Dibben
4. Jón Leifs and the Origins of an Icelandic Style Árni Ingólfsson
Part 2: Social and spatial structures
5. Spatiality, Sociality and Circulation: Popular Music Scenes in Reykjavík Nick Prior
6. Beyond Reykjavik 101: Iceland’s Popular Music Mainstream and the Eurovision Song Contest Sarah Baker
7. Nurturing the roots: Músíktilraunir, Iceland’s foremost “Battle of the bands” competition Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen
Part 3: Scenes and genres
8. ‘Even Cute Babies Will Bite When Provoked’: Icelandic Popular Music and the Rise of the Krútt Þorbjörg Hall
9. A Transnational Bedroom Community in Reykjavík Tony Mitchell
10. Icelandic hip hop: From ‘Selling American Fish to Icelanders’ to Reykjavíkurdætur (Reykjavík Daughters) Tony Mitchell
Part 4: Sound and aesthetics
11. Surrealism in Icelandic Popular Music John Richardson
12. ‘Imagine what my body would sound like’: Embodiment, nature and sound in the work of Björk Guðmundsdóttir Sarah Boak
13. Triangulating Timbre in Sigur Rós’s Iceland Brad Osborn, David Blake