With music it sometimes doesn't matter what's being played, but rather who's playing it. Wesley Willis, although his music is hilarious no matter what, wouldn't have caught on as much without people knowing that he was a huge, homeless African-American with chronic schizophrenia. Likewise The Shaggs gain oodles more of appeal if you know that they had next to no real talent and only were playing because their father threw some instruments in their hands. It's this kind of outsider aspect that can sometimes bring such excitement to a musician, or musical group.
And sometimes being an outside the musical community can help you in another way, too. For a long time Iceland was considered a frozen island with no real creative output at all, aside from the Icelandic sagas and that team from The Mighty Ducks movie. Then Björk came along, with The Sugarcubes at first, and smashed all of the ideas you had regarding Iceland, while at the same time using the alleged Icelandic mystery to keep up the facade of a little pixy from a far off land. Others from Iceland followed suit and thus came the majestic Sigur Rós, the childlike mystique of Múm, and the progressive sounds of Apparat Organ Quartet.
Now comes a lady who combines both aspects of the outside into one manifestation.
That lady is Sigridur Nielsdottir, the 73-year-old grandmother from Reykjavik, Iceland who has been making her own independent splash in the Icelandic, and worldwide, music scene. Ever since 2001 she has been putting out music at an alarming rate, with 27 albums released by the end of 2003, and has a steadily growing fanbase, which includes Björk and Múm, who regularly spin her discs during their DJ sessions.
The music she makes can be called strange, at best. Composed using a keyboard that resides in her kitchen, she recorders her music straight into a cassette recorder, which gives her music an obvious, and very appealing, lo-fi sound. Aside from playing her keyboard, which sometimes rocks out on a preset rhythm or preprogrammed accompaniment bass/melody combo, Sigridur also sings in a multitude of languages, including Icelandic, English, Danish and German, while also throwing in found sounds from things just lying around her kitchen. These are the songs where she really shines through with her sincere, and perhaps naive, but genuine, sound.
However, trying to make absolutes about her music is just impossible, as you never know what you're going to get. One song will feature highly addictive, and rather old sounding melodies, while the next will consist of nothing but machinery noise and faint sounds of a singing old lady. Some of her albums come with specific themes to them, like she already has a Christmas album out, but the theme doesn't really give any indication of what you're in for when you hear the album itself.
Having a release by Sigridur Nielsdottir in your hands is really something that will add to the listening pleasure. Keeping with her pseudo-DIY ethics all of her releases are copied directly from her master cassette tape to CD-R by her local CD-R copier. She also does all of the artwork for her albums by hand, drawing the interesting pictures that don each one. When holding the finished product in your hand, and after having it sent to you all the way from Iceland, you just know you're holding something special. It feels almost as if it was made by a very close friend just for you. All music should be this pure.
- Hin Daglegu Storf
- Draumar Og Aevintyri
- Thad Er Ungt Og Leikur Ser
- A Ljufum Notum
- Ur Bok Salmanna
- I Hljodfalli Valsar
- Vegur Krossins Liggur Heim
- Livets Gang
- Vorid Er Komid
- Ut Um Vida Verold
- Salmar A Islensku
- Danske Salmer
- Thegar Jesus Lifdi Her Sem Madur
- Bland I Poka
- Jolin 2002
- De Gamle Skufferim
- Ny Byrjun
https://www.smekkleysa.net where you can download sample songs and order Sigridur Nielsdottir's albums