The Week Ahead for Fans of Icelandic Music
For no particular reason other than we like it, The SunBreak is your source for Icelandic music in Seattle. Let’s face it, it’s a bit of a hassle to schlep to Iceland Airwaves, and what to do in the meantime? So when Icelanders come calling, we try to make the shows.
Thursday, June 21, the Sunna Gunnlaugs Trio plays at jazz club Tula’s in Belltown. It’s a 7:30 p.m. show with a $10 cover. (Tula’s, if you, like me, haven’t been, features a Mediterranean menu. I thought it was a rule jazz clubs had to be Italian? But no, they’ve got spanokopita on the menu, large as life.) Jazz pianist Sunnlaugs grew up outside of Reykjavik, but moved to the U.S. for college, and settled in Brooklyn for a few years, before returning to Iceland.
Jazz? In Iceland? Time Out New York preemptively addresses your doubletake: ”Fine musicians seem to be among Iceland’s most visible exports these days, and pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs is proof that jazz is as much a part of the picture as the pop of Björk or Sigur Ros.” The new album, Long Pair Bond, is on Bandcamp if you’d like to make it your own. (Of earlier note is her Songs from Iceland, which features jazz interpretations of Icelandic folk songs.)
Then, next Wednesday and Thursday, Northwest Film Forum screens the 62-minute documentary Grandma Lo-Fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigrídur Níelsdóttir. It’s not a biopic, but a peek into how Níelsdóttir spent a decade with a Casio keyboard and a tape recorder (yes, in her basement) recording songs that are not studio-polished at all. Reviewers make a point of telling you that, really, her cult status is not because the music–she’s got 59 albums done so far–is so great. It’s more because she clearly enjoys messing about with music in her basement, and is getting tons done.