today I would like to introduce you to Svavar Knútur – you can call him Knute, if you like.
Svavar Knútur is an Icelandic troubadour from the remote western fjords: the long dark winters and the luminous nordic summers are the primary inspiration for his music, which reflects the everyday life in the fjords. If you happened to live up North and to know what the real winter feels like, then Svavar Knútur‘s music won’t take long to reach your heart: without any explanations, you will start to love it.
Svavar starts his music career as a singer and song-writer in an Icelandic band called Hraun, where he also plays the guitar: in 2008, with the song Astarsaga Ur Fjollunum – Love Story from The Mountains, his songwriting skills please the millions viewers of BBC World Service’s Next Big Thing.
Finally, in spring 2009, Knute decides to release his first solo album, which reaches old and new fans and receives a lot of positive attention. Kvöldvaka is a folk album that features a selection of Hraun‘s songs and some of Svavar‘s new compositions: the title means “Evening Wake” and the whole album celebrates the getting together of a group of people, to tell stories around a campfire.
Svavar sings both in Icelandic and English, for a total of 11 beautiful folk songs, between which my favourite is Tiger and Bear – one of the sweetest pieces of the whole album. Kvöldvaka‘s cover is a drawing, as simple and pure as Svavar‘s acoustic folk music, it tells an everyday life story.
Amma – Songs for My Grandmother was released in 2010, with another beautiful drawing as its cover. Before releasing a second album with his own pieces, Svavar decided to release this anthology of traditional Icelandic songs especially as a tribute for his grandmothers: the album was recorded in the living room of his publisher, Aðalsteinn Ásberg, in occasion of a special concert, where one of Svavar‘s grandmothers, Svava, was attending to.
Knute only plays his guitar, a ukulele and the piano in the whole album, which has been a huge hit in Iceland, because of its rough simplicity. The artist himself is truly affectionate to Amma: “In the recent years, I have found myself covering some favorite icelandic folk and traditional songs alongside my original material at my concerts. These are songs that have touched me deeply and been an important part of my life“.
Svavar Knútur – Yfir Hola og Yfir Haedir
Svavar Knútur has just recently been touring around Poland, The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland: I wonder if any of you was lucky enough to see him live.
I hope you will enjoy Svavar’s music for the rest of your week!