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Folk It!

fri 1 jul 2022 21:00 hrs
Composer: Brian Wilson

Nordic Sounds: Icelandic troubadour Svavar Knútur.

Icelandic troubadour Svavar Knútur many enjoy some fame in the alternative singer-songwriter circuit, but he will never match the commercial successes of his illustrious fellow countrywoman Björk, nor the cult status of Árstíðir. Still, Knútur is one of the most interesting roots performers from the Arctic island. He mostly writes his own songs, but is not averse to interpreting well-known songs that fit in well with his own repertoire. He has covered songs by Abba on several occasions, but also the glorious ‘God only knows’ by The Beach boys. You cannot call Knútur purely traditional. With the exception of perhaps one song, he hasn’t recorded any reworked traditionals. He did record an album full of songs that can be linked to popular, old Icelandic songs, as a tribute to his grandmother who encouraged his musical inspirations. Musically, there are links to British and American singer-songwriters. The hymnic tradition of the Icelandic song makes an appearance, along with textual inspiration found on the rough, isolated island, with themes such as solitude, darkness, but also security and social interaction. In 2009, he recorded ‘Kvöldvaka’ (Songs by the fire), his first CD under his own name. Three years later, ‘Ölduslóð’ (Way of waves) followed. A year previously, he released a album with singer Kristjana Stefáns, a project he continued two years ago with a second album called ‘ Fadmlog ‘, a disc full of – freely translated – cuddle songs, written for a moment in time when physical cuddles were not allowed. Knútur also collaborated with Anna María Björnsdóttir and Ragga Gröndal. Parallel to his solo career, Knútur started the group Hraun, aiming to release a trilogy on the theme of ‘Songs of misery and redemption’. Two of the three albums were released to mixed reviews, but we won’t make further mention of them in this overview. Returning to the solo career; we notice a change in his approach with the 2015 album Brot. His characteristically melancholic songs wrapped in lyrical, harmonic melodies are joined by heavier counterparts. In addition to the strictly acoustic, Knútur uses electric instruments and elements from pop and rock. He’s not afraid to use a string quartet or a horn section, either. Yet his songs remain accessible and free of pretention, straight from the heart with a sense of tragedy, but also with a dose of healthy, down-to-earth humour.


Svavar Knútur –  Kvöldvaka – Beste!Unterhaltung BU 006

1.      Clementine 3:46

2.      Yfir Hola Og Yfir Haedir 4:23

Svavar Knútur – Amma  – Beste! Unterhaltung BU010

3.      Kvöldið er fagurt 2:52

Svavar Knútur, Kristjana Stefáns – Glæður – Nordic Notes NN142LP

4.      Undir birkitré 4:22

5.      Boat On The River (Tommy Shaw) 3:21


Svavar Knútur – Ölduslóð – Beste!Unterhaltung BU028

6.      Baby, Would You Marry Me 4:40

Svavar Knútur – Songs of Weltschmerz, Waldeinsamkeit and Wanderlust –  Beste!Unterhalting BU065

7.       Vetrarsol [Live] 3:50

Svavar Knútur – Brot – Nordic Notes NN069

8.      Brot 4:46


Svavar Knútur – My goodbye lovelies – Nordic Notes NN097

9.      God Only Knows (Brian Wilson, Tony Asher) 2:46

Svavar Knútur – Ahoy! Side A – Nordic Notes NN 118

10.  The Hurting 3:07

11.  Haustvindar 4:37

Svavar Knútur – Bil [Between] – Nordic Notes NN 139

12.  Morgunn [Acoustic Version] 4:02



Svavar Knútur, Kristjana Stefáns– Faðmlög (Hugsongs) –  Nordic Notes

NN 141

13.  Fljótið  3:28

Svavar Knútur – Brot – Nordic Notes NN069 14.  Slow Dance 7:42



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