Faroe Islands: Message from the Sea
AIRED ON PBS JUNE 26, 2007 | CHECK LISTINGS arrow

MUSIC The Faroese Music Scene

Brandur

Every July, music lovers flock to the G! Festival, an outdoor concert that rocks out on three simultaneous stages in the otherwise sleepy village of Gøta. At last summer’s event, local bands performed alongside artists from Norway, Denmark, Iceland and England, creating a lively event with heavy punk and ethno-folk influences. While unpredictable weather can threaten any outdoor event in the Faroes, the locals make the most of their short summers. Listen to a sampling of music from the concert and find out more about Faroese musicians making a name for themselves.

For a look at who is playing at this year’s G! Festival (July 19-21, 2007), visit the official Web site.

200
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Listen to 200: Graceland
( QuickTime & Windows Media)

200
Niels Arge Galán, Mikael Blak and Uni Árting are the musicians behind the hard-driving punk sounds of 200. They formed the band in 1996 when, they say, almost all Faroese rock bands sang in English. The group wanted "to prove that alternative rock could be sung in Faroese." Their songs take on political issues the band considers important in the Faroe Islands, including the question of independence from the Danish empire and intolerance for homosexuality. “Music is a tool to get our opinions across,” they say. “Many things in the Faroe Islands are fucked up, and somebody has to say it.”

TRACK 1: “Graceland” criticizes Faroese politicians who mix religious rhetoric with their politics.
TRACK 2: “HomoFObia” includes sampled audio from various Faroese politicians debating an anti-discrimination bill. (FO is the abbreviation for the Faroe Islands.)
TRACK 3: “Tunnilvisjón” (tunnel vision) questions why politicians are so eager to build new tunnels in the Faroe Islands.

For more information or to hear more of 200’s music, visit the band’s Web site.

Photo: Philippe Carré

Eivør Pálsdóttir
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Listen to Eivør Pálsdóttir: Min Modir
( QuickTime & Windows Media)

Eivør Pálsdóttir
Eivør Pálsdóttir’s music captures a sense of the moody, windswept landscape of the Faroe Islands. She began singing as a young girl and was heavily influenced by the traditional a cappella ballads sung in the Faroes. She pursued musical training in Iceland when she was 16 and now lives in Copenhagen, but she tries to visit her native home regularly. “For my music, soul and spirit, I need to come back and find harmony and peace where I grew up,” she said. “I had a grandfather who taught me to sing hymns that were sung in churches in the old days. I’ve been very touched by that. I went to all the islands to talk to old people. I wanted to learn these songs. That’s been a great inspiration to my music and singing.”

For more information or to hear more of Eivør Pálsdóttir’s music, visit her Web site.

 

Brandur Enni
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Listen to Brandur Enni
( QuickTime & Windows Media)

Brandur Enni
Brandur Enni released his first CD, Waiting in the Moonlight. when he was 14 years old. We caught up with him at a music store in the capital city of Tórshavn, where he was working for the summer. The 18-year-old has become a local heartthrob in the Faroe Islands, but says he wants people to take his music seriously. While in the store, he sat down with his guitar as a friend joined in on the piano, and they performed several original compositions for us.

The first track above is inspired by a Robert Burns poem and was recorded that summer’s day at the store.

For more information about Brandur Enni and his music, visit his Web site.

Høgni Lisberg
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Listen to Høgni Lisberg: Morning Dew
( QuickTime & Windows Media)

Høgni Lisberg
Høgni Lisberg grew up listening to American music and says it’s a major influence for the songs he writes and performs. But he credits the relative isolation of the Faroe Islands with giving him the time and space to pursue his passion: "Growing up on the Faroes, there’s not much to do for young people, so you spend a lot of time on your hobby. In my case it meant spending a lot of time on my music."

Lisberg started out playing the drums, and studied music with his father, who is also a drummer. He didn’t begin playing guitar seriously until after his father suffered an accident that eventually left him in a wheelchair. During his father’s stay in the hospital, Lisberg would visit and bring his guitar. "I think music is good therapy for your soul,” he said. "If I didn’t play music, I think I would be a boxer."

For more information about Høgni Lisberg and his music, visit his Web site.

Photo: Laila í Jógvanstovu

Contributors: Monica Lam, Serene Fang, and Jackie Bennion

 

 

 

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