Island songs – Ólafur Arnalds

Coloured fishing vessels are often moored in the tiny harbour of Hvammstangi, a town that sits in the eastern shore of the Miðfjörður. The name is derived from ‘hvammur’, which means a green space in a mountain and is now home to Einar, a poet and teacher in Icelandic and literature. He moved to this remote town two years ago to retire and continues to write poetry. As we performed the song and shot the film, the weather was perfect with the midnight sun shining through the windows.

The poem … it’s about this river close to the farm where Einar grew up. As a kid he used to go sit by the river and just listen to the sound. Apparently this river is quite well known for how beautiful it sounds … like it’s playing music.

The poem is a tribute to the river and the music it plays.

Collaborator / Einar Georg Einarsson
Poet & Retired Teacher

WHEN I’M WRITING I LIKE TO GO UP TO THE HILLSIDE ABOVE THE OLD TOWN. THERE IS AN OLD CHURCH AND A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE STREAM THAT FLOWS SO PEACEFULLY. WRITING FOR ME IS AN ESCAPE FROM EVERYDAY WORRIES. I LIKE TO THINK OF IT AS VENTURING INTO A FAIRYTALE, YOU TAKE OFF AND HEAD FOR THE SPACE OF CREATIVITY AND YOU FEEL RENEWED. IT IS A GOOD WAY TO LIVE.

Musicians
Piano: Ólafur Arnalds, Reading: Einar Georg Einarsson, Violin: Bjarni Frímann Bjarnason, Violin: Ása Guðjónsdóttir, Viola: Karl Pestka, Cello: Hallgrímur Jónas Jensson

Crew
Director: Baldvin Z, Director of photography: Jóhann Máni Jóhannsson, AC Focuspuller: Snorri Fairweather, Sound recorder: Benedikt Árnason, Lighting: Viktor Davíð Jóhannsson, Sound engeineer: Arnþór Örlygsson, Recording Assistant: Þórarinn Guðnason, Production Coordinator: Sólveig Ásta Sigurðardóttir, Transcriber: Snorri Hallgrímsson

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