Favorite Albums, 2003
1) Eivør Pálsdóttir - KrákanLabel = 12 Tónar
I found 'Krákan' when I was in Reykjavík last November, quietly browsing the shelves of my favorite record store in town, 12 Tónar. As it was a bit of a slow day in the store (I was the only visitor), the fellow behind the counter offered and brewed a cup of espresso for me and we chatted about the Icelandic music scene - "Oh, and we just put out the first album on our own label - here, I'll put it on."
It was a magic moment. The enchanted gossamer of Eivør's voice floated throughout the store, suspended on the delicate filigree woven by the backing musicians. It is a perfect balance. In places, the music isn't so much a melody or even a regular rhythm - but a canvas upon which Eivør's voice can bloom. Elsewhere, the trio of guitar, upright bass, and drums lilt and lope, swell and crash - but always lift the graceful swoop of her vocals. The symbiosis is flawless.
For reasons that I can't quite understand, listening to this album brings me peace - whatever frayed edges the world serves up, Krákan mends in short order. I speak hardly any Icelandic, but it doesn't seem to matter - Eivør and her friends tap into something far deeper, more universal here than language can express. I am awfully glad that I started going to Iceland - it is a shame that a gem like this lies hidden from so many.
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