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Favorite Albums, 2003

1) Eivør Pálsdóttir - Krákan

Label = 12 Tónar

    Some music is a sign of the times - some a respite from them. Faroese singer Eivør Pálsdóttir's music - perhaps more specifically her voice - has served so often to set right all that seems askew in my world, that there is no question that Krákan's sweet respite was far and away my favorite escape of 2003.

    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.

(The rest of 2003 is coming, I promise...I'm just very far behind!)
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