Five random CDs from the Faroe Islands

Today, there’s no conceptual foundation in the column “In the player”. Nothing but eclectic music: punk, ethno jazz, mix of folk and klezmer, and melancholic relax-pop. There’s nothing common in all these albums, except of their geographical belonging to the Faroes and “loyalty” to the sole label (Tutl). Even the musicians are different in each album. Marvellous.

Dánjal «Time» (Tutl, 2014)

The band Dánjal is not completely Faroese, it even has “dual citizenship” – in their Facebook account you’ll see “Copenhagen/Thorshavn”. Though, the leader of this splendor is Dánjal á Neystabø, a Faroese, whatsoever. The band’s third full-length album differs from the two previous greatly. There’s no actually klezmer in «Time», which the musicians experimented with. It has nowhere near folk and jazz. It’s, probably, indie rock (whatever this nebulous definition means) or, at the worst, baroque pop (yes, I’ve heard this odd word-combination somewhere). However, let’s not waste time, while defining, if there’s more sunshine or chamber here. One thing is clear. Move away from klezmer did really good for Dánjal. The album turned out to be filthy gorgeous (no lacks at all!) and very multiple. Some quite unexpected tracks like On Time» (a sort of a real CocoRosie), post rock echo in «People On The Run» and «Raindrops», extremely beautiful half-instrumental ballads «Never Again» and «Time», the magic «Beth» get along in this album quite well... Damn! Each song here is a little masterpiece.

Rebekka Petersen «Byggi Borgir» (Tutl, 2014)

Quite a young singer Rebekka Petersen (you can read my interview with her here) released her debut album in 2014. As Rebekka herself says, all her songs are very intimate and there’s really a lot of melancholy in them. It is what it is. The singer didn’t set a goal to make her «Byggi Borgir» amusing. However, it can hardly be called a draw-back. The relaxing musical performance with trip-hop elements, dream pop and some kind of ambient, sounds very nice, reminding of another Faroese project — Guðrun & Bartal. Besides, one of the participants —Bartal Augustinussen — played the guitar in several compositions of this album. His manner to sound from musical instruments naturally fits in to «Byggi Borgir». Rebekka obviously managed to move to a new level. Being backing vocalist for Eivør Pálsdóttir, Guðrið Hansdóttir and many other Faroese musicians was the singer’s good job, because she’d shown herself to the world. Such compositions as «Dýrir Tankar» and «Dulleiðarin» are a good evidence of her creativity. The only thing, I’d like to warn her against, is that she should use new expressive means for the next album. Otherwise, there’s risk, that the album will be boring.

Eivør «Krákan» (Tutl, 2003)

And now let’s travel back to the past more than 10 years. Having gathered more creative energy, Eivør Pálsdóttir records her second album «Krákan» in 2003. «Krákan» continues the theme of mixing ethnicity (mainly that of the Faroese ballads) with jazz and rock, begun in the debut album. What is more, if we compare Eivør’s second and first albums, it’s obvious, that she is no more a 17-year-old girl, but absolutely established (though a 20-year-old) singer with a trained voice. In 2000, Pálsdóttir didn’t realize yet, what to do with it. Obviously, that the collaborative album (2002) with the band of Kristian Blak, Yggdrasil, served a certain purpose, in which the singer played the same part. The key tracks of the album are probably «Rósufarið» and «Nú Brennur Tú Í Mær». «Krákan» and «Hjarta Mítt» sound very interesting. Of course, «Brostnar Borgir» wins over due to its expressiveness. Generally, there’s a lot of good and catchy songs here. By the way, it’s worthy to note, that «Krákan» was recorded by Eivør during her living in Iceland. Therefore, even devoted to the singer Mikael Blak didn’t take part in recording. The album was released three times (what is also a sort of factor of its popularity): the first time in Iceland, the second – in South Korea (!) in 2008, and the third – on her native Faroe Islands (2013).

Enekk «Fýra Nætur Fyri Jól» (Tutl, 1997)

Kári Sverrisson recorded a rather freaky album in collaboration with his friends-musicians from Bulgaria. The fan of experiments with folk music didn’t limit himself to the sole jazz this time, and filled, together with Valeri Dimchev and Dragomir Dimov, traditional and specially composed songs of fjords with elements of Bulgarian music. It worked out very interesting, of course, as everything, that Kári has deal with. As for me, I still consider Sverrisson’s cameo role in the band Orka one of the most brilliant things in their creative works. In addition to its musical attraction, the record is also important by the fact, that it’s one of few suchlike international projects on the Faroe Islands. Generally, the musicians Europize extensively here (they can’t be twitted with it), but seldom look eastwards. I hope, the Faroese will discover Russian music for themselves someday.

200 «Graceland» (Tutl, 2006)

The real potent punk rock is performed on the Faroe Islands, actually, only by one band. In 2006, the 200 sketched out their third longplay. It’s worth to note, that the vocalist and guitar player of musical chaos, Niels Arge Galán, doesn’t use a single English word. All the songs of this gang are absolutely in Faroese, that adds special flavor to the event. Short songs (most of them are hardly more than 2 minutes) sound very unhackneyed and cheerful, rather showy and what is more important – ingenious. Musicians, though fannying around, but clearly understand, that they defend honour of the Faroe Islands over all punks of the world, and make history too. I’m surprised most of all by the fact, that Mikael Blak has been the bass-guitarist from the moment of the establishment of the band. Well, I’d never have thought, that such a genteel young man can behave in such way.

Reviewer by Anton Kovalsky.

Translated by Irina Boiko.

Russian version reviewer.