ICELANDIC SINGER-songwriter Ásgeir has become a phenomenon in his homeland, with 10 per cent of the island’s population owning a copy of his debut album.
In January, that album Dyrd í Daudathogn was released in the rest of Europe as In The Silence, with Ásgeir having re-recorded the vocals in English, but there is much more to the artist’s story.
Ásgeir comes from Laugarbakki, northern Iceland, a hamlet with a population of just 40 people. Raised in a large and musical family, he studied classical guitar as a child, before taking up music professionally in his late teens.
It was a shrewd move. Last year, at the age of 20, he became an overnight sensation with Dyrd í Daudathogn breaking all records to become Iceland’s fastest selling debut album by a native artist.
The album was a father-son collaboration, with Ásgeir setting poems by his 72-year-old father to music this is, byenlarge, mellow acoustic folk-pop with electronic touches.
It also won him the support and mentorship of American singer- songwriter John Grant, who translated the songs into English, and encouraged him to take his music to audiences beyond his homeland.
“Working with Ásgeir has been very inspiring,” said Grant. “His knack for melody and gorgeous harmonies coupled with his amazing sense of rhythm and virtuosity on acoustic guitar should make him a household name, no matter what language he’s speaking.”
Ásgeir plays the Róisín Dubh on Saturday April 12 at 9pm. Tickets are available at www.roisindubh.net, the Ticket Desk at OMG Zhivago, Shop Street, and The Róisín Dubh.