Who are they?
Hljómsveitin Eva is a two-piece outfit comprising Sigríður Eir Zophoníasardóttir and Vala Höskuldsdóttir. They are adamant that they are not simply a duet; instead, in their own words, they are “a performance troupe, a political movement, and a self-help group.” Positioned on the perimeter between music and the performing arts, they aim to convey the experiences of the queer and the feminine as a counterpoint to the straight male perspective that dominates much of popular culture.
When were they formed?
In 2012, the pair were classmates in the Performing Arts program at the Iceland University of the Arts. Says Vala, “The band came into being on our search for true theatre. Contemporary theatre is always concerned with shedding the curtains, getting as close to the reality of things as possible. No costumes, no props, just us and what we have to say. That appealed to us.”
What’s their style?
A highly entertaining fusion of folk-punk with country stylings on a queer feminist platform. Their lyrics can be bitingly funny, sending up society’s prejudice and banality, but they’re never mean; the good-natured core of their act always shines through. Their accomplished use of vocal harmonies lends great dynamism to the music. Their guitar work is stellar as well, with echoes of both Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake.
Where can I listen?
Their body of work can be found on their Spotify page, and a few videos can be located on YouTube, most notably:
“The Queer Song”:
“I See You:”
Why should I go see them?
Relentlessly funny, Hljómsveitin Eva are not just musicians, they’re all-round entertainers. Their live show is somewhere in between a troubadour group and a comedy duo. Their content is clever and thought-provoking, and the tone of their on-stage banter makes it clear that they’re very good friends, comfortable both with each other and the spotlight — an inviting quality that makes them exceedingly warm stage performers.
(For more on their live act, see our coverage of the Queer Icelandic Women in Music concert at Reykjavík Pride 2018.)
2014 saw the release of their album, Nóg Til Frammi (Plenty More in the Other Room). They’ve been digitally releasing singles since 2012, all of which can be found on Spotify.
“Breathe into the endless ocean
breathing out the pain
maybe we are just a notion
only drops of rain
And I see you
And not where it is you came from
I see you
I see you
And I’m in there too.”
-“I See You,” 2016