This week is Konudagur, the Icelandic women’s day. To put it simply, Valentine’s day in Iceland is basically broken in two, Bóndadagur (men’s day) and Konudagur. It is a day to lavish the women in our lives with attention and gifts to show how much we appreciate them.
To assist in this appreciation, we have put together a Spotify playlist all about Icelandic women in music. The playlist is filled with well-known Icelandic women and some lesser known locals you really need to know about.
The undisputed queen of Icelandic music is of course Björk. This playlist wouldn’t be complete without at least a few of her hits. From the earlier years, we have the incredibly introspective Hyperballad, a song about the lengths we go to in order to stay sane, mastered together with a string score that plucks the heartstrings.
There’s also an often overlooked Oceania, an ode to the world’s oceans set to a track made entirely by human voice. It was this very song that opened the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
This list also needs to include another internationally renowned indie-chanteuse, Emilíana Torrini. Her hauntingly beautiful pop song, You’ve heard it all before, tells the story of a tumultuous relationship filled with infidelity.
Eurovision makes an appearance in this list also. There’s the dance hit from Oslo’s 2010 competition, Hera Björk’s Je Ne Sais Quoi, a song that became a favourite of Eurovision fans all over the world despite placing in a disappointing 19th place in the competition.
To add to the Eurovision successes, we cannot leave out Sylvía Nótt. A woman who’s chorus exclaimed, ‘Congratulations, I have arrived.’ Sylvia was the creation of Icelandic actress Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, and in 2006, she was Iceland’s official entry to the competition.
Sylvia’s brattish behaviour stunned audiences. The portrayal was so effective there are many people outside of Iceland to this day who have no idea she was a character and not a real person.
A newer addition on the scene is Soffía Ósk. Her debut album In Two was released last December. In Two is also the title track of this project that combined two EP’s written four years apart. Her upbeat pop sound has it’s grounding in charming ukulele and warm vocals.
A list of women in Icelandic music wouldn’t be authentic without an entry from Sigga Beinteins. If you have never heard of her, just think of her as the Olivia Newton-John of Iceland. She’s a saint, and you have to listen to her.
To top it off there’s some contemporary edge with the expansive feminist power rap group Reykjavíkurdætur. They have a couple of entries in this list, but the most potent punch is definitely from their track Pussy pics. Even without being fluent in Icelandic, you’ll know exactly what it’s about.
So let this list help you get in the mood to celebrate just how awesome women are.