Head north from Scotland – in a plane or boat ideally, it being a heck of a swim – and you’ll eventually reach the Faroe Islands, a varied protrusion of volcanic rocks where there are more sheep than people (sometimes almost double, depending on the month) but an awful lot of fascinating music bursting forth. From the people, that is. Gigwise checked in to check out the next wave of North Atlantic talent during the week of the Faroese Music Awards, where a bunch of showcase gigs introduced us to an impressive range of local talent. These were the pick of the lot:
Son of Fortune
This duo-cum-trio sound how you’d imagine island rockers should: all windswept and epic. Actually Son of Fortune’s frontman, Benjamin Petersen, looks oddly like the German actor Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds, Rush, etc) if Daniel Brühl was method-preparing for the role of a tremendously-tattooed young guitar hero. Their debut album, Fullmáni, is excellent.
Representing the islands’ artier community, this venture is the brainchild of the forward-thinking Jenny Kragesteen, and focusses on dance and film almost as much as music. “FRUM is primarily my own project, but to make my expression more whole and to evolve as an artist I join forces with different people to make the musical and visual universe,” Kragesteen explains. “I think there is a very creative new generation on the islands. But right now I am the only one doing exactly this.”
The islands’ new act of the year: Silvurdronger – aka Trygvi Danielsen - is that rare-‘til-now find, a Faroese rapper. Lord knows what he’s actually rhyming about, but he’s got some flow – particularly live - and the beats are impressively dark. Check out his track Salt, and particularly the retro-film video. “Salt is made with old footage of the traditional Faroese chain dance,” says Danielsen. “that I cut together for a laugh.”
Speaking of ‘Silvur’ – which is Faroese for, er, silver – Marius Zizka’s recent single Silvurlin is also in Faroese which doesn’t really matter as it’s an absolute corker anyway: and hey, not knowing the lyrics would actively improve a lot of pop-rock hits, when you think about it. Ziska is a former hard-rocker who went in a folkier direction, toured Europe and the US and has now returned to plough his own distinctive furrow.
Danny and the Veetos
From the poppier end of the spectrum, Danny Baldursson’s jokily-named outfit are from the Faroe Islands’ second city, Klaksvik, and have seemingly encouraged half its population on stage with them. They play the sort of catchy folk-pop you can well imagine getting a lot of radio play, one day: think Of Monsters and Men’s next-rock neighbours.
Also straight-outta-Klaksvik, Andrias performs ‘Americana from the North Atlantic,’ and to be fair, the Faroes is well on the way from Scandinavia to the States. He’s a transatlantic troubadour, even changing harmonicas between songs to switch from authentic Greenwich Village-in-the-sixties folk to something rather more rustic.
The recently-crowned Faroese artist of the year: Kampmann was born in Denmark, followed a classical path, but then moved to the Faroes at 18 and now makes highly accomplished romantic shoegaze: you know, the sort of stuff that’d sound really good over the closing credits of something cool.