Tag Archives: jazz

Iceland Affair


In a small town nestled in the middle of Connecticut there resides a peculiar lady.  She raises bats, tends to porcupines, and single handedly puts on the second largest Icelandic festival in the U.S.  Gerri Griswald is her name, and Iceland Affair is her festival.  The festival will be happening October 18th in Winchester center, CT at the Winchester Grange.

Iceland affair began 5 years ago when Gerri decided to bring some of the acts that had entertained her travel guides in Iceland back to the states.  Relying on donations and a very forgiving husband, Gerri has been putting the festival on ever since slowly bringing more and more Icelandic talent stateside so that people who may not be able to make it to the island could experience it’s wonders here.

While some would be pleased with just a concert, Gerri has put together a day of presentations including Icelando-centric falconry, goat raising, ornithology, nature and geological talks.  As well as authors presenting on things such as the Icelandic sagas, and the history of Icelandic music. To learn more about the presenters, click the image below.


From left to right, Brian Bradley (Falconer), Dr. Gunni (Musician/author of Blue Eyed pop), Jóhanna Bergmann Þorvaldsdóttir (Goat farming and preservation), Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson (photographer, ornithologist), Jón Baldur Hlíðberg (Naturist, illustrator), Nancy Marie Brown (expert on the sagas, author), Tom Alena (Geologist, meteorologist, entertaining lecturer)

And of course, how could one celebrate Iceland without music.  The festival ends with the fire and ice music festival at Infinity hall in Norfolk, CT.  The concert consists of 5 well known Iceland artists, ranging from indie, to jazz and folk.


From left to right, Svavar Knútur, Lay Low, Snorri Helgeson, Agnes Erna, Kristjana Stefánsdóttir, Myrra Rós, and Bjorn Thoroddsen.  Click on their names to learn more about them.  While the festival is free for the most part, the concert requires the purchase of tickets, which are selling out quickly, so learn more and get your’s here.

Ragnaarbastiaan.com and Theory of Whatever records are pleased to help out with this years festival, and even more pleased to be attending.  So if you’d like to learn more about Iceland, hear some fantastic Icelandic music, this is the festival for you.  For us it’s the perfect appetizer for the upcoming Iceland Airwaves.  Go to Iceland Affair to learn more including directions and places to stay while attending.  And we’ll see you there.

Þorvaldur Þór Þorvaldsson (Doddi)

DoddiGraphic by Paige Bowman

As the Reykjavik jazz festival is underway, I thought I would blog about an Icelandic jazz musician.  Iceland definitely holds it’s own with diverse jazz musicians.  From the smooth classical quartet style of Sunna Gunnlaugs to the glam-pop rockish guitar jams of GP! (Guðmundur Pétursson.)  It’s not that hard to find Icelandic jazz to dig.

I’m slightly biased, I really dig drummers and I find it exceptional when a drummer can not only compose their own albums, but manage not to overpower those albums with just drums.  So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I really dig Þorvaldur Þór Þorvaldsson (Doddi.)  You may recognize him as the crazy crowned drummer that accompanied Jónsi on the band’s 2010 tour.  But before, and now after that, he’s been recording and creating jazz.  Doddi’s self titled album happens to be one of my favorite Sunday morning breakfast making albums.  You get smooth elements intertwined with great orchestrations of blended instruments, and he certainly has that ability to not overpower a piece.  The first time I heard the album I was blown away.  He was so active and smash-tacular with Jónsi but his album was such a smooth blend, not too cookie cutter but not overpowering with the hyper-ness I was expecting.  It’s a jazz album that I personally think non-jazz and jazz listeners will equally enjoy.

You can listen to the full length album here.  And my favorite tracks from the album are:

Vaknaði með vængi

Þrír fjórir
Unfortunately, from what I saw he’s not going to be around for the jazz festival.  But I am hoping that he may do something during Airwaves, the annual Icelandic music festival happening at the end of October.  You can learn more, and see what he’s up to on his website
So, apparently I cannot embed the songs from Gogoyoko directly into WordPress as they embed as objects that are not approved by WP.  I am working on getting them accepted.