Jónsi is the guitarist and vocalist for the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós.
He is known for his use of a cello bow on guitar and his falsetto voice.
Apart from Sigur Rós, Jónsi also performs together with his partner Alex Somers as an art collaboration called Jónsi & Alex. They released their self-titled first book in November 2006.
This album is largely acoustic and feature string arrangements from contemporary classical composer nico muhly.
word of the band has reached america where, because the release has been delayed, “agaetis byrjun” has been boot-legged from the internet, in record numbers. this, despite the fact that sigur ros sing either in icelandic or in a language of their own making, “hopelandic”. no matter if audiences can’t understand the words.
“they get to make their own words and dreams,”
says the softly spoken lead singer, jonsi birgisson.
mr. birgisson has the makings of a superstar. he is something of a viking anti-hero: slightly built, his locks shaven but for a spare tintin-style quiff, blind in one eye, openly gay and (most scandalously for an icelander) a vegetarian.
his voice and guitar drive the band, who use conventional instruments in unconventional ways. mr birgisson attacks his guitar with a violin bow and sometimes sings directly into it, producing a dreamily distant sound. his exquisite countertenor voice serves as another instrument, while strings and keyboard produce something not far from whalesong.
Sigur Ros (it means ‘Victory Rose’) are the experimental/ ambient/ progressive band (delete according to taste) whose songs are, like those of The Cocteau Twins or Cranes, often sung in an invented tongue, in this case Hopelandic (or Vonlenska). Which renders singalongs difficult, but it doesn’t stop their fans, many of them shoeless in tribute to Jonsi’s own fondness for removing his footwear onstage, from trying.
The devotion Sigur Ros inspire is a touching, and bewildering thing. SR do not believe in the cult of personality: wearing unadorned brown T-shirts, they are static for most of the show, and for much of it, one might as well be listening to a CD… although singer-guitarist Birgisson and bassist Georg Holm do play their instruments with a violin bow and drumstick respectively, and at one point the former lifts his guitar towards his teeth, and you think he’s about to do a Hendrix. …
Watching the dazzling work-in-progress reels from the concert, which reaches Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley next week, it looks as if the team is putting in as much effort as a typical Beyoncé or Madonna arena extravaganza, only with slightly different results.
Combining elements of cinema, art and theater, the designers have created an epic, immersive stage experience involving virtual worlds and roaming wildlife, all built around Jónsi’s sublime, falsetto-driven new songs.
“There’s kind of the joke with the band,” the singer says. “If we suck, the show is still going to be good.”
He’s got a reputation to uphold. After spending 16 years as the lead singer of Sigur Rós - Iceland’s second most popular musical export after Björk - people have come to expect a spectacle from Jónsi. Fans have always described the group’s stage shows as bordering on religious experiences, thanks to the ethereal projections flanking the stage and the uniquely engrossing music coming from the musicians in the shadows.
This is, after all, the band that by the time it released its third album in 2002 was over using words - the disc is titled “( )” and the lyrics are in a made-up language called Hopelandic. Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow famously played Sigur Rós in the delivery room during the birth of their daughter, Apple. And in his autobiography, Mötley Crüe’s hell-raising drummer Tommy Lee recounts curling up on the floor in a puddle of slush while listening to the band’s music.
Like a few other players of bowed guitar, Jónsi plays mainly variations of the Les Paul. He also plays Ibanez Les Paul copies, model PF200. The first Ibanez used to be his main instrument during the Bee Spiders era all through Ágætis Byrjun.
It was largely refinished and decorated (as can be seen in Ágúst Jakobsson’s documentary Popp í Reykjavík . That particular instrument got stolen and broken but was on display in Reykjavík Art Museum in the summer of 2003.
During the recordings of “Takk…” Jónsi bought another PF200 to replace the Les Paul. Since summer 2006 Jónsi has been using a guitar that was made on the road by his then guitar tech Dan Johnson. The guitar is usually referred to as “The Bird,” after the band’s bird designs seen on previous album designs/artwork that adorn the neck and frets of the guitar.
“The Bird” is based on the body of Ibanez PF200. He also has been seen playing a variety of other instruments, like the piano, acoustic guitar, harmonium, mellotron, baritone ukulele, and the banjo.
With Gurf Morlix there is more to the story than what first meets the ear or eye. Gurf works hard not to overshadow the music. He’s been nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association on six occasions, most recently in 2011, and won that award in 2009; yet Gurf seldom sounds flashy on guitar, or on any of the many other instruments that he plays so well. Much of his work is sparse, at times almost minimalist. The notes that Gurf doesn’t play are as important as the ones he does. Gurf doesn’t obscure feelings with a flurry of noise, and the same holds true with words when it comes to writing for his solo career.
In a 2004 review of Gurf’s third solo release, Cut ‘N Shoot, the Waxed reviewer observed “If honky-tonk country were written in haiku, Gurf Morlix could be the music’s Zen master… Terse and laconic, he reduces each lyric to its bare-bones essence, as if he’s singing in Morse code or emotional shorthand.” Another Waxed reviewer of Gurf Morlix’s 2007 Diamonds to Dust CD noted, “No matter the tempo — and Morlix is a Zen master of tempo — each lyric squeezes out rivers of emotion…” While a Sing Out Magazine review of Gurf Morlix’s most recent 2013 release says, “Finds The Present Tense is a haunting set that in its apparent simplicity is deceptively deep and complex.”
Psychologists have understood that people prefer things they’ve experienced before at least since Robert Zajonc first demonstrated the ‘mere exposure effect’ in the 1960s. It doesn’t matter whether those things are triangles or pictures or melodies; people report liking them more the second or third time around, even when they aren’t aware of any previous exposure. People seem to misattribute their increased perceptual fluency - their improved ability to process the triangle or the picture or the melody - not to the prior experience, but to some quality of the object itself. Instead of thinking: ‘I’ve seen that triangle before, that’s why I know it,’ they seem to think: ‘Gee, I like that triangle. It makes me feel clever.’ This effect extends to musical listening. But evidence has been accumulating that something more than the mere exposure effect governs the special role of repetition in music.
In fact, repetition is so powerfully linked with musicality that its application can dramatically transform apparently non-musical materials into song.
You can buy the author’s book, ‘On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind,’ here: amazon.com
An omission: The pilot was Roger Peterson, a 21 year old newlywed. CAB investigators believed that Peterson may have misread the unusual Sperry F3 attitude indicator and become spatially disoriented. Pilots who are familiar with the crash and the plane (myself included) tend to agree with this assessment: the F3 was notoriously easy to interpret backwards. He had also not been informed of adverse weather updates.
On this day in 1959, rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”
After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.
Holly, born Charles Holley in Lubbock, Texas, and just 22 when he died, began singing country music with high school friends before switching to rock and roll after opening for various performers, including Elvis Presley. By the mid-1950s, Holly and his band had a regular radio show and toured internationally, playing hits like “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!,” “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all his own songs, many of which were released after his death and influenced such artists as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.
Another crash victim, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a disk jockey in Texas and later began writing songs. Richardson’s most famous recording was the rockabilly “Chantilly Lace,” which made the Top 10. He developed a stage show based on his radio persona, “The Big Bopper.”
Here are my “Bottom 10 Worst Christmas Songs of All Time”
Some of the songs suck so hard they are listed twice, because there was more than one horrible cover!
Feel free to share your “favorites”
10. “Deck The Halls” Pomplamoose
9. “Wonderful Christmas Time” Paul McCartney
8. “Rum Pa Pum Pum” Justin Bieber
7. “Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk On Christmas” John Denver
6. “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Rap
5. “Joy To The World” Mannheim Steamroller
4. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” Barbra Streisand
3. “The Christmas Shoes” Alabama
2. “Rum Pa Pum Pum” Hippie Drum Circle
AND THE WORST, MOST HORRIBLE, VOMITOUS SUCKBALL OF A CHRISTMAS SONG EVER:
1. “Jingle Bells” Scat Style
I have a reason to live again.
There’s new never-before-heard music coming from Johnny Cash.
Cash’s estate is releasing “Out Among the Stars,” an album he recorded with Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s that was never released by Columbia Records, then disappeared when the company dropped Cash in 1986. Turns out Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, stashed the tapes - along with just about everything else that came into their possession.
Thank you, John Carter Cash!
“We were so excited when we discovered this,” Cash said. “We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard. Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He’s pitch perfect. It’s seldom where there’s more than one vocal take. They’re a live take and they’re perfect.”
John Carter Cash doesn’t think Columbia executives realized what they had in hand. Even though his father had been a major star, tastes would soon turn to Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.
Link has a video of Sarah Vowell (!!!) talking about Johnny and June, but I’mma leave you with this JC remix that I love:
This is my first page, and I’d like to highlight some music.
This is an artist I recently discovered, performing on Jools Holland. As you can see, he has a bluesy style.
If you like the sound, check out his album: From the Ground Up. It’s on Spotify, where I came across his music. He also has a web site: johnfullbrightmusic.com
John Fullbright performs Satan and St. Paul on Later… with Jools Holland, BBC Two (12th April 2013)
John Fullbright performs Satan and St. Paul on Later… with Jools Holland, BBC Two (12th April 2013)