Music Review: “Room,” Eivør Pálsdóttir

I’m neither a professional musician nor a professional music critic or reviewer. But I love music, and I’ve blogged about it before, so I’m trying my hand at writing a review of one of my favorite singers and her newest album.

Eivør Pálsdóttir hails from the Faroe Islands, a small island chain about halfway between England and Iceland. Her musical résumé is long and prolific, with more than ten albums (solo and collaborations) to her name. I’m a relatively new fan, but thanks to the internet, I’ve been able to hear a lot of her older stuff as well as newer music.

One of my favorite things about Eivør is her diversity in music styles—she sings everything from folk to heavy metal to lyrical ballads to world music with a tribal flair. Her newest album, Room, was just released a few weeks ago by Tutl Records. I would classify the songs on this album to be some folk-rock, some singer/songwriter style, and all with a unique Eivør twist. As a whole, this album is a beautiful showcase for Eivør’s clear soprano voice.

Similar to some of her previous albums (such as Larva and Human Child), all of the songs but one on Room are in English. “Eg Veit,” the Faroese version of the song “I Know,” is available on the digital download version of the album.

Poignancy, bitter-sweet sorrow, and loving remembrance characterize the songs. The death of her father came as Eivør was putting together Room, and she’s dedicated the album to him. The powerful and loving influence that he must have had on her life is evident in songs like “Far Away.”

While I generally dislike sad songs, no matter the subject or how well they’re sung, even the saddest songs on Room are far from depressing. Every song is tinged with promise and beauty—like the mournful song “Green Garden,” which repeats the hopeful “…waiting for the earth’s orbit to bring back spring.”

Although I’ve already picked my favorite songs of the album (“Green Garden” and “Rain” are at the top of my list), as a whole Room floats and shines like mist over an island in a cold sea. It’s well worth a listen.

Since this is supposed to be a writing blog, after a fashion, then what does this glowing review of a singer you’ve probably never heard of have to do with writing? Nothing, maybe—or perhaps everything. Writing a great song takes as much talent and work as writing a great novel or writing a great blog post. Eivør writes what’s in her heart, and she’s not afraid to share it with the world. The world is a better place because of it, too. And it’s something we can all do—write, share, and be inspired by the beauty all around.

Eivør’s website: www.eivor.com

“Rain” – acoustic version, live in the studio

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Darkness and Light

This blog entry doesn’t have a point—at least as far as useful insights or advice might go. This time I think I’ll just share my musings about two of my favorite songs (I have a lot of favorites, actually, but I’ll talk about just two here). I blogged a few weeks ago about music, how I use it in conjunction with my writing and so on—you can read it here, and I’ll try not to repeat myself for this post.

I titled this post “Darkness and Light” because of two songs that I’ve been listening to a lot lately, and that I find very inspirational for the novel that I’m working on. It also could serve as an analogy for the worlds in my fantasy novel. One country, called Pohjola, is a land of light—peace, happiness, and abundant light in the sky. The other land is called Ice-Dark, and it is appropriately dark—that’s where the bad guy lives, and there’s no sun or moon.

The “dark” song that I’m putting in this blog isn’t actually dark as in evil. It’s really about the positive side of darkness, both physical and poetic or philosophical darkness. One of my favorite lines, that I find especially inspiring for myself as a writer, is: “Imagining places that I’ve never seen, the morning of life and the end of all dreams…”

The song “Mercy of Darkness” is by Eivør Pálsdóttir, a brilliant singer and songwriter from the Faroe Islands. She has a version of this song in her native language as well, but I’ve put the English version here, gambling that more of my blog readers speak English than Faroese.

The “light” song is about actual light, as well it being a love song of sorts (at least that’s my interpretation). The title “Iđitguovssu” translates as “Dawn Light.” The singer, Máddji, is a Sami from Norway. As I mentioned in my previous post about music, part of my book takes place in Lapland or Samiland, and some of my characters are Sami.

I also happen to just really like Sami music, whether it be the traditional yoiks or the more modern music infused with flavors from other cultures.  This particular song just relaxes me, and if I’ve had a hectic day it helps to put me into a frame of mind for writing.

Does anybody else have a favorite “writing” song that provides you with comfort, inspiration, or just plain joy? Please share!