Söngvakeppnin: What do the experts think?

In February twelve songs will compete for the chance to represent Iceland in The Eurovision Song Contest. We spoke to a panel of experts and asked what they think about the finalists. Our first question was: Which songs will do well in this year’s Söngvakeppni?

Eurovision season is kicking off, along with Iceland's 30 year anniversary in the contest. Iceland debuted in 1986 and sent the ICY trio to Norway, with their song “Gleðibankinn”, which reached a mere 16th place. Despite bad results, the nation was hooked and the Eurovision Song Contest has been a big part of the nation ever since. All though the victory is yet to come, the interest remains, and almost everybody gathers around their TV's to determine which song will represent the country in Stockholm in May.
Eurovision season is kicking off, along with Iceland’s 30 year anniversary in the contest. Iceland debuted in 1986 and sent the ICY trio (Eiríkur Hauksson, Helga Möller and Pálmi Gunnarsson, pictured) to Norway, with their song “Gleðibankinn”, which reached a mere 16th place. Despite bad results, the nation was hooked and the Eurovision Song Contest has been a big part of the nation ever since. All though the victory is yet to come, the interest remains, and almost everybody gathers around their TV’s to determine which song will represent the country in Stockholm in May.

Reynir: “That’s a rather tricky question, since I have a hard time choosing between the songs that I myself support, and the ones I think the Icelandic nation will vote for. I think its safe to say that Pálmi (Gunnarsson) and his song “Ég leiði þig heim” will be a top three material, especially since it’s been 30 years since the song “Gleðibankinn” competed in Bergen (Pálmi was a member of the ICY trio, Iceland’s first ESC participants, who performed it).
There is also a possibility that Elísabet Ormslev will do well with Greta Salóme’s song “Á ný”, which in my opinion is a much better song. The ICY nostalgia might give her an extra push, since she is the daughter of Helga Möller (who was also a member of ICY).
Greta’s other song, “Raddirnar” could also do very well, and Sigga Eyrún’s “Kreisí”. And its impossible to exclude Ingó and “Fátækur námsmaður”.”

Laufey: “I think both of Greta’s songs will do well. “Raddirnar” has an ethnic sound and the lyric is haunting. Plus, her staging will without a doubt be perfect. And the song reminds me of “Only Teardrops”, which is a huge asset. Greta’s other song, “Á Ný” has an Adele sound to it and has some serious violin in it, which is always a good gimmick. Plus the singer Elísabet Ormslev is widely popular after her participation in some talent show (The Voice-Ísland).

Elísabet Ormslev.
Elísabet Ormslev, with “Á ný”.

There is also something crazy about Sigga Eyrún’s “Kreisí”. After first listening to it, I got the feeling that it might actually win. This is a feeling that every Eurovision fanatic gets at some point, and should not be ignored! But it sort of reminds me of an insanely annoying Facebook song from San Marino, but whatever. Sigga Eyrún is nothing but a great performer and the staging will be top-notch!
Ingó, the former weather-god, will definitely make it to the finals and his song about a poor student will be what Iceland’s kindergarten children will chant religiously till summer. “Spring yfir heiminn” might gain some popularity amongst the young adults, if the staging is good. Also “Augnablik” could do well. Apparently the singer Alda Dís is also quite popular and if I’m not mistaken, is the winner of some other talent show (Ísland got talent).”

“I’m looking forward to see live performances, because that could alter my view big time.”

Flosi: “If Icelanders don’t want any major changes, then they’ll go for “Augnablik” or “Raddirnar”. It’s a “play it safe” move. However, I desperately want “Kreisí” to do some serious damage. It’s different and Sigga Eyrún will definitely have a powerful act and stage presence, and I can see good things happening, should that song be given a chance.”

Ingó (often referred to as Ingó "weather god" because he was frontman of the band Ingó and the weather gods.)
Ingó (often referred to as Ingó “weather god” because he was frontman of the band Ingó and the weather gods.)

Sigrún: “I’m imagining how the songs will sound and look like on the big stage, but there’s really no way of knowing what happens live. Some are born to perform live, others sound better in a studio.
With that said, I believe that Ingó and “Fátækur námsmaður” will fly straight into the finals. The song might not be my cup of tea, but there’s always a devoted group that loves that “country dance” atmosphere that Ingó has going on. He also has a top-notch stage presence, is ridiculously charming and will definitely “own” the audience.
Elísabet Ormslev will slay with “Á ný”. She’s a charming singer with “a juicy chocolatey” sound to her voice. In the studio-version the song is a little weak, but it has that “goosebump” element nonetheless. I’m hoping that Elísabet’s power will reach Icelanders and totally bitch slap them! Plus, Greta Salóme is no amateur when it comes to staging and delivering the song. She has THEATER written all over her, and if she goes full force with the wind machine, we have contact!
Sigga Eyrún is a professional and she will deliver “Kreisí” like it “aint no thang”. This computer game song is vastly different from the other songs, and I have no doubt that the staging will be entertaining, with dancers, out of this world costumes and freaky moves to go with it. Sigga also has a solid fan base since her appearance in Söngvakeppnin two years ago, where she was the runner-up.”

Which songs “turn you on”?

Sigga Eyrún.
Sigga Eyrún, with “Kreisí”.

Reynir: “The songs that completely “baked” me are “Spring yfir heiminn”, “Óstöðvandi”, “Kreisí”, and “Raddirnar”. They are just all such a delight to listen to!”

Laufey: “At this point, there isn’t a song that turns me on, so to speak. But that might change based on staging and live performance. But like I said, that song “Kreisí” is stalking me!”

Flosi: “Kreisí” makes me wanna dance, and I’m dying to use it in my Zumba classes. I was also a big fan of the 2013 winner of ESC, “Only Teardrops” and “Augnablik” is a very similar song, and I think it’s beautiful. I am a sucker for diva like voices, so I can’t wait to see how it will turn out live.“

Sigrún: “Now” is turning me on! Which is sort of tricky, because the Icelandic version of the song “Augnablik” doesn’t do anything for me at all.
“Kreisí” is also a huge turn on, because I’m such a computer geek and I just love the sound. Plus it reminds me of Pís of keik (an Icelandic dance band from the 90’s). I was and still am a huge fan of them and “Kreisí” is right there, nostalgic wise. And I just love the scream that comes before the chorus!
“Á ný” also turns me on, and its all because of Elísabet’s voice which is simply a feast for the ears. I’m hoping for a lot more power live, than in the studio version.”

From left: Pálmi (with “Ég leiði þig heim”), Þórdís & Guðmundur (“Spring yfir heiminn”), and Karlotta (“Óstöðvandi”).

Which songs “turn you off”?

Reynir:Pálmi’s song and Ingó’s song. They’re beautifully written and produced, but they just don’t “do it” for me.”

Laufey: “I had such high hopes for Pálmi returning “home” to Söngvakeppnin. After all, it’s been 30 years since he and ICY competed in Bergen. Unfortunately his song “Ég leiði þig heim” is a tad too much “Söngvakeppni 1993”. However I will enjoy watching him on stage, and there has to be something for everybody, right? I’m also struggling to make myself like Eva and their song “Ég sé þig”. I enjoyed their performance in “Gullna Hliðið” (a play), and the lyrics are beautiful. They will definitely shine on stage but the song itself is weak. I’m sorry.”

Flosi: “I just……wow, sorry! I snoozed when I listened to Pálmi’s song. Says all there is about that one.”

Sigrún: “I’m sorry, but this year, so many of the songs are completely flat. They start off well, but then nothing happens. I feel like I’ve heard them all before, like they’re clones of countless other songs in Söngvakeppnin and Eurovision in general. I wish that this selection committee would take some chances. Just once! That would add some needed variety in the contest. But I’m looking forward to see live performances, because that could alter my view big time.”

This year’s possible “dark horse”?

Sigríður Eir and Vala, a.k.a. the band Eva.
Sigríður Eir and Vala, a.k.a. the band Eva, with the song “Ég sé þig”.

Reynir: “I would be very surprised if Pálmi doesn’t sail straight to the finals, because of the nostalgia that is sweeping across Iceland this year.”

Laufey: “I think that “Óstöðvandi” is the dark horse this year. It’s clearly performed with some real emotions and it catches your attention from the beginning with an unknown singer like Karlotta. Maybe this is the jury wildcard?!”

Flosi: “I think “Kreisí” is the ultimate dark horse. But then again, Elísabet Ormslev might just come and blow us all away with her diva voice.”

Sigrún: “My money is on the band Eva. First of all because the lyrics of their song are so simple and uplifting. It’s such a sweet song containing such a beautiful message. Its peace-loving mood and coziness will affect everybody. Second of all because the Icelandic public is not that familiar with band members Vala and Sigríður Eir. The studio version is leaving me a little blank. Vala and Sigríður shine better when performing live and will without a doubt sing their way straight into the hearts of viewers, with their honesty and simplicity.”

Which song will stand the best chance in Stockholm?

Reynir: “Now I’m imagining the songs performed in English, and thinking that “Kreisí”, “Óstöðvandi” and both of Greta’s songs will stand the best chance, because of their modern sounds.”

Alda Dís.
Alda Dís, singer of “Augnablik”.

Laufey: “Unfortunately I don’t think that any of the 12 songs will stand a good chance in Stockholm. But a gun to my head, I would bet on Greta Salóme. However I’m not ready to write off “Kreisí”. That song haunts me for some reason.”

Flosi: “I would say “Augnablik”, “Kreisí” and “Raddirnar”. Alda Dís is a beautiful girl with a great deal of charm, and if she handles the pressure, she will sweep Europe off its feet! Sigga is simply amazing and the song is wonderfully quirky. Greta’s “Raddirnar” could become the ultimate power ballad and with the right backup vocals, it could in fact win the whole thing!”

Sigrún: “Augnablik” is my obvious choice. After I heard the English lyrics I was hooked. Everything simply works better in English; The rhythm of the song, Alda’s voice and the lyrics are light years better than in the Icelandic version! It has the perfect flow in English, but when sung in Icelandic it sort of flatlines. The song’s build up is amazing and Alda’s voice syncs perfectly with the backing vocals and that deep drum sound. There’s also a subtle Of Monsters and Men sound to it, which doesn’t ruin anything on my part. This song would sound fresh and upbeat in Stockholm and probably charm everybody.”

The Experts

Reynir Þór Eggertsson is Iceland’s best known Eurovision fanatic. He is a walking Encyclopedia when it comes to Eurovision and has been seen in practically every Eurovision related program there is in Iceland. He’s a steady on the show “Alla Leið” which is hosted by Iceland’s present commentator, Felix Bergsson, where they along with group of selected individuals, judge the songs that compete in the Eurovision Song Contest each year.

Laufey Helga Guðmundsdóttir is a solicitor by day, but a true Eurocraze by night (and pretty much always). She handles the event and promotions category for FÁSES, the Icelandic Eurovision fanclub, and knows a thing or two about the contest.

Flosi Jón Ófeigsson is also a member of FÁSES and has attended more than one and more than two Eurovision contests in his lifetime. He has also raised his voice on numerous occasions and along with his friend Eiríkur Þór Hafdal, is the reigning king of OGAE International Cover Contest, which was held in Vienna last spring alongside the big contest itself. Who said Iceland never wins Eurovision?

Sigrún Huld might be a name that is not familiar to a lot of people, but in the Icelandic Eurovision-world, she is well-known.
Sigrún is the ultimate Euro-nerd, and is relentless during Eurovision season. She watches practically every single national finals there is, and is the administrator for the ever so popular Facebook page: Júróvisjón 2016. She has stuff to say and is not afraid to say it!

You can listen to the Icelandic songs here.

Photos of contestants/Courtesy of RÚV.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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