From Russia, to Iceland with Love

GayIceland catches up with singer songwriter, Vasi about her fascination with the Icelandic landscape, playing music from a young age and her upcoming performance tonight at Pink Iceland’s Queer Fridays / Pop-Up Hygge and this year’s Airwaves festival.

Vasi will be performing tonight at Pink Iceland´s Queer Fridays / Pop-Up Hygge.

Vasi grew up in a Russian/American family and traveled between the states and the Urals, where her mother is from, giving her a unique perspective on life that she carries through into her music.“I grew up going back and forth a lot between San Diego and Russia, which I think provided me with a beautiful perspective regarding how people live outside of western society, often times with very little,” she says. “I started playing piano when I was 6 or 7, which is pretty typical for children with a Russian parent, and then I started studying vocal technique with an incredible teacher named Peggy Lebo. I actually still accredit her to much of my vocal ability, because she was so vital to my training process.”

Vasi’s musical journey, mimics her physical one between America and Russia and eventually on to Iceland where she now lives and performers her music. Talking about her early performances and trying to make a name for herself in a highly competitive scene, she says: “I started with performing a bit in LA, but I decided to move over to Reykjavik a couple of years ago. I think the art scene here is just much more welcoming and open compared with a big, competitive place like LA.”

“When I was 10 or 11 I started getting kind of obsessed with Iceland, I’m not completely sure why, but I think it was around the time that Eyjafjallajökull erupted and was all over the headlines.”

But ‘making it’ in music wasn’t Vasi’s only reason for moving to Iceland, as a child she admired Icelandic performers, wrote to Icelandic pen pals and developed a fascination with its bleak natural beauty. “When I was 10 or 11 I started getting kind of obsessed with Iceland, I’m not completely sure why, but I think it was around the time that Eyjafjallajökull erupted and was all over the headlines. I had a few Icelandic pen pals and adored Icelandic artists like Björk and Sigur Rós. It all just really fascinated me. Finally, the opportunity appeared to visit Iceland. When I left, I immediately got the feeling of wanting to go back, so I packed up my stuff, bought a plane ticket on a credit card, and a couple of months later I made the move to Reykjavik with around $200 in my pocket and 2 suitcases. These are the type of moments when I very much agree that sometimes you have to take big risks in life, especially if they feel right on an intuitive level.”

Now where she wants to be and making roads into Iceland’s music scene, Vasi has released a new single entitled ‘HOUSE’ and accompanying video. The song focuses on the themes of home as something within yourself, not defined as four walls and a ceiling or even a physical place – which seems to fit in very well with this young traveller’s story of a life lived between countries and continents.
“‘HOUSE’ is a song written during my early days in Iceland. It was a confusing time for me, and I was far away from everything I had ever known. It was isolating in so many ways but reflective at the same time and I learned to rely on myself and on what’s within for support. ‘HOUSE’ is about the fact no matter where you go to, you take yourself with you … You can create your own home, because a true home is not based off of a physical location, rather the interpretation of this sacred space you create for yourself. That’s why the lyrics are ‘But that house just isn’t home, cause our home is somewhere else, somewhere that we lift ourselves, a life that makes us feel so whole, a life that wraps us up in warmth’”.

“‘HOUSE’ is a song written during my early days in Iceland. It was a confusing time for me, and I was far away from everything I had ever known.”

In the video for ‘HOUSE’ the stark and rugged beauty of Iceland’s natural landscape takes center stage, and it is clear that Vasi has been inspired by it. “It is so harsh and stark out in Icelandic nature, yet hauntingly beautiful. I’d say a lot of my lyrics mimic this style, because they’re a bit dark and emotional, but at the same time they always present a thoughtful meaning and usually try to bring up an emotion or question that has been lingering in my mind for a while. There are so many geological processes going on under the Earth that we have no idea about, and just considering this really makes you think. Much like my music, Icelandic nature is not always what it seems.”

Whilst ‘HOUSE’ pays homage to Iceland’s rugged beauty and natural cycles, Vasi’s costumes in the video are floaty and ethereal, and create a beautiful contrast on film.
“We had about 6 different locations planned during the shoot, each one with a different makeup/hair concept and also costume. This was on purpose, because the only thing consistent in each shot was that I was featured in it. Michael Thor Paoli was the stylist on the project. He physically sewed each costume on me before the shot, and at the start it was all just carefully selected pieces of fabrics that he prepared in advance. I wore a corset on that day, and the fabrics were then wrapped and draped around this structured base, but these pieces were a once in a lifetime chance, because after the scene was done, they were deconstructed and just became fabric again.
I felt like this process represents life and death quite brilliantly.”

Vasi will be playing tonight at Pink Icelands’s Queer Fridays / Pop-Up Hygge and at the Iceland Airwaves festival in November, and feels ‘honoured and excited’ to be invited to perform. When asked what audiences could expect from her performance she says: “I like to think of my music as lyric heavy, and hopefully the audience can sense the poetic nature of the songs and interpret the lyrics for themselves. The themes are a lot about usual human emotions, things that most humans can relate to, so I hope that the people listening feel understood if they have been alone in the midst of some internal battle.”

Vasi is currently working on an EP, which is being produced by by Árstíðir frontman, Gunnar Már Jakobsson and Faroese electro producer, SAKARIS.

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.


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.

      - 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.

      - 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. “

      - 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.

        - 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).

        - 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.


        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.


        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
        -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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