Sigga Eir is here with Saturday morning Sing-A-Longs to help queer families through social distancing. GayIceland chatted with Sigga about her project and about queer parenthood.
Do you identify with any of the following letters? L. G. B. T. Q. Q. I. P. 2. S. A. A. – Wait, Michael, what is that 2 doing in there? Since when do we queer folk identify with numbers?
Well, welcome to 2020 my friends, it’s a wonderful world full of new challenges and customs to understand. 2020 is out there making all of us super uncomfortable, and no, the 2 isn’t for 2-meter distancing rules, it’s for two-spirited people who identify with the ancient concept of having 2 souls inside one body. Our family has grown a lot since the last pride parade you attended. You heard it first first!
Now, next question, are you a queer parent?
Or maybe just a queer person who’s great with kids? Maybe you’re the favorite guncle at family Christmas parties or that extra fun sibling that always treats their nieces and nephews to Valdís when mama isn’t around…
Whether you’re fond of little tykes or not, you’ll want to tune in on Facebook Live today at 13:00 for Sigga Eir Zophoníasardóttir’s online show. If you’re queer and a parent/guardian, your attendance is mandatory! With the times changing as fast as Icelandic weather, artists like Sigga have gotten more creative about the way they perform.
You might know Sigga Eir from Hljómsveitin Eva (The Band Called Eva), her music with Vala Höskuldsdóttir. They got together in 2013 while studying for a BA in performance art at the Art Academy of Iceland and haven’t stopped playing since. Sigga also performs regularly at a private little club near Öskjuhlið called Leikskólinn Askja.
Never been? Honestly, you’re missing out! Sigga’s often there weekly performing for the students, two of which are her own.
Can we get an Amen for the winner of the Mom of the Year Award?When she’s not performing with A Band Called Eva, all of Sigga’s solo content is geared toward breaking the stereotypes Icelandic children grow up with. That means that all the traditional gender pronouns are thrown out the window so everyone, no matter what their gender or identity, can relate to the song. This might seem like a small edit to a very large collection of absolute classics like Afa Söngur and Prumpufólkið, but it’s an important one. Most traditional Icelandic children’s songs are sung with male pronouns.
Sigga believes that to change the conversation and change the children’s perception of what family can mean, songs about Mama and Pabbi need to be changed to reflect the changing times. That way when she or any of the children’s guardians pick up their kids from school, there’s no awkwardness.
How do you find queer parenthood compared to what most would say is “traditional” parenthood?
Sigga: “Well, I’ve never really known anything but queer parenthood, I was never a “traditional” parent before becoming an LGBT+ one. There are some little differences here and there though. In Iceland, we have it very good and most things are the same as any other parent. However, the other day I was signing up my child for school next year and the form only allowed a spot for mother and father.
I think these are the things we need to think about when we design the world around us. Not just for kids, but redesigning everything to be inclusive. That way neither me or Tótla, my children’s other mother, need to assume the role of ‘Pabbi’ on an application. At the end of the day, I’m proud to be an unconventional parent. Being LGBT+ doesn’t change the important parts of parenthood.”
Where did the idea for this söngstund/performance begin?
Sigga: “Well this is actually something that I’ve been doing for the Samtökin 78 community for a long time. Before COVID-19, they had what we called Sunday family gatherings where LGBT+ families can bring their young ones to get together and play and chat. I usually keep the kids entertained there with a few of these songs. This project is about keeping that culture going while we’re all apart.”
How did A Band Called Eva get started?
Sigga: “I didn’t know how to play the guitar at that point so I taught myself how to and that was part of our statement. Being girls that don’t know how to make music but still doing it. there are so many garage bands with boys that just form a band without knowing how to make music, but they just do it, and we wanted to do that.
In short, we practice imperfection. Vala and I have often had difficulties defining our music because, in theory, we are a punk band that likes to add feminist touches to our music, but in style or genre, we are almost a pop band. Maybe you could call it folk-pop, we have sometimes said that we play easy-listening country.”
What’s the setlist for today’s show? What songs should we expect?
Sigga: “The lineup for the show has been chosen by my kids mostly. I’ll be playing a bunch of their favorites and then people can comment during the event and ask for requests. So if you’re listening and want to hear a song you love, just shout!”
So, that’s it folks! Stay tuned for more content from Sigga Eir and Samtökin 78 as we navigate these strange times.
Who: Sigga Eir from A Band Called Eva
What: A little Saturday session for the kids
Where: Facebook Live on Samtökin 78’s page
When: Saturday, May 16th at 13:00
Sigriður Eir Zophoníasardóttir
Facebook: A Band Called Eva
ABOUT SAMTÖKIN 78
Samtökin ’78 is an organization interested in the struggle for queer people in Iceland. The group’s goal is for anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, intersex, trans, or queer to be visible and recognized and enjoy the fullest rights in Icelandic society.
The organization provides education for school groups, professionals, companies, and institutions tailored to the needs of each group.
Six professional counselors work at the NGO that provides counseling to individuals and or their relatives on any matter of the opposite. There is also a lawyer working within Samtökin’78. The advice is always free. You can make an appointment by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samtökin ’78 runs a cultural and service center on Suðurgata 3 in Reykjavik.