Eclectic Eivør brings Faroe Islands culture to everything she does
She’s unconstrained by stylistic boundaries, sings with crystalline purity, enjoys creative collaborations with performers from around the globe, and hails from a windswept island in the middle of the icy North Atlantic—but her name is not Björk.
Instead, we’re talking about Eivør Pálsdóttir, a musician who’s just on the cusp of being discovered in North America.
As with her Icelandic counterpart, it’s difficult and probably pointless to put a single label on what it is that she does. She’s a country-and-western troubadour who beats a shamanic drum. She’s an operatic soprano who has her own rock band, Clickhaze. She’s worked with beat-driven electronic musicians, and at her TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival appearance she’ll guest with the folk-jazz quintet Yggdrasil before performing a set of her own tunes. No matter what the context, though, she’s always strongly grounded in the music and the landscape of her homeland, the Faroe Islands.
“In the Faroes, the culture of singing is very strong, and people sing a lot,” she explains from Copenhagen. “When the fishermen go out to catch the fish, for instance, they have a song they sing on the way out. There are many songs for different occasions, and I think just automatically nature weaves into the sound of the music.”
Unsurprisingly, the artist known simply as Eivør feels a great affinity for the fiords and islands of Canada’s West Coast, and we’re probably going to be seeing more of her in future. Upcoming in 2013 is her starring role in part-time Victoria resident Gavin Bryars’s chamber opera Anyone can see I love you, based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. And this fall will see the release of her eighth solo effort, Room, which includes four songs cowritten with Bryars’s librettist, Vancouver Island poet Marilyn Bowering.
“I started writing the music when I was so unfortunate to lose my dear father, two years ago now,” the 28-year-old singer explains. “Most of the songs are about this empty room that you feel inside when something precious disappears from your life.
“I feel like I’ve found something very special, but I guess everybody says that,” she adds more cheerfully. “But in this record I really feel that I connected with something. My last record was more of a rock record, while my previous records have been closer to folk music. But this record is a link between my traditional folk stuff and my last album, and I think it’s a very important record to me.”
Eivør plays Performance Works on Monday (June 25) as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.