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Kria Brekkan

#27.1 – BEE XLAURA

Réal : Vincent Moon

Shot in Paris, 2006

I would have to be Kria Brekkan, whose real name is Kristin Anna Valtysdottir. If you’ve already heard about her, it’s because she’s overwhelmed the world with her singing in the Icelandic group Mùm. (Remember the masterpiece “Green Grass of Tunnels”…).

The official news had just arrived a couple days prior, and Kristin had just told me when I met up with her: she and Mùm were finished, and Mùm had already hired two new singers since her departure.
We’ll put it to rest, however. After all, she wasn’t ever more than a voice, giving her soft, recognizable touch to Ovar and Gunnar’s compositions.

One can surmise the love that would put an end to such collaboration: Kristin left Orvar to live in New York with her husband, none other than Dave “Avey Tare” Portner from Animal Collective. They may very well comprise every music-fan’s dream couple. She sang on last year’s Animal Collective album, Feels. An upcoming Avey Tare-Kria Brekkan collaboration anticipates a 2007 release, though it was written in Paris during the summer of 2005. This past summer, they performed an extraordinarily beautiful acoustic set for Planet Claire–strangely entitled the “Animal Collective Session”–featuring the Chris Smither cover “I’ve Got Mine”. The two are currently on a mini-tour through the U.S. and Canada.

Kristin and I spent the evening crossing Paris on bikes. It was a colder than expected. We began by grabbing a drink at Madame Paulo’s Petit Bar near Voltaire, before taking refuge in a deserted alley in the 12th. A scooter passed as Kristin stood in front of a wall, upholding the cliché image of the Icelandic musician: her mind elsewhere, an aloof and bashful air about her. She asked me to find her a balalaika because she didn’t have one, but she was happy enough just to play her Parisian accordion. She was discrete, delightful, and spacey. She was unsure of herself, so I had to continually reassure her about everything. It was a strange evening to try to encourage.

We quickly neared the Seine, towards the quay where young revelers pass on their way to conquer the world: at the tip of the island, facing all possibilities, cliché but well aware of the impression they give. Kristin played and sang, seated by the edge of the quay as cars passed in the background. As she sang out in English and finished the song, a guy came into view playing the harmonica. He spoke to her in French, and in response, with her small voice, Kristin said simply, “Merci.” Her music is full of these kinds of hesitations and blunders, which, combined, become something more: almost like suspended moments, each eagerly anticipating her gentle and delicate air.

She sang a little bit more for the passers-by, but it was late, so we parted: back into the cold night on our bikes.