Iceland is a small country, as is its musical community; seeing Icelandic musicians play in Paris always brings a certain pleasure, like a game in which the object is to figure out where you have already seen the other team’s faces, to wonder if the trumpeter is the same as one spotted on tour last spring.
Mùm came out of La Maroquinerie one by one, at three minute intervals: two, then four, six, seven…With them, the blonde who also plays with Benni Hemm Hemm and the mustache last seen with Hjaltalin in November. Knowing each other’s faces made filming easy and comfortable, like recording a group of old friends.
The sun was shining, but the street in front of La Maroquinerie was deserted. Escape felt necessary, doing it by bus provided a challenge: the purchase of fifteen tickets, then getting the fifteen on and as far to the back as possible. Along the way everyone scattered amongst little old ladies and mothers laden with groceries, and as Nat steadied the camera in the crush of people, the result: Mùm slowly, quietly rolling out a song to the rhythm of the bus in the time it took to get to Buttes-Chaumont.
We’ve never had any luck with parks in Paris, our camera and the music making us an ideal target for bored park wardens. Heading through Buttes-Chaumont we were as discreet as possible, not playing any songs before arriving at Rosa Bonheur, then filing quietly to the little gazebo overlooking the lake.
Lovers stood between each column, gazing out over Paris. Not a single pair turned around, as if being serenaded during their romantic reverie was normal, expected, planned. What wasn’t planned, for us, was seeing Mùm on the return bus, improvising a cover of ‘I’ve Got the Power.’ Icelanders, sometimes, will catch you by surprise.
Translation by Tara Dominguez