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Concerts à emporter

Valgeir Sigurðsson

Valgeir Sigurdson is a busy man,

…and us, we are dreaming of encircling him with the vivacious forces of Bedroom Community, his label; we’re only there for a week, and he only has an hour. We’re at a lodge belonging to Daniel Bjarnasson, conductor of the Iceland Philharmonic, where we finally managed to spend some time together––with luck, the concert materializes and all is in good order. We are at Harpa, the Icelandic temple of music in the very seedbed of the country’s musical creativity, just think: 1 space for 60 inhabitants.

Decidedly it will be at Sigurdson’s place in the Green House Studio, but he’s promised us Nadja, Daniel, Petrus and Ben, and an impromptu reinterpretation of one of their collective compositions. The sheet music spills right out of the printer, sugar waffles dipped in honey are scarfed down in a hurry, their spouses are here–one closes the soundproof door–as they rehearse, sixteenth notes, powwows to correct melodies and runs, the seamless back-and-forth of bows. “I’m improvising over the harmony”, shouts Petrus on violin, it will be percussion and harp for Ben Frost, who was just pulled from a mixing session (a group playing symphonic metal, if I remember correctly).

Daniel has traded his three-piece suit for an amorphous sweater, well worn slippers and a pair of chunky black glasses. He’s tall in stature as always, less imposing than at Harpa, and entirely at home here. Nadja hasn’t yet released her solo album through Bedroom Community; she works stairways of melody all the way to heaven and back, waiting to couple them all in song with the help of the three percussionists.

Valgeir chooses his words carefully and issues them sparsely, a strait face: even when relaxed the thoughts moving behind his eyes seem unattainable. He gathers up energy and internalizes it; the outpourings will come later, after the freshly arranged piece is executed, after the promise of this session is honored, this Past Tundra that David, Jonathan and I inhale with the zeal of nearly drowned men, to be left breathless in the presence of its beauty.