HOYMA: An Evening like no other in the Faroe Islands

Úti í Bø 3 in Gøta, Faroe Islands – that’s the address of Klaudia and Wojtek. A sign hanging in their kitchen window – “Tað Polska Húsið” – reveals their origin: Poland. Klaudia and Wojtek are students from Cracow doing an internship in the Faroe Islands with a local architecture company. On their front door hangs another sign, saying: “HOYMA”.

Photo by Stephan Lücke

Photo by Stephan Lücke

HOYMA is about concerts in people’s homes. It is organized by the team behind the legendary Faroese G! Festival and took place last weekend. 10 different artists played 20 concerts in the living rooms of 10 different family homes in Gøta. Klaudia and Wojtek were one of those “families”. Two concerts took place at each venue. Everything is unplugged and without any sound or lighting systems.

by Stephan Lücke

Photo by Stephan Lücke

Jón Tyril, the inventor of the G! Festival, developed the idea of HOYMA a few years ago.

“The idea for this event started growing already in 2007, after G! Festival went bust”, Tyril says. Back then, he was exhausted from struggling with the big machinery behind the music festival, all the budgeting, sound and light systems, stages and security. “All this machinery also creates a huge distance between the performer and the audience. I realized that many of my most powerful music experiences had been in small and humble circumstances.”.

by mono Kristfríð Tyril

Photo: mono/Kristfríð Tyril

So Tyril wanted to get back to basics. What better way to do this than to get rid of the technology and set the stage right in the home of the spectator?

“The working title of the event was initially Anti Festival”, Tyril explains, “but it has developed first to Heimafestival which means Home Festival, and then to the final brand name HOYMA which is a derivation from the Faroese word for home ´heima´, but spelled incorrectly according to how it is pronounced in the local Gøta dialect.”.

by mono Kristfríð Tyril

Photo: mono/Kristfríð Tyril

According to Tyril, HOYMA combines two important elements of Faroese culture. The concept of ‘húsagonga’, where you go from house to house to visit each other on special occasions, and by utilizing the living room that was central to the preservation and creation of the Faroese language, storytelling and singing traditions for centuries, when the Faroese language and culture was not officially appreciated by the authorities.

by mono Kristfríð Tyril

Photo: mono/Kristfríð Tyril

On a personal note: For me, HOYMA was a gorgeous evening – an experience like no other. My highlight of the event was definitely Guðrið Hansdóttir, even though the artists were all brilliant, who sang a few songs from the lovely “Taken Ship” album which was released a few months ago. What I will also keep in mind is the kindness of the people who offered their homes – and the beautiful sound of the ocean which you could hear while going from one home to the other.

Text: Stephan Lücke