On a cold Reykjavík evening we took refuge at Mengi (the capital area’s art venue/record label) to witness JFDR bring her very own brand of graceful magic to the stage. I’ve only lived in Iceland for a short time now, but was quick to acquaint myself with the artists that I should go and see without question. I was lucky enough to catch JFDR at her performance at Reykjavík Roasters back in December (something I hope they do more of), and she hasn’t left my record collection since. Only accompanied (then) by producer/guitarist Albert Finnbogason, (who is, in his own right, more than capable of filling the sonic space required) I was keen to see what a full performance would sound like.
JFDR is the solo project by Jófriður Ákadóttir, Iceland’s busiest young talent, and along with her previous works in Samaris, Pascal Pinon and Gangly, she is only set to rise. She released her debut solo album ‘Brazil’ in 2017, with her EP’s ‘White Sun Live. Part I : Strings’ and most recent ‘Gravity EP’ released around the end of 2018. All beautiful. Get them on in your living room or during a wintery walk for the best experience.
This evening Jófriður & Albert are joined by cellist Gyða Valtýsdóttir (GYÐA), which was of great excitement to me because I am a huge fan of her album ‘Evolution’ and am yet to see her perform. This being my first trip to Mengi, I was pleased to find that it was everything that I wanted from such a venue; warm, intimate and friendly.
Taking us through her catalogue both old and new, JFDR shone in this environment. I love hearing her adapt her music constantly for each live setting and creating new moments that i’m sure i’ll miss when I return to the records. Both Albert & Gyða provided a wonderfully tasteful accompaniment that brought the music from etherial atmospheres to heady crescendos in waves that constantly ebb and flow – the dynamics here are everything. Worth noting here too, is the way that each song really seems to find it’s own space live, never really repeating a trick, Jófriður guided us through each song as they continuously evolved and took shape each time. Moving from tracks like ‘Instant Patience’ from her debut record ‘Brazil’ to ‘Gravity’ from her most recent ‘Gravity EP’ (a unique collaboration with Omnom Chocolate), we were treated to some extended parts and especially powerful vocal harmonies from Gyða & Albert that really made your hairs stand on end.
Before I knew it, an hour had passed and Jófriður warmly & politely thanked us all for coming, along with her individual band members. Closing the show with ‘White Sun’ (her biggest single to date), I slowly but surely make my way out into the cold once again, though this time with a little more added warmth.
Now it’s time for you to discover a series of Danish experimental musicians, that you didn’t know you were missing >>>
Tags: gig review, icelandic music, JFDR, Live Music, Mengi
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