Daughters of the Northern Islands

Iceland and the Faroe Islands have produced two extraordinary women singers.

4/19/20233 min read

Pictured below are two of Scandinavia's most captivating singers, who both come from sparsely-populated rocky islands, situated in the stormy North Atlantic. Pictured in costume is the Icelandic singing sensation, Bjork Guomundsdottir. while in the other photograph, there is Eivor Palsdottir, holding a guitar. Eivor hails from the Faroe Islands, which are located southeast of Iceland near Scotland.

Bjork was born in 1965, while Eivor is eighteen years younger, having come into this world in 1983. Bjork is an international household name, while Eivor's popularity is limited mostly to Scandinavia and the UK. In appearance, Bjork is relatively short with a dark complexion (for Iceland), while Eivor is taller with Nordic features.

What the two women do share are extraordinary vocal talents, similar languages and an Old Norse custom of naming. Though their Mother tongues vary (Icelandic vs. Faroese), both women have family names that begin with the father's first name and end with dottir (Old Norse for daughter). For example, Bjork is the daughter of Guomunds, thus the last name, Guomundsdottir, a handle, which she keeps for the rest of her life.
Same is true for Eivor, who is the daughter of a man, named Pals.

The Two Women

Eivor Palsdottir singing
Eivor Palsdottir singing
Bjork in Paris
Bjork in Paris

Bjork in Paris in 2022

A younger Eivor is pictured here, playing the guitar.

Eivor's Career Takes Off With a Song About A Wizard

Featured in a video below is Eivor singing her signature song, Trollbundin. With just a drum and some astounding vocals, the singer tells the sparse story of a young lady, whose soul is captured by a powerful wizard. The lyrics are simple and terse, as is the drumming. Even the addition near the end of a man pounding on a drum set does little to change the dynamics of the song. For an English translation, you can listen to this version.

Eivor Palsdottir began her musical career by appearing on TV as a teenager. Since then she has released many albums and songs, as her style has gone through many stages that include folk, traditional, pop, jazz, electronic and even classical. Jazz infused pop might be the best way to describe her most recent releases, which are readily available on Youtube. Most noticeable about her recent work is the abandonment of her solo performance for the accompaniment of a backup band.

Amazing Bjork

Bjork broke into the public eye, when she debuted on Saturday Night Live as part of the Icelandic band, The Sugar Cubes. Not long thereafter, the young lady moved to London and went solo, releasing her fist solo album, called Debut, in 1993. The rest of that decade were a most productive time for the singer, as she left her distinctive mark on the Electronic music scene.

Now that Bjork is approaching the sixty year mark, she continues to amaze and entertain audiences around the world. Nowhere is this better evident than in the newly released video featured below. It's called Fossera and is well worth a watch. And in case you are uncertain of the analogy, all those funny shapes are supposed to resemble the fungi of the forest. I'm not so sure about the costumed musicians and Bjork herself, but they could well be forest spirits.

Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands

Nes on the island of Eysturoy is a scenic small village in the Faroe Islands