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Fri February 7, 2014
Asgeir Trausti Breaks The "Silence" In English
Last year at Austin’s South By Southwest Festival, a muscular, shy young man with a fairly pronounced sunburn arrived for an interview with me.
Asgeir Trausti had recently arrived from a howling storm in Iceland. He shared a video on his cell which confirmed the conditions-- all dark skies and driving snow. On that same day, Austin was experiencing a fairly typical spring day, with warm temperatures, clear blue skies and gorgeous sunshine. It all went to Asgeir’s head--and his face, and his arms,which were glowing pink!
Asgeir was utterly charming and somewhat bashful, which was all the more endearing, as he is a superstar in his native Iceland. His first CD is to be found in a tenth of all Icelandic homes. Asgeir had hoped to find a career in sports but developed a sports-related injury and turned to singing. He told me that he intended to re-record “Dyro I Daudapogn” in English, and indeed he has. It has just been released. When I started listening, I thought I was hearing a brand new album. In English, the songs take on a whole new resonance. The tracks on “In The Silence” are in exactly the same order as Asgeir’s 2013 Icelandic version, but understanding the words makes the lyrics so much more significant. These are deeply romantic, thoughtful lyrics; the words of seven of the ten songs of were written by Ageir’s father, a man who obviously appreciates all that life has to offer.
When did you last hear words like 'You were my heart flower, my poetry, my song… serendipity smiled down on me' (Track 10, “On That Day”)? Exactly! Icelandic performers seem to conjure up the Nordic sounds we almost expect from the top of the world: cool, ethereal, definitely other-worldly, and this CD is no exception. The original lyrics have been translated into English by John Grant, an American songwriter associated with the Denver-based group, the Czars, and instrumentation is provided by, amongst others, his brother. Asgeir Trauste has the potential to be a superstar in the English-speaking world with his seductive singing and soaring vocals, so as a twenty-one-year-old from a sheltered background, it’s a huge plus to have a family involved, I hope his fame and fortune will be all he anticipates.
World Music At SXSW