Track: Gabríel Ólafs – Bambaló

Anna Maggy

24-year-old Icelandic composer Gabríel Ólafs who’s gearing up to release his new album ‘Lullabies for Piano and Cello’ on the 9th of June via Decca Records US. The album is inspired by a famous collection of rare Icelandic folk songs Gabriel found at a local bookshop in Reykjavik. He was accompanied by cellist Steiney Sigurðardóttir, and the duo tracked the album in Reykjavik’s Eldborg Concert Hall.

Ólafs comments:

“Lullabies encapsulate both history and nostalgia,” he explains. “When I’m writing music, nostalgia is my favourite feeling to capture. It’s a complex emotion because it evokes both sadness and happiness at the same time. I also like to keep things simple—and lullabies certainly are. They’re based on melody first, which is always big for me.”

“A big part of any nation’s musical history is in song,” he observes.

“The Vikings of Iceland were among the first people in the world to document life properly with text. We’re a big book nation, but there isn’t much music—especially from early on. I realised our music lives on through moments of families singing together to comfort one another in difficult times. No matter where you’re from, one of the most common musical memories is your mother singing lullabies to you.”

Beyond his own family experiences, he recalled hearing of a famous book entitled Icelandic Folk Songs. Originally published in 1906, this out-of-print tome collated various folk numbers and lullabies with rare sheet music. At the suggestion of a friend, Gabríel found a copy. He decided to not only reimagine five of the book’s tunes, but to also pen five of his own lullabies as an homage and response to tradition.

“Half of the album was composed by me, and the rest is recomposed melodies,” he reveals.

“I’m taking some liberties, changing a few notes, and re-harmonising things. I’m basically filling in the blanks. I chose the melodies that have impacted our culture for 1,000 years or more.”

The mournful cello contrasts with the delicate notes that ring out with the piano’s sweetness as the track’s theme is scratched out. It’s a captivating piece that transports you away before dumping you back into reality just short of 3 minutes later.

Check it out the track Bambaló, below:

Find out more via Ólafs Website or Facebook

Presave/preorder the album here

Previous Say Psych: Album Review: Moonwalks - Western Mystery Tradition
Next Track: ONI - 'Silence In A Room Of Lies’ ft. Jared Dines

No Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.