A native of the rugged north of Iceland, troubadour and storyteller Svavar Knútur has dedicated his life to exploring the human condition through the lens of his country's dark and often tragic history and unique melodies and narrative style.
Channeling the angst ridden serenity of long dark winters and the insomnia of the 24 hour glaring summer sun, this eclectic musician has in recent years blossomed into a sublime singer and songwriter. Knutur's songs of misery and redemption deliver a healthy dose of hope in the midst of despair. A humoristic storyteller and avid diver into the murky waters of the human condition, Svavar Knútur sows and reaps a unique mixture of art and entertainment.
Drawing upon a wide range of influences, three of Svavar Knutur's most governing ones are without doubt Nick Drake, Will Oldham (Bonnie Prince Billy) and Kris Kristofferson, although such artists as Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, Joni MItchell, Nick Cave and many more singer/songwriters have contributed to the icelandic troubadour's development.
Knutur's songwriting has not gone unnoticed internationally, as his song Astarsaga ur fjollunum (Love story from the mountains) propelled his band Hraun to participate in the final 5 competition on BBC World Service's Next big thing, playing for millions of viewers and listeners all over the world. Knutur has already released two albums along with his band Hraun, where he is the main songwriter.
Svavar's debut solo Album, Kvöldvaka (songs by the fire), came out in 2009 and has received great critical acclaim. Exploring the difficult journey from misery to redemption, Kvöldvaka is still a joyful celebration of triumph over adversity.
His sophomore album, Amma (songs for my grandmother), a tribute to the heritage of icelandic folk music, held the top position in the Icelandic charts for two weeks and stayed in the top ten for months. Recorded in his best friend’s living room in front of a room full of family and close friends, it is as intimate as an album can become.
Svavar third solo album Ölduslóð (way of waves) continues where Kvöldvaka left off, exploring the hazardous shores of happiness. Featuring collaborations with Czech singer/songwriter Markéta Irglová of Swell Season renown, it is a deeper and ultimately a little darker album than Kvöldvaka, even if the theme is happier.
Brot (The Breaking), Svavar's fourth solo album, pushed from the shores where Ölduslóð (way of waves) walked. Again, collaborating with Markéta Irglová as well as his long time musical companion Kristjana Stefansdóttir. Featuring some more band oriented songs, Brot also walks the quiet path. A story of a continuing journey on the waves of the human condition.
In 2018, Svavar Knútur released the first part of a larger project called Ahoy. The album, Ahoy! Side A, featured five new and four repainted songs. An eclectic mix of songs, all exposing different sides of Svavar's sometimes mercurial, but ever loving attitude to life and the world.
His album art is a collaboration with his young daughter Dagbjört Lilja, an ever developing series of portraits of the artist.
Svavar Knútur has in the recent years toured Australia, the U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain and Europe extensively and is resolved to keep up the pace.
Svavar is also the first recipient of the Anna Pálína Árnadóttir memorial award for folk music excellence in Iceland. The award was in recognition for Svavar’s continued exploration of new waters in modern folk music both lyrically and musically, a tireless effort to bring older folk music to young audiences and for his continous work on helping out young and emerging artists.
“A night with Svavar will bring you to hell and back, and you’ll be smiling and laughing all the way.” - Pete Uhlenbruch, Australian musician and music blogger.