Hjálmar- Órar (CD)
Out in Oct 2011
One song from the album, Ég teikna stjörnu.
Yes, you did read that right. Maybe it was the long Icelandic summer days that in 2004 inspired a group of friends to combine their passion for the sounds of Jamaica with the sounds of their homeland to create a unique blend of warm, old school reggae, sung entirely in Icelandic. Hugely respected, admired and loved in Iceland Hjalmar have until been one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. If you do one thing in 2011, make sure you become part of what will soon be a new movement in international music – the warmest of reggae from the North Atlantic.
Þorsteinn Einarsson: Guitar and Vocals
Sigurður Guðmundsson: Hammond and Vocals
Guðmundur Kristinn Jónsson: Guitar
Valdimar Kolbeinn Sigurjónsson: Bass
Helgi Svavar Helgason: Drums
The Icelandic band Hjálmar has in the four years since its creation in 2004 become something of a cultural phenomenon in its home country.
The band that started out as an Icelandic reggae experiment managed, despite the disbelief of established record labels, to touch the island's souls with its capturing mixture of sunny reggae and Icelandic musical roots. The band's authentic sound, sincerity and respect for the music and audience as well have made Hjálmar one of Iceland's most cherished bands with an appeal to a wide group of people. The band's live performances are extremely tight, energetic, and colorful and at the same time relaxed. Beautiful vibes overtake every crowd it performs before and people sing and chant along the contagious musical joy Hjálmar extends to its audience.
Hjálmar's original band members were Sigurður Guðmundsson, Þorsteinn Einarsson, Guðmundur Kristinn Jónsson and Kristinn Snær Agnarsson from Iceland, including Petter Winnberg from Sweden. When the band started playing in the summer of 2004 it quickly made a big impact on the Icelandic music scene and soon it overfilled every show and venue in Reykjavik. Its first album named Hljóðlega af stað (e. A Quite Take-Off) was released in September 2004 and got astounding reviews. It sold extremely well and was more than 35 weeks on the list for the best selling albums in Iceland. Critics cherished the album and chanted the new musical path no one in Iceland had dared to go before. band In the beginning of the year 2005 the band was the talk of the town and received two awards at the Icelandic Music Awards; "Best Newcomers" and "Best Rock Album". The band was also nominated for the best live act. Later in the year 2005 the band transformed into an Icelandic / Swedish group when Kristinn Snær left to be replaced by percussionist Nils Olof Törnqvist. Mikael Svensson simultaneously joined the group on keyboard. This was the combination of the band when it produced its second album Hjálmar, released in September 2005. The album was just as critically acclaimed as the first one and got nominated as the "Best Pop Album" at the Icelandic Music Awards. Once again Hjálmar was also nominated for the best live act. The song, Ég vil fá mér kærustu (e. I want a Girlfriend) was the most played song on Station 2 of the Icelandic National Radio that same year.
The band's third album Ferðasót (e. Dusty from Travelling) came out in November 2007. Although the band was still mainly playing reggae, this third album showed tendency towards more aggressive music as well as strong references to Icelandic musical tradition and folk music in general. The texts were also more personal and at the Icelandic Music Awards 2007 Þorsteinn Einarsson, Hjálmar's main text writer, got nominated as the text writer of the year.
Just shortly after the release of Ferðasót the Swedish part of the band was replaced by local drummer Helgi Svavar Helgason, and bass player Valdimar Kolbeinn Sigurjónsson.
In July 2008 Hjálmar joined forces with Swedish rapper and songwriter Timbuktu for the song Dom hinner aldrig ikapp. The song was an instant radio hit in Iceland and was released on Timbuktu's album En high 5 & 1 Falafel later that year.
In May 2009, Hjálmar went to Jamaica to record at the famous Harry J Studio and the Tuff Gong Studio, along with local reggae artists such as Cat Coore, Sticky, Robbie Lyn and Dean Fraser. Those recordings ended up on Hjálmar's fourth album, IV, that was released in September 2009.
The individual members of Hjálmar are all well respected within the Icelandic music and entertainment scene and as either solo artists, text writers, producers (albums, music for TV, commercials, film and theatre) as well as playing and recording with other Icelandic artists and bands.