Grísalappalísa – “Grísalappalísa Syngur Megas”

We were wrapping up Thursday night of Iceland Airwaves over at Dolly Bar in Reykjavik, watching our friend King Lucky spin his Afro-beat and funk set, when it happened.  It had been a long day of music and food already, and I knew that I was about one beer away from a hangover, when King Lucky himself strolled over carrying a free round of beers for the table.  The die had been cast.  I mean, what’s a man to do?  I can’t turn away a free beer from a friend.  And that’s when Lucky (aka Ingvar of Lucky Records) told us that we needed to make sure to be at the store at Noon the following day… they were doing something special.  A dance performance.

Wait, a what?  “Yeah man.  No music, just Gunnar from Grísalappalísa and Uni from Retro Stefson.  I don’t know what they’re going to be doing, but it’s going to be wild,” said the King.

Now, I don’t know anything about dance.  I don’t watch Dancing With The Stars, and Holly hasn’t asked me to take her to the ballet in years.  Admittedly we did take swing lessons together for a brief time, and that was kind of fun.  Dance just isn’t my think.  But Lucky was excited about it, and when the cobwebs in my head cleared I remembered his words, so on Friday we headed down to the store to check it out.

grisalappalisadance

I knew both these performers from their musical works, but I was not familiar with them as interpretive dancers.  Nor was interpretive dance even remotely what I was expecting.  I was game, though.  I mean look, if you’re willing to get out there in front of a small group of people and dance, completely alone and with no music, you’ve got some balls and I respect that.  Gunnar went first (left), and man, that dude absolutely beat the hell out of himself. And I mean that literally.  Smacking his chest and literally punching himself in the face.  At one point he threw himself onto the ground and there was a sickening thud as his head hit the wood floor.  Hard.  Everyone heard it.  I give the dude credit – he committed.  He was all in.

What does this have to do with vinyl?  Nothing specifically.  Except Grísalappalísa had just released a single with none other than Megas, arguably the most important socio-musical force in Iceland pretty much ever.  They were even performing live with him, though we never managed to catch them during the festival.  What I did catch though, was a copy of the limited edition (of 250) 7″ Grísalappalísa Syngur Megas (BTW kids, the individual number is on a sticker on the back of the plastic sleeve the record comes in… so don’t get rid of it!) vinyl.  It actually came out back in 2013, and somehow I missed it.

grisalappalisamegas

Grísalappalísa Syngur Megas is not only a cool concept, it actually has a pair of decent songs on it as well.  You can actually check out both songs, in full, on the Grísalappalísa Bandcamp page HERE.  It sounds like this won’t be the end of their covers of iconic Icelandic bands, as I understand they just did a Stuðmenn cover as well, and in an interview with the English language Reykjavik Grapvine indicated that they had some other cover projects in the works.  “I guess the purpose of the 7″ inch series is to give these old classics a twist; and maybe introduce these songs to some people that haven’t heard them, or maybe make it acceptable for the hipster to like them.”  Despite the hipster comment, I still like the idea and will keep my eyes peeled for future 7″ releases.

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