Festival of Sacred Arts 2019

We are now in the midst of preparation for a grand event next week, June 4th, where we will perform the ten songs from the Llibre Vermell manuscript from Montserrat (14th c) at the bi-annual Festival of Sacred Arts 2019, which will take place June 1st - June 10th at the Hallgrímskirkja church downtown Reykjavík. Included in the program are select songs from Icelandic and Danish manuscripts dating from the 15th to the 17th century.

Joining us will be power-house psalterium-player Marina Albero, arriving all the way from Seattle for the event, and wonderful and versatile local musicians Eggert Pálsson and Kristófer Rodriguez Svönuson on percussion, and Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir on cello. Lastly, a newly founded vocal male ensemble Cantores Islandiae will be joining us for the liveliest/loudest tunes.

After performing at the festival, we intend to record the lot with our master recording engineer Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir, hopefully releasing a fresh new album in the fall.

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2019 Here we come!

Umbra has some wonderful projects coming up in 2019 and we are deeply grateful to have received the Artists’ salary from the Icelandic government this year to help us carry out these projects.

In February we recorded Blóðhófnir (Bloodhoof) by composer Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir at the wonderful Masterkey Studios in Seltjarnarnes, Iceland. This is an immense project that we have been working on for a while but we are slowly but surely drawing closer to the end of it! Beautiful and haunting music that we can’t wait for others to hear.

In March we will perform at a brand new concert series in Garðabær municipality and in June we have a big project coming up. On the 4th of June we will be performing at the 15th edition of the Festival of Sacred Arts in Hallgrímskirkja. There we will perform Llibre Vermell or “The Red Book” in its entirety along with Icelandic material from the early middle ages. We will extend the family for this project and collaborate with some amazing performers, namely Eggert Pálsson and Kristófer Rodriguez on percussion, Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir on cello, Marina Albero on psalteron and an exciting male choir assembled for the occasion. The concert will be followed by live recordings in collaboration with our favourite recording producer, Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir. We simply can’t wait.

During the summer months we will be heading to the country side, to the north and west of Iceland, with an all new Scandinavian program that we will continue to develop towards the end of the year.

We have even more exciting fall and and winter projects, yet to be announced, so stay tuned!

Album Release

We are thrilled to announce that our new Christmas album is finally out in Iceland, entitled Solstitium or Sólhvörf. A hundred thousand thanks go to our fellow musicians Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir and Matthías M.D. Hemstock who played on the album, to the talented Tonmeister Ragnheiður Jónsdóttir who recorded, produced and mastered the album, and to Dimma for publishing it. Available in all major record stores in Iceland and via our publisher Dimma. Also, our last album, Out of darkness, is now available on Spotify, enjoy!

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Update summer/fall 2018

Umbra has been performing at very select venues this rainy summer of 2018. First at the Laxness home/museum Gljúfrasteinn in Mosfellsdalur, home to the 1955 Literature Nobel Prize winner Halldór Laxness. Then on a boat at The Herring Era Museum during the Siglufjörður Folk Festival (Þjóðlagahátið á Siglufirði). And last week we performed at Hannesarholt, home-turned-venue-and-restaurant in downtown Reykjavík, home to the late Hannes Hafsteinn, Iceland's first prime minister.

On Menningarnótt/Reykjavík Culture Night, August 18th, we will be performing at two Reykjavík landmarks; at Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre (Norðurljós Hall) and at the Hallgrímskirkja Church. 

We are in the process of mixing our Christmas album, containing Yuletide Carols and Songs, due in October.

In November we are headed to Copenhagen, Denmark to premiere a new piece by the talented Icelandic composer Finnur Karlsson, a piece that he has been working on the past few months and is written specially for us. We plan to perform our own repertoire in Denmark as well so stay tuned for more news/dates!