UKNY For November 18: Iceland Airwaves
Between Mountains' Katla Vigdísi Vernharðsdóttur and Ásrós Helgu Guðmundsdóttur (used with the permission of Between Mountains)
Tonight's UKNY at 11 returns with more coverage of the remarkable Iceland Airwaves music festival and it also gives me the chance to work with FUV evening host and my dear pal Alisa Ali — who so kindly helped me with tonight's show (a co-hosting duet!) — as I continue to recover from a fractured shoulder after falling on a snowy street in Akureyri on Saturday afternoon, November 4, when covering the Iceland Airwaves for FUV.
And while I sadly missed bands and artists I was so excited to see in Reykjavík on Saturday night and all day Sunday, bound up in my sling and a haze of serious pain, I did have the chance to see a lot of folks in Reykjavík and Akureyri for a few days prior to my fall, both at official shows and off-venue gigs. So tonight, we'll hear artists like the much buzzed over Between Mountains — two teenagers who won a major Icelandic music competition, Músíktilraunir, in April. Katla Vigdísi Vernharðsdóttur and Ásrós Helgu Guðmundsdóttur of Between Mountains don't even have a single released yet, but they sweetly emailed me a recording of one of their songs, so we could play it tonight. We'll also hear from the dynamic and ethereal synth-pop of Vök, the very gifted and multi-faceted JFDR (Jófríður Ákadóttir) and Akureyri native sons, the long-running rock band 200.000 naglbítar, and more.
The second half of the show will be a revisit of our recent FUV Live session with Mammút, one of Iceland's most charistmatic and fast-rising rock bands — if you missed the session when it first aired in late October, just wait until you hear Kata Mogensen's extraordinary voice. They were unquestionably one of the highlights of this year's Iceland Airwaves and their show at Hof at Akureyri was absolutely thrilling.
Most importantly, I must thank my friends and real-life guardian angels who, two weeks ago, got me through the ordeal, from the snowy street in Akureyri where I fell, to the emergency room in Akureyri, back to Reykjavik and then home to New York: my hero, the remarkable Begga Laxdal of the Icelandic Consulate General; Michael Raucheisen of Icelandair; my dear former boss at Rolling Stone, David Fricke; longtime music buddy Leigh Lust; Drew Jensen (who was with me when I tumbled and got help), Mark Hobbs (who helped me pack), and the other sweet radio colleagues I was traveling with at Iceland Airwaves; Moose and Max from Maurader; and WFUV’s Chuck Singleton, Rita Houston, Ginger Calder, Alisa Ali, Corny O'Connell and his wife Amy Chen, Laura Fedele and Sarah Wardrop who offered special support from afar and back home. And the doctors, nurses and ambulance attendents of Akureyri Hospital; and my doctors here at NYU Langone. Finally, the handful of kind strangers, concerned Icelanders, who stopped to help that snowy afternoon, including a lovely man named Pakka (I know I'm misspelling his name), who knelt next to me and held my hand as we waited for the ambulance, gently chatted with me, constantly made sure I wasn't getting cold, and kept me calm.
And my dear group of beautiful friends and my mom who have all kept my spirits up and helped me so much over the last two weeks — sending so much love. It might be a chaotic, cruel, unpredictable world, but when we look out for each other, it's a good reminder that we can get through anything.
If you miss tonight's UKNY, you can always catch up to it immediately after broadcast, for up to two weeks, in the FUV Weekend Archives.
1. FM Belfast, “Follow Me,” Island Broadcast
2. 200.000 nagilbítar, “Allt Í Heimi Hér, single
3. Vök, “BTO,” Figure
4. Between Mountains, “Little Sunny Flower,” unreleased
5. JFDR, “Journey,” Brazil
6. Sóley, “Before Falling,” Endless Summer
7. FUV Live Session with Mammút (includes live performances of “Walls” and “The Moon Will Never Turn On Me” from Kinder Versions)
8. (Mammút’s guest DJ pick) Þeyr, “Rúdolf,” Mjötviður Mær