Over the centuries the Icelandic folk song has both sculpted the national spirit of Iceland and has been the most important pillar of its contemporary culture. Modern composers have willingly allowed the ancient melodies and chords to influence them, using these extensively in their compositions. Guitar Islancio offers us music that has been kept alive and well nourished in Iceland by handing it down through the ages from person to person. The melodies have no doubt, undergone some changes on their journey through time, but this is the norm for all aspects of society. The trio spins the threads of the old Icelandic songs and presents them to us in new jazz-coloured robes. The simple old melody line receives a new modern twist and reminds us that the ancient roots of Icelandic culture are still alive and active in our contemporary society.
Guitar Islancio was formed in 1998 and has since then performed across the globe, headlining concerts both in Iceland as well as in Scandinavia, mainland Europe, North-America and Asia.
The trio has released five albums, four of which contain jazzed-up versions of Icelandic folk songs. The album “Scandinavian Songs” also includes music from all the Nordic countries, The Faroe Islands and Greenland. All five albums have been critically acclaimed and have received bestseller status in Iceland.
In the fall of 2010, Guitar Islancio released a Best of album, containing 15 favorites from the older albums, as well as a brand new recording of Björn Thoroddsen’s Tango, which was originally included on “Guitar Islancio II”.
The trio has performed alongside a wide variety of renowned international musicians, including France’s violonist Didier Lockwood and guitarist Sylvain Luc; Denmark’s clarinettist Jørgen Svare and violinist Kristian Jørgensen; Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius; Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine; American guitarist Larry Coryell and Canadian trumpet player Richard Gillis – who is also featured on the album “Icelandic Folk” (released in Canada as “Connections”).
In both 2000 and 2001, the city of Reykjavík awarded Guitar Islancio with the title of “Official Musical Group of the City”.
At concerts, the trio’s program is an entertaining mix of original material, Icelandic folk songs and jazz standards. The trio is famous for its powerful and lively performances and as such, it truly lives up to its name: the word Islancio is an Italian musical term and means with dash or with impetuousness. So playing “con islancio” means playing impetuiously. The sound of the word is also undeniably reminiscent of Iceland, and so the name is both musical and “Icelandic”.