On a cold winter’s night

Árstíðir – Frikirkjan í Reykjavík; December 30th, 2022

For two years Covid messed with my tradition of seeing Árstíðir’s Christmas concert in Reykjavík so I was really happy to be back in Fríkirkjan this year. We got an online show instead and that was wonderful, but it just isn’t the same as actually being there. They had tuned it down a bit from having big speakers to a more acoustic performance and I loved everything about it. A changed setlist and great guests made it extra special.

Reykjavik greeted me with proper winter. there was snow and ice everywhere! I spent a lovely day of walking, happy to be away from the too warm weather back home. In the evening, I didn’t know when the doors would open so I got there too early and spent some time walking around the church in circles. Just before 8 Jean-Samuel came out for a smoke and asked the others if I could wait inside. Meanwhile I was joined by a guy from the US and a few moments later they let us both in.

As I walked in, I took a deep breath and looked around. It felt a little bit like coming home. They guys were just done sound checking and said hello. After a moment we were allowed to fin a spot to sit. My usual seat was reserved so I had to sit on the other side of the front row for the first time ever. It felt weird, but the view was just as great. Slowly the church filled up and I said hello to the people I knew.

I was really excited to be back and curious about the show. Petúr and Solveig were the evening’s guests and I wondered which songs they would take part in. Unfortunately, Guillaume could not make it so there was no cello. That already made it different from all the other Verarsól shows. Close to 9 I looked around, because there had been shows that started upstairs or in the middle of the room. This time, however, they walked on stage.

Ragnar greeted us in Icelandic and then told us they were going to speak English too so the people coming from out of the country would understand too. He said they had been playing at this church for 15 years and kept it going during Covid with paying to an empty church and streaming it. Gunnar added that it was great to be back in front of an audience and explained how the show would go.

They started off with ‘Hvenær kemur sól’, during which Jean-Samuel did some nice fingerpicking on the violin and continued with ‘Ljóð í sand’. Both sounded beautiful in the church, no extra big sound system needed. 🙂 Already I could not stop smiling.

‘Endatafl’ was beautiful and the guys had put ‘Ages’ back in the set afterwards. That song has aged well – it still works great after all these years. Daníel introduce ‘Passion’ next, but didn’t bother translating anything. Gunnar then let us know about all the work the band had done during the pandemic and that after one album in Icelandic they had an upcoming one in English. Of course this lead us to ‘Later on’. Every song sounded good that night and just made me happy. I didn’t want the concert to be over.

Ragnar mentioned how their band extended outside of Iceland and how the French guys brought some culture. 😉 To my surprise ‘Ró’ was next. After al the talk about the song needing four hands, Ragnar managed quite nicely on his own and it was still lovely.

The band invited their good friend Petúr to the stage to support them with singing and they all did ‘Hátið fer að höndum ein’ – it sounded full and clear. Churches sure are made for singing. Gunnar mentioned how they all come from different backgrounds and thus the band becomes a melting pot of different music. He himself got his love for vocal harmonies from his older brother and was especially fascinated by him and his friends singing songs by the King’s Singers. Therefore, ‘And so it goes’ was next. *happy sigh*

With that we were fully in the Christmas part of the show and got the Icelandic jazz standard ‘Jólin alls staðar’. 🙂 Next, Gunnar spoke about Ragnar growing up  in Sweden and bringing a Swedish song, ‘Gläns över sjö och strand’. It’s definitely a nice edition to the show. Glitsky followed, reduced to one guitar and three voices, which suited perfectly. It made me extra happy that they played ‘Með hallandi höfði’ right after. I have always loved this one.  <3

Petúr was back for the next song and they stood in a circle in the middle of the church to sing from there for a bit. They gave us an example of parallel fifth with ‘Krummavisur’ then continued with ‘Ísland farsældafrón’. Wanting to party like 1599 they treated us to ‘Góða veislu gjöra skal’, explaining that back then Icelandic and Faroese were very similar and many people think of the song as Icelandic. Their voices rose all the way to the ceiling and fell back down. It was amazing.

Back on stage they invited Solveig to join them for ‘Jól’ by Icelandic band Brother Grass that Solveigh introduced them to. But first, they needed to fix something with the sound (I think) that led to long discussions in Icelandic. Once that was taken care of, everything sounded great.we learned that Solveigh and Petúr are their secret weapons when they need help recording an album. 🙂 ‘Allt er hljótt’ followed and sounded even better with the additional voice.

We took a brief trip to happyland with ‘Bringing back the Feel’ and my smile grew even wider. I can never sit still with this one. Jean-Samuel had even brought the soap bubbles. It may be a song in minor, but it still sounds like a bright sunny day. They next one, however, sounds rather melancholic, even though RAgnar assured us it has happy lyrics. It was ‘Heiðin’

The show ended with ‘Heims um ból’ and even though the guys said they would sing the third verse in English they never did. People sang along either way and joined them on verse three. It was a fitting close to the last show of the tour and the year. 🙂

Once the show was over there was some time to chat with people and I even got a picture with the band. We had a lot of fun taking it – this one will end up on my wall for sure. Finally I offered all o them a hug and they all took one. It was lovely. Thank you for a greta year, see you in 2023.

pictures of this concert


Hvenær kemur sól
Ljóð í sand
Later On

Hátið fer að höndum ein
And so it goes
Jólin alls staðar
Gläns över sjö och strand
Með hallandi höfði
Ísland farsældafrón
Góða veislu gjöra skal
Allt er hljótt
Bringing back the feel
Heims um ból’

Vetrarsól tour 2022 – ten gigs down, none to go. Last stop: home

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