Ég sé þig janúar, ég man þig janúar

Svavar Knútur – Trachtenvogl, Munich; April 29th, 2024

The concert in Munich was the final one on this tour for me and it was a good one that felt very much like a living room show. Svavar was in a great mood and he knew everyone in the room, because he had played over 20 shows t Trachtenvogl already. I understood why. It was a lovely venue and the audience was wonderful tour. I had a great time.

My trip to Munich started somewhat early and I wondered why I had not booked a later train. Money probably. either way, I got there before 1 pm and took a nice walk to the Isar where I sat i the sun for a while, listening to podcasts and having fun watching people, dogs and birds. When I got hungry, I went to Trachtenvogl and had a greta meal in the sunshine. Passed the time reading and eventually decided to check if there were people in line. There weren’t, but Svavar was sitting at a table with some friends and invited me to join them. we had nice conversations until the doors opened and I found a seat where i could store my luggage. Went back outside and chatted some more, before going in and getting a nice piece of cake before the show.

Svavar stepped up to the mic, greeted everyone and mentioned this was his 27th show there, so he had played more there than at any other place in the world. As opposed to other countries there is no real folk scene in Iceland, so he has to go and play elsewhere. He said how he always feels which songs suits the evening and started with the lovely ‘Vetrarsól’. 🙂 For a moment he thought it was Sunday, not Monday and joked about times when he did not play Sunday nights in Germany because of “Tatort”.

The Icelandic songs continued with ‘Morgúnn’, one of his few love songs, even though there are some many more interesting subject matters. Of course he explained how me loves love, but Icelanders are not romantic, including some examples of their practical romantic gestures – “we don’t have gold, but we do have fish.” 😀 I always enjoy hearing ‘Morgúnn’, it has really grown on me over time.

Svavar spoke about finishing his “songs of misery and redemption” project, comparing it to building a house and not being sure of what to do now. He ensured us he’d not quit though. He asked us to buy his music instead of listening to Spotify and how that does not pay. It was time for songs from his latest album, the first of which was ‘Refur’. It’s always beautiful.

We heard that he wrote two songs about refugees, that belong together and are part of one story. First he played ‘Lady Winter’ and I wasn’t the only one singing along. we all did it quietly though. <3 After that, Svavar mentioned that he tells less stories when he is relaxed and happy and how he always feels that way in Munich. We then heard a little about how ‘Hope and Fortune’ was recorded and thus the version on Ahoy is different from the one that was originally released. He played it next and it was lovely, but the sing-along was not as good as in Vienna. 😉

Before ‘Undir Birkitré’ we learned it takes 17 years to grow one. Wow! Then Svavar rememberd a story he had never told us and we learned how the birch and the ash are the man and the woman in Icelandic mythology and why the trees are considered holy. It involved Thor and giants. 😉 The song is always great and we sang along nicely too. 🙂

He told us to reind him of the pizza story later and ended the set with an amazing version of ‘November’. Afterwards, we learned that the last part of the song was written over ten years ago in Australia and didn’t fit anywhere then. He forgot about it until it reappeared when he wrote ‘November’. I always find it fascinating to learn the history of songs.

The second set started with more stories about songwriting, specifically a song about a fox and how the chords sound. Then we were taught the last lines in ‘Janúar’ and he made it a point to show us how the Icelandic “Ég sé þig janúar, ég man þig janúar” is very similar to “Ich sehe dich Januar, Ich erinnere dich, Januar” in German. We did manage the sing along quite nicely. 🙂

We got a good laugh out of Svavar joking about his mother being a beer-keg, because someone looked at him as if they were seriously considering this. That all lead to his love for breakup songs, as well as brokkoli. In his opinion all breakup songs should focus on what you learned from the breakup and illustrated that with ‘Emotional Anorexic’. <3

Next was a really good explanation of how Internet algorithms work and direct you towards the mainstream, making you forget about independent artist. He used special glasses as a metaphor.. We got one more breakup song, ‘A glorious Catastrophe’. After that, he spoke about a favorite aunt and how she died, before playing her song, ‘Impossible’ for us.

He realized he was almost out of time and told us he was gonna play the last song. When we expressed sadness he joked we should know how encores work. Then he went off on a tangent, talking about the different Scandinavian languages and how they sound like, including an example of a Swedish Hells Angel, before getting to the Icelandic words for happiness and birthday. It was really interesting. The set ended with ‘Slow Dance’. <3

We cheered Svavar back to the stage and finally got to hear the pizza story and the secret why opera singers get fat. 😉 A short poll later, he played ABBA’s ‘When all is said and done’ for us. That is a cover I really love. Because he had so much fun with it the previous day, Svavar played ‘Song of good advice’ for us, including an incredible whistle solo and  great sing along. Because e were so demanding, we got one more song in the end, ABBA’s ‘Like an Angel Passing Through My Room’, which he declared his favorite song in the universe.

It had been a great show. I thanked Svavar, then said goodbye and slowly made my way to the train station to go home.


Lady Winter
Hope and Fortune
Undir Birkitré
Isn’t it funny?

Emotional Anorexic
A glorious Catastrophe
Slow Dance

When all is said and done
Song of good advice
Like an Angel Passing Through My Room


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