Ólöf Arnalds: Awesome Icelandic Folk

Iceland's Ólöf Arnalds has been a presence in her country's astoundingly fertile musical scene for a decade, frequently collaborating with compatriots Mum and Sigur Ros, among others. Classically trained, Arnalds' mesmerizing vocals evokes both new and ancient song traditions. Her 2007 debut "Vid og Vid" ("Every Now and Then"), produced by Sigur Rós' Kjartan Sveinsson, basks in pastoral medieval ambience. Equally as fetching, 2010's "Innundir skinni" ("Under the Skin"), features fuller arrangements and embellishments, including Iceland's most noted export Björk, who provides a compelling vocal counterpoint on "Surrender." With 2011's "Ólöf Sings," her 5-song EP of compelling covers, Arnalds gets to the heart of the considerable soul of "Solitary Man" by none other than Neil Diamond. Elsewhere, refracted through Arnalds' sensibilities, she treads into the hallowed territory of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Snow and offers a deft translation of great Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso's song saluting his sister, "Maria Bethania." Explore Arnalds' magic world with the following selected tracks and albums. – Catherine M. Gollery, Google Music

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