Today, however, the voice no longer stands alone, and the instrumental variations and creations have no ending.
BUZZING MUSIC. The music scene on the Faroe Islands is buzzing. Artists and creators across all genres are delivering world class performances and recordings. Teitur and Eivør are undoubtedly among the best known Faroese artists on the international stage. Their respective careers span over more than a decade and both enjoy international acclaim. On the local stage we have a multitude of acts making a name for themselves, including the funky pop band Byrta and the gifted artist Heidrik. The metal scene is also alive and well. The Viking Metal band Týr has a successful career in Europe and the charismatic dark doom metal band Hamferð is knocking on new doors. Two new artists within alternative music are singer, songwriter, theatre composer and actor Budam and the avant-garde Orka, who have wowed media and audiences across Europe.
ISLAND JAZZ. Since the foundation of the local Jazz Club in 1975 the Faroe Islands jazz scene has been active and a few bars the Faroe Islands still have nights dedicated to live jazz and blues music. Current artists include Yggdrasil, a cross-national collaboration lead by Kristian Blak, the founder of TUTL, which is the largest record company in the Faroe Islands. TUTL is collectively owned by musicians and composers, who have released their music through the label, and is unique amongst labels as it emphasises total artistic freedom. The TUTL shop in Tórshavn is the only music store in the world that is dedicated to Faroese music. Other jazz artists include Magnus Johannesen, who is best known for his lyrical playing and melodic perspective and in recent years Magnus has emerged as a very capable composer and orchestrator.
CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION. The Faroe Islands have a rich pool of active contemporary music composers. Sunleif Rasmussen is the most internationally acclaimed. Kristian Blak, Tróndur Bogason, Atli Petersen and Kári Bæk are all among composers with regular commissions from local and international artists. The instrumental ensemble Aldubáran is dedicated to performing and promoting Faroese music. They have recorded several albums with music made by Faroese composers and regularly tour across Europe with a Faroese repertoire.
MUSIC ALIVE. The thriving live music scene on the islands is taking people by surprise, and creating awe amongst visitors. Live music events, in all genres, take place all year round in many different and fascinating venues. The largest venue is the Nordic House in Tórshavn, which has been an active contributor to the music scene on the Faroe Islands since 1983. Every year this prime venue offers high-quality performances from around the world. There is also a great cultural house in Fuglafjørður. In 2013, an old building in the centre of Tórshavn, called Reinsaríið, was renovated to house a growing number of live music events, and today, Reinsaríið is booked almost every week. On a smaller scale, TUTL, the record company, offers weekly free concerts in their shop in Tórshavn city centre and numerous smaller venues regularly promote live music. Grottoes offer the most amazing acoustics and are also used as stages for live music.
MUSIC FESTIVALS. The summer season on the Faroe Islands is full of music festivals. In July there is the G! Festival in Gøtu. “The most curious place left on earth” New York Times stated after attending a G! Festival and the Guardian claimed it as "probably the wildest event on the festival calendar". The live music scene on the Faroe Islands is indeed curious and wild, and the G! Festival has, without a doubt, brought the world's attention to Faroese music. In August there is the popular Summer Festival in Klaksvík on the Northern Islands. The Summer Festival is more of a well-rounded and community friendly festival and attracts thousands of happy festival-goers every year.
Other annual festivals in the Faroe Islands include Fjarðafestivalurin, a Christian music festival, Sørvágs Country & Blues Festivalur and Summartónar, a festival for classical and contemporary music, including Jazz and experimental. There are also a few day-long musical events, such as Voxbotn, Tórsfest and Við Brúnna, featuring both local and international artists. The Faroe Islands also host what is probably the smallest Folk music festival in the world – sometimes described as “the hidden festival” as it primarily promoted by word of mouth. The latest festival news is the Winter Jazz Days taking place during the cold dark winter months of January and February.
COMPLETE SYMPHONY. Against all odds, and with a population of only approximately 50.000, the Faroe Islands have managed to put together its very own symphony orchestra. Conductor of the Faroe Islands Symphony Orchestra is Mr. Bernharður Wilkinson and the orchestra is made up of a mixture of accomplished students and professional musicians, all of whom are teachers in the Faroese Music School. The orchestra also includes talented amateurs and Faroese people that are pursuing musical educations abroad. The orchestra is sometimes further strengthened by professional musicians from abroad.
The rich singing traditions are manifested in the many choirs in the Faroe Islands. The Tórshavn Choir was founded by Ólavur Hátún, pioneer and choirmaster, and in 2011 the choir celebrated 45 years of existence. The more recent chamber choir Tarira, with Sunleif Rasmussen as choirmaster, has firmly established its reputation through many high level international performances. Today the international classical music scene is enjoying some of our classical talents in concert halls, opera houses and other prime venues across the world.
CHAIN DANICING. One of the most unique cultural features of the Faroe Islands is the chain dance, which was originally a mediaeval ring dance. Today, it is known as the Faroese chain dance, and rightly so as it has only managed to survive in the Faroe Islands. The rhythm is quite quirky and the ballads about kings and heroes may have several hundred verses. A captain leads the singing and everybody joins in the chorus. The symbolic significance of the chain dance is the full circle of people, from all walks of life, who join hands and meet face-to-face on true common ground.
FMX (Faroe Music Export) is Faroe Islands music export platform, founded in 2019. The government office works at an industry level to support the export of Faroese music. Developing initiatives and opportunities for Faroese music and it's international partners, both at home and abroad. To further project and connect Faroese music to the world, introducing a broad array of international companies, organisations and creatives, to Faroese partners and collaborators.