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News & Dates

 NEWS 

​OK, so where do we go from here?

 

The Covid times left me with plenty of time to think about what a sustainable, future live music scene could be like, both here in Iceland and also in general, further afield.

For my part, I don't want to 'go back to normal.'

I want to go forward to new and better ways of doing things, that do not cost us the earth and wreck the planet in the process.

 

We cannot carry on jetting around the place in the 'old normal' way. Living here in Iceland, thousands of kilometers from anywhere, with a  population the size of a  small European city, that presents a special set of challenges, but we have to find creative ways to find solutions.
   

For me that could mean smaller intimate scale local events, both indoors (house concerts anybody?), feasts, good old fashioned folk club scale events, and out doors garden concerts, camp fires, tailor made performances in special locations in the countryside, and so on.

While we have discovered the possibilities of Zoom and other on-line options as a useful tool, for me, it can never replace live events. I still have my iconic UK Musicians Union 'Keep Music Live' sticker, firmly glued to my guitar case.

I have always really valued the sense of community and sharing that the best of the folk scene has offered. I firmly believe that our music works best at the scale and in the kinds of settings that it grew out of, so let's see what we can do.

BBC Folk Awards nomination 2018

The track 'The life of a man / Greensleeves'

on my 2017album Hadelin, was nominated as

Best Traditional Track in the 2018 BBC Folk Awards.

You can listen to it right here.

The life of a man
00:00 / 04:55

PERFORMANCE DATES 2023

As our music life has regained some semblance of normality, I am really enjoying regular activities, such as the monthly Söngvaka sessions, which I run with Bára Grímsdóttir. Monthly meetings of Kvæðamannafélagið Iðunn and so on.

Söngvaka

​at

Gröndalshúsið

Fischersund, 101 Reykjavík

Third Wednesday in the month

18th Jan. 15th Feb. 15th Mar. 17th, May

at 20.00 - 21.30

Sat 28th January

Þorravaka

Feast with singing and music

Hafnarhúsið. Reykjavik

Vökufélagið event

Fri. - Sun. 21st - 23rd April 2023

Stemma

The annual national meeting of Kvæðamenn in Iceland

Hvammstangi, Iceland

Funi gig with Bára Grímsdóttir

Sun. 7th May

Vorvaka

Reykjavík

​venue to be confirmed

Feast with singing and music

Vökufélagið event

Thurs. 25th - Sun 29th May

Wczoraj i dziś / Í gær og í dag (Yesterday and today)

Szczecin, Poland

Concert and workshops

Funi gig with Bára Grímsdóttir

audiotarky_logo_word.png

a new music streaming platform

and it treats artists fairly!

Whatever we musicians may think about streaming, it seems pretty obvious to me that it is going to be the technology that most people will be using to access recorded music for the foreseeable future. The actual process has plenty going for it. It removes a lot of plastic from the environment and cuts out a load of shipping and warehousing costs. Mind you, those servers are using a lot of megawatts and they come with their own significant environmental impacts.

A well known and much discussed big problem with streaming services, is that the income they generate is very unfairly distributed. For the artists that make the actual music that they stream, the income they generate is very small indeed. Another big problem is the way that their algorithms define people's listening choices.

My son Simon Metson in England has developed a new music streaming platform. It is called Audiotarky and it aims to put fairness and privacy in front of algorithms, advertisers and shareholders, while keeping a close eye on its environmental impact.

With technical development now in place, Audiotarky is open for artists to sign up. This is not an exclusive deal, so you can have your music on as many other platforms as you like. If Spotify floats your boat, you are welcome to carry on collecting the crumbs they send your way, if the seagulls don't get them first.

​​​

The success or otherwise of Audiotarky will obviously depend on building up a great catalogue of diverse music and, along with that, an ever growing subscriber base.

You can check out Audiotarky at:

Going global,

flowing with the stream

My two vinyl albums for Topic Records (Layers -1977 and All Things in Common - 1979) have been on Spotify for some time, since Topic Records digitised their back catalogue.

I have now added all my CD albums to multiple streaming platforms as well, so Traces - 1999, Jewels - 2004, Outsiders - 2008 and Hadelin - 2017 are all available, not just on Spotify, but also on iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Youtube Sound Recording and a bunch of others worldwide that I've never heard of such as Akazoo, Claro Música, Kanjian, Zvooq and Shazam to name but a few.

The two albums that I have made under the Funi duo name with Bára Grímsdóttir (Funi - 2004 and Flúr - 2013) are also out there.

I doubt that the combined income from all this will run to a Mars bar, but you never know, somebody in South America or Russia might discover the delights of hearing Lord Bateman, The Seeds of Love or some traditional Icelandic songs.

Lord Bateman
00:00 / 07:38
The Seeds Of Love
00:00 / 03:36

The Cruel Mother as ballad dance Connecting with our northern roots at Nordic Harp Meeting in Viljandi, Estonia.

October 21st 2017

video by Katja Nyuppieva

...and here is The Cruel Mother as it appears on my 'Outsiders' album

10 - The Cruel Mother
00:00 / 06:49
FUNI PROMO SHOT portrait.jpg

Funi standing by some lava on a cold April day.

You can see the snow storm coming behind us.

Sat. 17th June

Concert

Árneshreppir, North-West Iceland

Funi gig with Bára Grímsdóttir

Fri. 15th - Sun. 17th September

VAKA FOLK FESTIVAL

Including Dagur Rímnalagsins

Reykjavík, Iceland

Funi gig with Bára Grímsdóttir

Thurs. 12th - Sun. 15th October

Nordic Harp Meeting

Viljandi, Estonia

Funi gig with Bára Grímsdóttir

Booking now for 2023 and beyond

I am always interested to hear from people with ideas for projects and performances.

To enquire about booking

Chris Foster either solo or in the duo

Funi with Bára Grímsdóttir

just send an email to:

chrisfoster.iceland(at)gmail.com

SÖNGVAKA

Gröndalshúsið photo at night.jpg

Söngvaka is an open singing session that Bára and I run every month in downtown Reykjavík. The idea behind the session is to create a welcoming space and opportunity for people to come and sing and learn songs from the Icelandic oral / aural tradition together. In particular, we have focused on the unique Icelandic, two voice harmony songs called tvísöngvar and the sagnadans ballad songs.

 

The sessions are held in the former home of Benedikt Gröndal, a 19th century Icelandic, writer (including rímur), naturalist, artist and all round cultural activist.

Vaka Folk Festival

15th - 17th September 2023

First in Akureyri and then in Reykjavík, Vaka Folk Festival was established with the aim of building a community and creating  opportunities to sing, play, dance and listen to Icelandic traditional music, along with folk music from further afield.

2023 will see the first VAKA since 2019 and we can't wait to get the show on the road.

​ 

Iceland does not have an established 'folk scene' or network of players, promoters and venues along the lines found in many other European countries. Building those networks takes a lot of time and energy from a lot of people. Over the past few years there have been exciting signs of 'green shoots' emerging and things starting to happen here. I am committed to playing what part I can in this exciting process.

Nordic Harp Meeting

Chris and Bára - Funi

at

Nordic Harp Meeting 

Viljandi, Estonia 2017

The Nordic Harp Meeting is an extremely useful and inspiring annual meeting, known to its regular attendees as the Nerdic Harp Meeting. The meeting brings together skilled and expert performers, teachers and researchers, who are all involved in making music with a big variety of old stringed instruments, such as lyres, kantele, hummel, langspil, langeleik, jouhikko and of course more varieties of harp than you can shake a stick at.

Living in Iceland, we are very isolated from the range of skills and expertise that we are able to access at NHM. To be able to meet with all these people under one roof is a great privilege, and we try to go as often as possible. The meeting takes place in a different country each year.

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