Guitar Islancio | Connections

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Jazz: World Fusion Folk: Gentle Moods: Featuring Guitar
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by Guitar Islancio

Old Icelandic folk songs and presented in new jazz coloured robes. The two guitars, bass and trumpet provide a wonderful and creative framework for these folk songs.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Now's the Time for Celebration
3:04 album only
2. The Raven in a Gulley Slept - Prelude
0:57 album only
3. The Raven in a Gulley Slept
3:00 album only
4. Close of Winter Hardship
3:04 album only
5. Stop Crying Now, My Dear Girl
3:15 album only
6. Beautiful Was the Crow of the Bird
2:14 album only
7. Olafur Lilyrose
2:59 album only
8. Tango
3:47 album only
9. God Gave Me Ears
3:05 album only
10. Little Bird and Light of Wing
3:05 album only
11. Rhymes
3:04 album only
12. Bird on the Shore
3:00 album only
13. Lullaby
2:34 album only
14. All Hail Sweet Jesus
3:38 album only
15. Sleep My Baby
3:51 album only


Album Notes
Musical Group of the City of Reykjavík in 2000 and 2001

Over the centuries the Icelandic folksong has both sculpted the national spirit of Iceland and been the most important pillar of its contemporary culture. Modern composers have willingly allowed the ancient melodies and chords to influence them, using these extensively in their compositions.

Guitar Islancio offers us music which has been kept alive and well nourished in Iceland by handing it down through the ages from person to person. The melodies have no doubt undergone some changes on their journey through the passages of time, but this is, of course, the norm for all aspects of society.

The group spins the threads of the old Icelandic songs and presents them to us in new jazz coloured robes. The simple old melody line receives a new modern twist and reminds us that the ancient roots of Icelandic culture are still alive and active in our contemporary society.

Guitar Islancio owes its existence to a compelling thirst for creative musical expression and communication.; a thirst which was felt simultaneously in the autumn of 1998 by Björn Thoroddsen, Gunnar Thordarson and Jón Rafnsson. To begin with they were content to blow the cobwebs off some old and new jazz favourites and serve these up flavoured with a twist of their own inimitable style.

The quest for fresh material led them into the territory of Icelandic folkmusic and their performances began to include more and more of these songs. A turning point had been reached...the musicians were hooked and the road lay straight ahead. The going was, of course, not always easy; as melodies had to be closely examined with regard to rhythm, harmony and other technical details. Sometimes much was added only to be discarded once more. But by the time 11 folksongs had been found and honed to their liking, the trio was ready to try out the programme on a larger audience.

This inspired their first CD as a group, enabling them to reach more people both at home and abroad. To date they have released four albums, all of them containing jazzed up Icelandic folk songs which have received rave reviews and become best-sellers. Since 1998 the ensemble has played all over the world, including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Germany, USA, Spain and Great Britain.

Guitar Islancio was nominated as the musical group of the City of Reykjavík in both 2000 and 2001. A wide variety of renowned musicians have played with the trio including French violinist Didier Lockwood, French guitarist Sylvain Luc, Danish clarinettist Jørgen Svare and Icelandic-Canadian trumpet player Richard Gillis.

Guitar Islancio's "Connections" CD includes Richard Gillis.

Björn Thoroddsen - guitar - has been in the front rank of the Icelandic jazz scene for many years. He has performed throughout Europe and North America, and has a number of recordings to his credit. Björn has also performed and
recorded with several of Europe's leading jazz musicians, including the bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, the violin genius Nigel Kennedy, and guitarists Philip Catherine, Doug Raney and Jakob Fischer.

Gunnar Thordarson - guitar - has been one of Iceland's most popular song composers for the past 40 years. In recent years, Gunnar has turned more and more to classical music, and the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra has performed some of his compositions. Gunnar has composed and recorded over 400 songs. He has also composed music for films and musicals, and has overseen recording sessions and arranged music for countless records.

Jón Rafnsson - double bass - has, since returning to Iceland from Sweden in 1990, been a very active participant in the musical life of Iceland, performing classical music and jazz, playing in dance bands, theatres etc., and taking part in many recordings. Jón is a qualified music teacher who trained at the Musikpedagogiska Institut in Stockholm. He also studied double bass with Professor Thorvald Fredin at the University of Music in Stockholm.

Richard Gillis - trumpet -was born in Saskatchewan of Icelandic heritage. He studied trumpet at The University of Saskatchewan (B.Mus.), The University of Michigan (M.Mus, D.M.A.), and the Banff Centre, as well as privately with James Stamp and Armando Ghitalla. Dr. Gillis is an associate professor in the School of Music at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and is very active as a performer in both classical and jazz. He is also co-founder (in 1997) and artistic director of the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra.


GUITAR ISLANCIO (1999 Polarfonia Classics ehf. - PFCD 99.10.004-1)

GUITAR ISLANCIO II (2000 Skífan hf. - FCD006)

GUITAR ISLANCIO III (2001 ÓMI / Edda Media & Publishing - ÓMI JAZZ 003)

CONNECTIONS (2001 Ice Music Press - IMPCD 301) with trumpeter Richard Gillis

Reviews of the "CONNECTIONS" CD:
"The album is really quite fantastic. The tunes are catchy, the arrangements imaginative and the playing superb, and the undeniable curiosity value of such a concoction is quickly supplanted by sheer listening enjoyment."
- Lögberg-Heimskringla

"The trio has an easy rapport that Gillis blends into without difficulty. While the disc is not pure jazz, it is jazzy and the musicianship is excellent."
- Winnipeg Free Press



to write a review

Gabi, Berlin Germany

Nice guitar jazz, smooth with a liitle swing
I heard this trio without the trumpet during a concert at the Berlin Jazz Festival. And I have to say I liked it more. But I think this a matter of taste. The mostly islandic tradional songs are arranged with this fantastic, swinging, jazzy acoustic guitars. It is really nice to listen to.