Icelandic singer-songwriter Svavar Knútur is a talented troubadour whose artistic style stems from humble beginnings set amidst his rural upbringing. Svavar carefully crafts stories into each one of his compositions. Within his albums, he pens every song as a novelist would create a chapter. Svavar’s music and muses have made him an Icelandic wanderer filled with wit and wonder.
Svavar Knútur leaves emotive imprints of love, tragedy, sadness, and redemption in his art. His eclectic meld of indie folk/rock often reflects the theme of man against nature. His stylistic soundscapes emanate from first-hand experiences in the harsh conditions of his homeland.
Svavar’s live performances are usually a mixture of song and story. On stage, he presents spellbinding and magnetic shows – beckoning the audience along with him on a journey through misery and redemption. However, Knútur always ensures his fans have comedic stops along the way. All the while, he maintains his creative goal of emotional healing and catharsis. “There is always a subtle sense of humor and hope in my lyrics.” His audiences are often laughing and crying – simultaneously.
In part, Svavar owes his musical evolution to supportive parents, whose ambition was for their children to play and enjoy music. Svavar offers, “The Muppet Show album and Bob Marley’s release of Legend were my earliest real musical inspirations.” In later years, he began to respect the works of legends such as Kris Kristofferson, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, and Nick Cave. Also, Svavar thrives on the styles of classical masters like Brahms and Fauré, and many other modern songwriters.
A multi-instrumentalist, Svavar incorporates the guitar, ukulele, charango, piano, accordion – as well as many other instruments – into his compositions. He skillfully melds his vocal skills and fingerpicking in an uncanny and playful way. With his bilingual lyrics, Svavar can tap into many cultures, finding inspiration in the linguistic differences. He explains, “I believe in oneness and striving for an inclusive, collective body between artist and audience. I hate when an artist sits on some mysterious pedestal and performs.”
Svavar is a great believer in simplicity within his art. This minimalistic approach shines through his various artistic works. Svavar has released four solo albums beginning in 2009 with Kvöldvaka (Songs by the Fire.) In 2010, he presented Amma (Songs for my Grandmother,) and in 2012 his Ölduslóð (Way of Waves.) Together, Svavar’s previous releases received critical acclaim and success – winning over a multitude of new fans.
Svavar’s latest release is Brot (The Breaking,) on which there is a feeling of him journeying onto new shores and new beginnings. He expounds, “I’ve learned along the way that if life isn’t hurting, you’re doing it wrong.“ Across all of these works, there exists an intuitive progression and evolution within Svavar’s songwriting. His albums deeply connect to life and the human condition.
Svavar started his career off by playing small cafés in Reykjavík, Iceland, which resulted in him connecting with some international friends and leaving Iceland to play in their countries. Knútur is grateful now to be able to traverse the world to perform in beautiful places such as churches, cafés, parks, castles, villas, weird squats, and experimental living areas. In recent years, he has extensively toured Australia, the U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain, and Europe, playing over one-hundred live concerts per year.
Svavar Knútur is a gentle barbarian with inherent artistic awe. His soul embraces life with a passion left unquenchable. Always grounded in his community of friends and family, it’s not a surprise that Svavar’s daughter, Dagbjört Lilja’s art graces each of his album covers. Svavar thrives on adversity; it is his fuel. His muses identify the humor hidden within the human condition. Leave it to this humble, yet vivacious virtuoso to turn any negative into a positive. Just as ice forms into unique shapes so has Iceland itself shaped and molded Svavar. He is an Icelandic wanderer – crisscrossing the world with his wisdom and writings of wit and wonder.
– Svavar Knútur (Facebook)