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Iceland and more specifically Reykjavik is a centre for creativity inspired very much by the spectacular and dramatic scenery of Iceland. Music in Iceland was historically a mix of folk and church music and was largely unaffected by continental advances in music basing more emphasis on voice as apposed to instruments. However there was eager embrace of the new musical styles and influences that arrived in the mid 19th century. This evoked an awakening of latent creative talent and has lead to a remarkably swift musical development in the 20th Century.
Music is at the heart of Reykjavik’s nightlife and regular live bands and music festivals abound, such as the Dark Music Days festival, promoting new Icelandic music. Iceland has produced internationally renowned musical talents such as Sigur Ros, Bjork and Bubbi Morthens.
Art in Iceland is fundamentally influenced by its varied history and extreme landscape. The people of Iceland are famed for their poetic and literary talents. The best-known classical works are those of the Icelander’s Sagas. These epic tales of feudal battles and tragic loss are set around the period of first settlement.
Visual art in Iceland has evolved since the beginning of the 20th century and the beauty of the island’s eternally varied landscape was the focus of this early art. One very famous artist who captured the rich and varied colours of the country and its plant life was Johannes Kjarval. His fabled bohemian and eccentric lifestyle is still regularly told and documented. The influence of external pressures has been embraced by artists and has merged to form a distinctive and unique Icelandic artistic style. This is demonstrated by the work of Tolli Morthens, which delivers a powerful and yet suave depiction of natural Iceland. Sculpture is also a key part of Icelandic culture and can be found in many places in Iceland’s capital. Much of the earlier work centred round the human form and depiction of individuals but has expanded to encompass more modern influences. The famous Solfaru Viking Ship sculpture in Reykjavik shows the influence of the early settlers origins.
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