Two voices that met
In the high school quire
a combination of powerful yet delicate vocal mastery and instrumental purity.
T he haunting sounds of internationally renowned Icelandic folk duo, Ylja, are driven by the powerful harmonic vocals of Gígja and Bjartey, who met in their high school choir in 2008 and have been soulmates ever since. With their creativity and a shared passion for traditional Icelandic folk songs, Ylja’s unmistakable sound began to form – a combination of powerful yet delicate vocal mastery and instrumental purity.
Ylja wrote their first song in 2009 and since then have gradually developed a dynamic performance featuring exquisite originals, creative covers and traditional Icelandic folk songs.
The release of Ylja‘s finely crafted debut album, ‘Ylja’, in 2012, featuring Smári Tarfur on slide guitar, earned Ylja their prominent place on the Icelandic music scene. With a number of successful shows and festival appearances under their belt, the duo felt that the time had come to explore new territory. So, with additional musicians on board Ylja’s second and more experimental album, ‘Commotion’, was released in 2014.
Ylja‘s most recent and highly acclaimed album, ‘Dætur’, is a return to their folk roots. The album features a collection of carefully chosen and lovingly performed, timeless Icelandic folk songs. This latest album is a homecoming for Ylja, the place where they feel they belong.
Appearances on the world stage at festivals such as Eurosonic and Winnipeg Folk Festival have earned Ylja international acclaim, whilst at home in Iceland the duo have been nominated for New Comer of the Year 2012, Female Singer of the Year 2014 and Folk Album of the Year 2018 at the Icelandic Music Awards.
Gígja and Bjartey‘s close friendship is plain to see as they delight in performing together. The pair form the core of Ylja‘s distinctive sound with their spellbinding harmonic vocals, but with live gigs often featuring additional musicians. Whatever form the line up takes, Ylja‘s unforgettable tone and quality are always plain to hear.
Ylja have found their place in Icelandic folk music and work tirelessly with folklorists, producers and Iceland‘s finest musicians to create new material for the future.
FROM THE CRITICS
...beautifully executed harmonies
and sheer talent...
Ylja is an Icelandic group that combines aspects of indie folk and acoustic genres, including dreamy and flowing progressions, to create a truly one-of-a-kind sound. Their style is reminiscent of the folk tunes of The Civil Wars but add subtle electric twists. Their performance was seamless. The vocals of Bjartey Sveinsdóttir and Gígja Skjaldardóttir demonstrated beautifully executed harmonies and sheer talent. The sounds of the two vocalists and acoustic guitarists, bassist, electric guitarist and drummer engulfed the entire venue, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the sounds. Sveinsdóttir and Skjaldardóttir interacted with the audience, inviting them to fill the floor.They closed the show by leaving the stage and bowing to the crowd as the band continued to play a smooth jam session, which allowed the show to end less abruptly. Their consistent smiling, immersion in their performance and positive energy made the show an intimate and enjoyable experience.