Does Icelandic Reggae actually exist? Yes! There are at least three popular Icelandic reggae bands making reggae music, beach sounds fit for any caribbean island, right here in icy cold Iceland: Hjálmar, Ojba Rasta and the latest addition AmabAdamA.
Hjálmar was formed back in 2004, and was the first Icelandic band to experiment with making reggae music for an Icelandic audience. It was an experiment that caused a lot of skeptical criticism by some, but after hearing how it turned out, Iceland is pretty damn proud of having such chillaxin vibes we can call our own. Their quality of music production has made them well loved and respected, and their songs have even started to fit in with the wintery Icelandic weather; it's so cosy to curl up to their music inside on cold or stormy days!
Get our your rasta colours on and check out this music video:
Their first album, Hljóðlega af stað, was well received, playing many shows and topping the sales charts for more than half a year. They won two awards at the Icelandic Music awards in 2005, and released their second album Hjálmar. A third album, Ferðasót, came out in 2007, and their fourth album IV was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and released in September 2009.
Since their fifth album Keflavik Kingston came out in 2010, they've also released Órar and a documentary about their time in Jamaica. The individual members are all very busy and active in the music recording scene in Iceland as well, and they've inspired other Icelandic musicians to embrace the reggae music style, resulting in the next hit reggae band in town:
This is a big band, with more than 10 members. The name of the band is a play on words because when you say their name out loud with Icelandic pronunciation, it sounds like the exclamation 'Ojbarasta!´ which is something you say when you find something really disgusting (like 'ewww, gross!'). But, Ojba Rasta is anything but gross, in fact they're groovy and great. They've been gaining momentum in the Icelandic music scene since their debut that was released in 2012 (although the band was formed back in 2009!). Only a year later they released their second album: Friður. They performed at Iceland Airwaves in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as in Sónar Reykjavík in 2014.
Listen to their Live recording for KEXP from Iceland Airwaves 2012:
Ojba Rasta Jolly Good
AmabAdamA is the latest reggae band on the Icelandic reggae scene.
AmabAdamA has been at it for few years in various forms and their current set-up has remained the same since the spring of 2013. They are a ten piece that consists of three singers, a guitar player, a bass player, a drummer, a saxophonist, a trumpet player, a keyboardist and a percussionist. They have become known as one of the most glowing live acts in the ever blooming Reykjavík music scene.