Icelandic Folk Music Artists You Need to Know

Here are eight Icelandic folk music artists you need to know, from Björk to Ásgeir, whose music is as varied as the country’s landscape.


There’s something special about Icelandic music. The island’s unique history, geography, and culture have given rise to a musical tradition that is both fascinating and inspiring. From the traditional sounds of the Icelandic dance to the contemporary vibes of Iceland’s vibrant pop scene, there is truly something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the most popular Icelandic folk music artists. Whether you’re a fan of traditional folk music or you’re looking for something new and exciting, you’re sure to find an artist that you’ll love. So without further ado, let’s get started!

1) Svavar Knutur – Svavar Knutur is a singer-songwriter from Reykjavik, Iceland. His music is often described as “Nordic Americana” or “Icelandic Americana” because it combines elements of both American folk music and Icelandic singer-songwriter traditions. Svavar’s gentle voice and honest lyrics have won him many fans in Iceland and abroad. If you’re looking for beautiful acoustic folk music with a touch of Icelandic flavor, Svavar Knutur is the perfect artist for you.

2) Árstíðir – Árstíðir is an indie folk band from Reykjavik, Iceland. The band’s sound has been described as “Cinematic Folk Pop” because of its ethereal melodies and sweeping string arrangements. Árstíðir has won critical acclaim both in Iceland and internationally, and their music has been featured in multiple films and television shows. If you enjoy contemporary indie folk with a hint of classical influence, Árstíðir is definitely an artist worth checking out.

3) Jóhannes Már Jóhannsson – Jóhannes Már Jóhannsson is an composer and producer from Reykjavik, Iceland. His music blends classical composition with electronics and found sounds to create a unique and evocative soundscape. Jóhannes has scored several films, including the Oscar-nominated film “The Theory of Everything”. If you’re a fan of film scores or experimental electronic music, you should definitely give Johannes Már Johannsson a listen.

4) Olafur Arnalds – Olafur Arnalds is a composer and producer from Reykjavik, Iceland. His music incorporates elements of ambient electronica, post-rock, trip-hop, and minimalism to create a truly unique soundscape. Olafur has released multiple solo albums as well as collaborated with various artists including Ryuichi Sakamoto and Kiasmos (his duo with Janus Rasmussen). If you enjoy ambient electronic music or post-rock, Olafur Arnalds is an artist worth checking out.

5) Mammút – Mammút is an alternative rock band from Reykjavik, Iceland. The band combines elements of shoegaze, post-rock, dream pop, and noise rock to create their own distinctive sound. Mammút has been praised for their atmospheric songs and dynamic live shows. If you enjoy any of the aforementioned genres or are simply looking for something new and exciting, Mammút is definitely an Icelandic band worth checking out


Björk is a world-renowned Icelandic singer-songwriter and actress, known for her unconventional and experimental style. Born in Reykjavík in 1965, Björk first came to prominence as a member of the post-punk band The Sugarcubes, before embarking on a successful solo career. Her unique approach to music has seen her fuse a wide range of genres, including electronica, trip hop, alternative rock, and even classical music. Björk has won numerous awards throughout her career, including 12 Grammy nominations (winning one), as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. She was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and is widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential musicians of her generation.


Ásgeir is a young Icelandic folk singer who has been taking the music world by storm in recent years. His debut album, Dyrd i dauðathogn, was a huge hit in his native Iceland, and he has since gone on to tour internationally and release several more successful albums. His music is a mix of traditional Icelandic folk melodies and modern pop sensibilities, and he has a beautiful voice that is both soothing and uplifting. If you’re looking for some beautiful Icelandic folk music to add to your collection, Ásgeir is definitely an artist you need to check out.

Emiliana Torrini

Emilíana Torrini is an Icelandic singer and songwriter. She is best known for her 2009 single “Jungle Drum”, which reached number two on the UK Singles Chart. Her other notable singles include “Gollum’s Song” from the Lord of the Rings film The Two Towers (2002) and “Me and Armini” (2008).

Torrini was born in Reykjavík, Iceland. Her mother is Icelandic, while her father is Italian. She began singing at a young age, and by the time she was eleven she was performing regularly with Icelandic band Tappi Tíkarrass. In 1993, she released her debut album, Crouçie d’où là?, which garnered attention from Björk. The two would later collaborate on the song “Human Behaviour” from Björk’s album Debut (1993).

Torrini rose to international fame with her second album, Love in the Time of Science (1999), which was produced by Craig Armstrong and featured the single “To Be Free”. The album received positive reviews from critics, and Torrini was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2000 Brit Awards.

In 2002, Torrini recorded “Gollum’s Song” for the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards.

Torrini’s third album, Fisherman’s Woman (2003), was produced by Johannes Brahms and featured the single “Sunny Road”. The album received mixed reviews from critics, but peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart.

In 2006, Torrini moved to London and began working on her fourth album, Tookah (2013). The album was produced by Mike Lindsay of indie-rock band Tunng and featured the singles “Speed of Dark” and “Home”. Tookah received positive reviews from critics and peaked at number seven on the UK Albums Chart.

Torrini has also appeared as a guest vocalist on several tracks, including Röyksopp’s “Remind Me” (2001), Groove Armada’s “My Friend” (2002), and David Gilmour’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes” (2014).

Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men is a five-member Icelandic band that was formed in 2010. The band members are Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson, Brynjar Leifsson, Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, and Kristján Páll Kristjánsson. The band’s first album, My Head Is an Animal, was released in 2011 and was an instant success. It topped the charts in Iceland and reached the top ten in several other countries. Of Monsters and Men’s music is often classified as indie folk or indie pop, but it also incorporates elements of other genres such as rock and roll, pop, and even hip-hop.


In conclusion, there are many different Icelandic folk music artists that you should know about. Each artist has their own unique take on the genre, and they all bring something special to the table. If you’re a fan of folk music, then you owe it to yourself to check out some of these artists. You might just find your new favorite singer or band!

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