Iceland is a land of beauty and simplicity. As soon as I landed at the airport at Keflavik the landscape enveloped me. Miles and miles of rock formations without a single tree in sight…
The city of Reykjavik is around 45 minutes from the airport and is small, compact and easy to navigate. The sun shining for 22 hours in early summer did help the case. The town itself is steeped in art and culture. Everywhere you turn, there are interesting murals on the walls and artwork on the roads. The attractions and the sights outside Reykjavik are simply stunning from the geo-thermal geysers to waterfalls and then the mesmerizing landscape.
I also came across a very vibrant music scene all across the city. Being fortunate to be located next to the newest venue “Menghai”, I had the good fortune to watch a couple of experimental concerts in the space led by some extraordinary young musicians and also meet the creators of the Menghai Tea House. Andras and Olga had travelled from Budapest to introduce tea making to the coffee drinking Icelandic masses. It was just a pleasure sitting and sipping tea with them and discussing the merits of the unfurling jasmine tea versus the delicious Darjeeling and watch the intricate and meditative process of making tea. If on the one hand the smaller venues had the edge of intimacy, the Harpa which is the biggest concert venue had grandeur and luxury. I had the privilege of watching some brilliant Women composers on my third evening in Reykjavik and felt truly blessed. The sheer joy of listening to wonderful music is unbeatable.
Lullabies are an integral part of Iceland and I had the pleasure and joy of discussing that with a variety of artists and organisations on my trip. I also had the chance to discuss lullabies with the wonderful Arna and Hjordis and will be going back soon to discuss the practicalities of bringing the project to Iceland and I truly cannot wait to go back and work with some of the music and musicians I met there.
Sometimes life surprises you and Iceland took my breath away on various occasions. Walking in the mild sunshine on the last day and watching the sun rise from behind the iconic “Sun Voyager” a sculpture installed on the harbor front, I felt completely at peace and rejuvenated enough to continue my journey exploring lullabies.
Supriya Nagarajan, Artistic Director of Manasamitra