The power of drums – Slagverk

in Live by

My first summer in Reykjavik was really memorable. And, I guess, forever and ever, it will remind me of two interesting summer projects that were brought to life thanks to a youth center called Hitt Húsið (but primarily thanks to clever minds). One of those projects was Slagverk that combined visual arts, percussion instrumentation… and somehow I have to add also a smell of rain to this list.

Every year Hitt Húsið gathers youngs ages from 16 to 25 that want to express themselves in a compelling way and explore fields of art, culture and education. You will probably never experience performances of groups organised in summer specially for this purpose during more than one season. So Slagverk played or rather performed in that shape only in 2013. Still I think there are some things in this town that should be saved from oblivion. Exactly like Slagverk. At least because watching short movies that documented their summer adventure with art makes you smile. Secondly… if you were that lucky to see them live during these 8 weeks those memories took a seat in your brain.

Reykjavík Runs: Slagverk in Öskjuhlíð from Reykjavik Runs Us on Vimeo.

But wait a moment, actually who was hidden behind the mask of Slagverk? Ægir Sindri Bjarnason and Fritz Hendrik Berndsen. Both youngs, that has been active on a local art scene, joined their forces to create something interesting out of the mixture that includes video pieces and live percussion show. They demonstrated among others that you can play anything and make sound of it, even seemingly useless trash. If one day the team of Six Drummers from Sweden will come to Iceland I want them to be joined by Slagverk to make some noise for eight drummers and… who knows what? But it would be worth watching and listening to as much as Music For One Apartment and Six Drummers or Sound of Noise.

So I was enough (un)lucky to see Slagverk playing in a rain or rather in a drizzle. If you noticed that summer people crowded somewhere on the main pedestrian streets of Reykjavik you could be sure that this artistic duo was involved into a situation. The guys were not really up to showing their faces and rather preferred to sink deep into artistic idea and be performers in 100%. So Slagverk took different shapes… and colors. They got orange, white, red and black. They even performed music for two brains! I’m still wondering who was the left and who was the right half. That time when I saw them my private thinking can hidden in the skull ended up splashed on the window of Te og Kaffi coffehouse.

Verk fyrir tvo trommuheila from Fritz Hendrik Berndsen IV on Vimeo.

The last show was held during Menningarnótt/The Cultural Night. Trommuhringur. With their every next idea I was more and more impressed and convinced about a creative power of Slagverk‘s halves of brain and that day I was aware I’m not gonna see them again in the same shape. Unexpectedly, I felt sorry. There was really something magnetizing in this dance in the ring made of drums. They kind of cast a charm on people around and whispered through instruments in an unknown and ancient language that your unconsciousness was able to understand but your modern side of spirit couldn’t put into words.

Trommuhringur from Fritz Hendrik Berndsen IV on Vimeo.

God might be a dj but life is a rhythm. I don’t have to guess because it is rather visible that the creators of Slagverk can truly feel it. So they simply made my life more colorful in the summer 2013 with their street performances. Tee-hee!


Stína has followed her passion to Icelandic music as a music journalist since 2010. She joined then a writing team of Muzyka Islandzka - a Polish website dedicated to Icelandic music. Spreading her wings, Stína started her adventure with Icelandic language and moved to Reykjavík where she studied the language at the university. She also takes an active part in life of the local music scene. Since 2014 Stína had run a music blog that was transformed in 2017 into a printed magazine on Icelandic music.