Keeping a finger on the pulse

Pétur Ben

God’s lonely man – Pétur Ben

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For actually a few years I haven’t celebrated Easter but Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival in West Fjords instead. Of course, my luck hasn’t let me also last year to end up in Ísafjörður in person (maybe 2016?) but at least it reminded me how I discovered one of the most impressive and estimable artists of Iceland. Believe me, watching an annual broadcast of all the performances of Aldrei Fór Ég Suður while sitting in not too comfortable chair is probably not the best idea so it happened I had a nap. But can you imagine that you are waking up to the sounds that knock your socks off? Then I didn’t know who was performing with that entire band but I found out quite quick that his name is Pétur. Pétur Ben.

After several years of following this artist I have to admit one thing – whatever Pétur Ben does, he does it incredibly well. He is a talented composer, musician and producer who has been involved into theater, television, movies production and has released by now two solo albums – Wine for my weakness (2006) and God´s lonely man (2012). No doubt that that experience had seeped through the cracks of listeners’ minds. Pétur Ben composes songs that center around the mood and when it comes about a melody and tone – they are magnificient. His voice is gentle and soft but it can be also strong and harsh if he wants to perform real rock´n´roll. Pétur Ben plays rather role of the narrator that tells stories hidden in his dark lyrics. It always makes the whole picture a bit haunting. Just give this man a few people to play for and his guitar (because he is a tremendous guitarist) so the show will end with Pétur standing on the tallest bar stool in the venue and performing something extra ordinary.

So you would ask me what to expect from the full band? Pétur Ben´s shows are impressive and full of power. He is an experienced composer that has no problems with expressing himself on stage. Pétur Ben & co are able to offer you a roller coaster ride through sounds reminding you more or less rock style from 90s. But he also has this incredible skill of changing in the middle of the song, totally unexpectedly, and suddenly you can hear a diverse key or tempo. Honestly, it may start slowly with just one drop. But then drop by drop rain arrives and creates a crazy river of sound that will break your inner dam and fill you up with such great new compositions from an impressive and coherent second album entitled God’s Lonely Man like Cold War Baby, Yellow Flower, Wasted on Holidays or The King of Underpass. I was lucky enough to see him live once during Iceland Airwaves at his favorite off-venue place – Bar 11. A very small space in the basement but also very atmospheric and additionally offers a good sound. And you know what? I can’t swim. And actually there is no point of resisting when you start floating on music played by Pétur Ben.

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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.

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