Keeping a finger on the pulse

Wanna get tickets? Set up a band!

in Explore/Issue #1 by

Words by Bartek Wilk
Photo by Magnús Andersen (

It was 2006. Finnish band Lordi won the 51st Eurovision contest in Athens with their song ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. A few months later, 15-year-old Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson heard about a music competition that would take place in his school. The main prize for the winning band was a free invitation to the Musiktilraunir festival. Uni couldn’t give up such opportunity. The only chance to get the tickets was to participate in the competition as a band. So, with a little help of his school teachers – Árni from FM Belfast and Bóas, singer of Reykjavík! he made a quick decision to set up the band. Unnsteinn gathered his friends from junior high school: Þórður Jörundsson, Jon Seljeseth, Þorbjörg Gunnarsdóttir, Haraldur Stefánsson and Gylfi Sigurðsson and together with his younger brother Logi Pedro they wrote a song. Although ‘Papa Paolo’ didn’t manage to win the school review, the newborn band called Retro Stefson was soon invited not only to watch, but to play at the festival.

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The first ever English-language magazine entirely dedicated to Icelandic music. Discover creative musicians, albums, and ideas that shape the Icelandic local scene.

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