Today we debut our newest collaboration with Paradís Sessions, a live, unplugged session series from Reykjavík. They bring their indie knowledge into our pages shining lights on new Icelandic findings and fulfilling those with live session happenings. We couldn't feel more honoured. This is all on them:
The Paradís Sessions
With one camera and a fixed on-body mic, we take the streets. Headphones on, artist in transit – this is how we operate. On the cuff, on the cusp, chasing artists around town and filming one-off takes to capture something unique. We roam around artists, in among the mystic Icelandic landscape.
We’ve filmed in a host of intriguing spaces so far – overlooking an island, on a boat to said island, and even from the top of a lighthouse (more on that soon.)
Our aim is not to find perfection in HD, but to capture the honesty, the rawness, the genuine. We like to call it the “real life” of live performance. Just like the natural environment around us here in Iceland.
Since the beginning of 2018, we’ve captured a host of grassroots and up-and-coming artists, bands and musicians. We’ve even had a showcase stage at Iceland Airwaves, hosting some of the newest music in the capital at one of the biggest showcase festivals around.
Through this new collaboration we’ll share some of those moments. The artists, their music & stories, with a glimpse into life when everything but the performance is stripped back.
From the Cold: Jelena Ćirić
First up is our most recent session, among the exotic February winter here. Intense cold, snow-covered ground, and an array of pinks and blues in the morning sky.
We took artist Jelena Ćirić out to Grótta island on such a morning. A tiny landmass connected to the town of Seltjarnarnes, north of Reykjavík, where the lighthouse has stood watch since 1947. An idyllic location, cast adrift daily by the sea, the isolation made it perfect to film something magical.
Indeed, we were the only ones making the trip across the beach as the tide swung back and forth along the sand on that morning.
Jelena is an artist who’s natural charisma makes her ‘usual’ live performance wholesome and warm (usual being with a mic, a keyboard, and some electricity…) You feel like you belong when watching, it gives you that nice feeling in your stomach.
Originally from Serbia, but growing up in Canada and now living in Iceland. Her songs are more like stories – telling of the different experiences she has lived through – with her deep, poetic vocal casting the lyrics like poems. The comparison to Regina Spektor is obvious, given the style and tone but it’s sincere because of the depth.
So taking Jelena to the top of the lighthouse,with only her voice, provided an interesting challenge. We were so lucky. Jelena had prepared for the occasion like a pro, writing a new song, Fig Tree, which she performed totally a cappella (amongst stories of tomatoes and Eden.)
All in all we were alone in the lighthouse for around forty-five minutes, doing three and a half takes (it was so cold in there, we had to warm-up with a couple.) We could not have been more in the moment, so much so, we lost track of time and were nearly left adrift on the island as the tide caught us out (we managed to scale the icy rocks without any fatalities, thankfully).
Then we drove home, back to normality. The result is the video (alert: you might want to increase the volume to the maximum to enjoy this fully):