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Groningen, 23 September 2014

Iceland erupts at Eurosonic Noorderslag: Focus country announces first wave of acts for 2015

  • Kaleo, Kiasmos, Rökkurró and Samaris confirmed as the first Icelandic acts to play Eurosonic Noorderslag 2015.
  • Iceland is the focus country for the 2015 event, widely recognised as Europe’s most important live music showcase and conference.
  • International live performances by Icelandic artists more than doubled between 2012 and 2013

In 2015, Iceland will be the focus country at Eurosonic Noorderslag, and today Iceland Music Export has announced that Kaelo, Kiasmos, Rökkurró and Samaris are confirmed as the first Icelandic acts to play Europe’s most important live music showcase and conference.

The 29th edition of Eurosonic Noorderslag will take place between January 14th-17th 2015.

Long acknowledged for the depth and innovation of its homegrown music talent epitomised by bands like The Sugarcubes, Sigur Ros and Of Monsters & Men; and by festivals such as Iceland Airwaves that attract thousands of visiting music fans each year. Iceland has recently enjoyed a surge of international successes, with the number of overseas performances by Icelandic artists more than doubling between 2012 and 2013. 

The four bands confirmed for Eurosonic Noorderslag are indicative of this diversity: ranging from the electronic experimentation of Kiasmos and Samaris through to the indie poprock of Kaleo (who were selected by European Broadcasting Union member radio station RUV/RAS2) and Rökkurró.

Sigtryggur Baldursson, MD Iceland Music Export said:

“Iceland’s music community is in the midst of some massively exciting developments, so to be invited as Eurosonic Noorderslag’s focus country for 2015 is perfect timing as well as a great honour. A combination of our homegrown festivals, a targeted export programme, Reykjavik’s establishment as an international touring destination and the continued success of Icelandic music abroad has resulted in the emergence of a new generation of artists. The likes of Kaleo, Kiasmos, Rökkurró and Samaris are all unique and individual talents, and I hope today’s announcement will offer just a small taste of what to expect next January.”

Peter Smidt, creative director Eurosonic Noorderslag added:

“For many years we have enjoyed the incredible amount of unique acts to come out of this small European country. We also have been amazed by the quality of Icelandic acts that have performed at previous editions of Eurosonic Noorderslag. We are looking forward to put a spotlight on all new Icelandic talents by doing the focus on Iceland at Eurosonic Noorderslag in January 2015.”

Each year a different focus country is highlighted at Eurosonic Noorderslag showcasing the diverse musical talent across Europe. Other countries who have been showcased at previous editions include France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, The Netherlands, Ireland, Finland and Austria.


For a band which formed just a year and a half ago, Kaleo has experienced considerable success. This indie/pop/rock quartet shot to fame last year with their cover of Icelandic classic “Vor í Vaglaskógi” and since then have achieved two number 1 hit singles. Their selftitled debut, also released in 2013, also topped the Icelandic charts and the band picked up Icelandic Listeners awards for Best Album, Best Singer and Best New Act. Kaleo were also named best newcomers at the Icelandic Music Awards.

After dropping several tracks and performing at select festivals throughout the years, Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen dedicated 2014 to explore the area in-between Ólafur’s more acoustic, pianobased solo work and Janus’s synth-heavy electro pop, with their collaborative electronic project. Made in Ólafur’s newlybuilt studio in Reykjavík, the majority of their debut selftitled album (released by Erased Tapes) was recorded using acoustic instruments next to a variety of synthesisers, drum machines and tape delays.

With band members spending time between Tokyo, London and Reykjavík over the past three years, Rökkurró have been meticulously expanding their luscious musical palette. The success of the band’s previous studio effort Í Annan Heim (produced by Alex Somers of Jónsi fame) was largely unexpected. The album spent over 100 weeks in the Top 30 of the Icelandic charts, while gathering warm words from international media such as NME, Clash Magazine, KEXP Radio, The Line Of Best Fit and CMU Daily. Three years on, Rökkurró are back in the studio, with a new record scheduled in 2014. This time around, their partner in crime is the renowned multiinstrumentalist and producer Helgi Hrafn Jónsson.

Formed in 2011, Samaris won both the Icelandic Músíktilraunir (past winners include the likes of Of Monsters and Men) and Kraumur Award within months; while their performance at Iceland Airwaves in 2012, attracted the attention of The Line Of Best Fit, Drowned In Sound and One Little Indian - to who they subsequently signed.  The UK release in July 2013 of the group’s two Icelandic EPs (as the eponymous Samaris album) sparked widespread interest, with glowing reviews appearing everywhere from NME to the FT. An acclaimed follow up, Silkidrangar, was released in May 2014. 

About Iceland Music Export

Iceland Music Export (IMX) was initiated by Samtónn, an umbrella organisation of rights holders societies, in partnership with governmental and private funds in November 2006. The aim is to bring together the disparate strands of Iceland’s eclectic scene under one roof. By increasing access to information about artists, collaborating with companies to promote Icelandic music abroad and organizing marketing strategies, festival and event participation, IMX will increase the visibility of Icelandic music in the international sphere, and provide an essential one-stop resource for all interested parties. 

About Eurosonic Noorderslag

Eurosonic Noorderslag is the key exchange and networking platform for European music, with a proven track record for helping to break new acts on the international live music scene. A sold-out event for many years, Eurosonic Noorderslag attracts over 3,200 professional delegates, including representatives of over 400 international festivals. Eurosonic Noorderslag presents showcases by more than 300 acts alongside a conference programme featuring 150 panels, keynote speakers, interviews, workshops, dinners, pitches, parties and meetings covering the latest developments in the international music, media and interactive industries.

Eurosonic Noorderslag has been responsible for kick-starting the careers of European acts like Ásgeir, Benjamin Clementine, Birth of Joy, Coely, Emilie Nicolas, Ewert and the Two Dragons, George Ezra, Hozier, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, Jungle, Kadebostany, Larry Gus, Mighty Oaks, Milky Chance and MØ.

Conference registrations can be purchased through www.eurosonic-noorderslag.nl.
The start of ticket sales for the festival programme will be announced this autumn.


Note to the editor / Not for publication

For more information and questions:

Eurosonic Noorderslag

Ruud Berends - ruud.berends@noorderslag.nl

Iceland Music Export

Adam Webb - adjwebb@btinternet.com
Debbie Ball - debbie@createspark.co.uk


Eurosonic Noorderslag logo
Eurosonic Noorderslag festival and conference photos

Eurosonic Noorderslag 2015 press releases

Eurosonic Noorderslag announces first conference names
Eurosonic Noorderslag opens conference registration and act submission
Eurosonic Noorderslag 2015 focuses on Iceland
Press release archive