Sunday, August 07, 2005

Icelandic Artists

"The Wonder Hat"
"The Peoples Poet":

-- I know you will come tonight --
even though you went so quickly last night.
I don´t belive your words
-- as two twinkling stars told me otherwise! --

(my humble translation)

Ási í Bæ
(Adapted from Wikipedia)

Ástgeir Kristinn Ólafsson, better known as Ási í Bæ was born
27. febrúar, 1914. As a child he lived in Litlibær in the Westman Islands. He was very young when he started going to sea with his father in an open motorboat.

"Out of the Summer Seas,
in the softness of the breeze,
with mountains on green fleece,
there rises Heimaey...."

He graduated from the Cooperative College of Iceland. He worked as a clerk in the Westman Islands for a while, but most of his life he was a seaman.

In 1968 he moved with his family to Reykjavík where he worked as editor of the comic and satire (often political) magazine Spegillinn (The Mirror).

Ási was known all over the country for his songs and lyrics, as a singer of songs and a highly productive writer, especially after he quit going to sea.
His co-operation with poets/writers Árni úr Eyjum, Loftur Guðmundsson and Oddgeir Kristjánsson became famous and produced songs (more often than not composed for the "Þjóðhátíð" in the Westman Islands) that the Icelandic nations still knows and cherishes.
Songs like Sólbrúnir vangar (Suntaned Cheeks) og Ég veit þú kemur (I know you will come).

He was the writer of many books, for example Sá hlær best... (He laughs best...) where he tells about the adventures of his life, Granninn í vestri (The Neighbour in the West), a travellogue from Greenland, Breytileg átt (Shifting Wind), a novel, Eyjavísur (Island songs), and book of short stories Sjór, öl og ástir (Sea, beer and love). He also produced a record, Undrahatturinn (The Wonder Hat), where he sings his own songs and lyrics, accompanying himself on the guitar.

He died in Reykjavík, at the age of 71, in the spring of 1985.

His daughter is Kristín Ástgeirsdóttir, a historian and former member of Alþingi, the Icelandic legislative assembly, where she represented
The Women´s Alliance. It was an alliance formed by Icelandic women in 1983, with the goal of promoting womens participation and increasing their status in politics and social affairs (She was also a graduate from the Mennatskólinn við Hamrahlíð in 1971, same year as I graduated from there!)

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