With the first heat of Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins 2011 kicking off tomorrow all five participants are now known and their entries have been made available online. The first five artists are unknown to many, so perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at who they are and what they’ll be performing.
Song number 1 : Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir – Ástin Mín Eina / My Only Love (Written by: Arnar Ástráðsson)
Erna Hrönn is without doubt the most familiar performer to Eurovision fans taking part in the first heat. One of the founding members of the group Bermuda in 2004, she was their lead singer until 2008. She gained invaluable experience when competing with Örlagadís and Glópagull in Söngvakeppni 2007 and 2009 respectively, but didn’t manage to make it to either final. She also was privileged to be on stage as a backing singerin Moscow with Yohanna later that year, bringing Iceland its only other top 3 placing. She has also contributed vocals to the Einar Bragi Bragason album Skuggar released in 2007. Her entry Ástin Mín Eina is a simple love song, with an intro uncannily like Niamh Kavanagh’s It’s For You. The text is a simple plea, explaining how she has been looking for love for such a long time and if her love wants to be by her side. An extremely pleasant, soothing melody with crystal clear vocals. One to watch on the night.
Song number 2 : Böddi og JJ Soul Band – Lagið Þitt / Your Song (Written by: Ingvi Þór Kormáksson)
Böddi is also quite well known in the Icelandic music scene as the main songwriter and lead singer of the group Touch and later on with the band Dalton. His debut album So Simple came in 2009 which produced two singles, Lullaby and So Simple, both major radio hits. He cites his main musical influences to be Jeff Buckley, Sting and Jason Mraz and is currently signed to the Tónn record label. His entry Lagið Þitt has an unmistakeable reggae sound, and it serves as a great showcase for his extremely versatile voice. The combination Icelandic and Reggae is not as strange as it may sound!
Song number 3 : Pétur Örn Guðmundsson – Elísabet (Written by: Pétur Örn Guðmundsson)
Pétur Örn has had considerable musical experience, performing with the bands Buff, Dúndurfréttum, Hangir á bláþræði, Sirkus Babalú and Fjallkonunni. He has also appeared in the musical production of Hair back in 1994. According to Pétur Örn, his main musical influences are Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. Although this is his first time as an artist in his own right in the competition, he has provided backing vocals for Icelandic entries at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000, 2006, 2008 and 2010. His entry Elísabet is a melancholic affair if truth be told, when he asks for forgiveness for hurting the one he loves (hence the title). It starts off pleasantly enough, but doesn’t have much drive and after the first chorus soon becomes quite repetetive.
Song number 4 : Hanna Guðný Hitchon – Huldumey / Elf Maiden (Written by: Ragnar Hermannsson)
Not much is known about Hanna Guðný Hitchon, apart from the fact that she is strikingly beautiful, is a raven haired beauty and her favourite music includes Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, R&B and rock music. She has no previous releases to her name, and nothing is known of previous musical experience. Judging by her entry Huldumey however, she possesses a great set of pipes, deliciously raspy and soulful in sound and even though you may not understand Icelandic, her voice is certainly emotive enough to overcome that obstacle.
Song number 5 : Haraldur Reynisson – Ef Ég Hefði Vængi / If Only I Had Wings (Written by: Haraldur Reynisson)
Haraldur composed his own entry this year. During his formative years, he was an avid guitar player and was influenced by acts such as diverse as Slade and Spilverks Þjóðanna. He has taught music at the Reykjavík Music Academy. He is currently studying music at the University of Iceland. He has several albums to his name during the period 1993-2006, Undir Hömrunum Háu, Hring eftir Hring, Trúbadúr, Myndir, Við Erum Eins, Leiðin er Löng and Fjögurra Manna Far. This is his first attempt at competing in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins. Haraldur’s entry, Ef Ég Hafði Vængi is a jangly little number, radio friendly in its simplicity and is great background music. Will hardly pose a threat on Saturday night, though.
In the video below you can see Hera Björk and her backing singers including two of the participants from this heat entertain the press at their press conference in Oslo.
In my view
Difficult to say what the outcome will be and who will go on to the final, although I’ll gladly stick my neck out and say that Saturday night will be ladies night, with Erna Hrönn and Hanna Guðný advancing to the final, should be on the whole a great show to watch.The opinion expressed in "In my view" are those of the author and are not necessarily the one of EuroVisionary.com.