A sparsely populated island in the North Atlantic recently made worldwide headlines in the Global Financial Crisis and for volcanic eruptions that caused unprecedented chaos to international air travel. Large contemporary audiences have formed very different images of Iceland through the vocal music and music videos of BjArk and Sigur RA(3)s. Just below the Arctic Circle, Icelandic men engage in more everyday vocal practices, where singing, literally for one's Self, is an everyday life skill set against a backdrop of unique natural, historical, economic and social phenomena. Their sagas of song and singing are the subject of this book. The original Icelandic Sagas - among the most important collections of medieval European literature - are valued for richly detailed portrayals of individual lives. This book's principle protagonists and collaborators share a heritage where Sagas remain central to national and local identity. While the oral traditions associated with them were largely overwhelmed by European romanticism just over a hundred years ago, ironically, this new vocal music became a key technology for national renewal. Written by an 'immigrant' musician who lived in a remote Icelandic community for over twenty years, this volume focuses upon individual and collective stories about singing as personal and social work. Drawing upon everyday ethnographic and sociological studies of music, and emerging discourse about musical identity, the study uses anthropological, historical and musicological evidence in thinking about songs, singing and Self, and the genderedness of this particular singing practice.
Robert Faulkner, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, University of Reading and University of Sheffield, is a musician, educator and researcher who lived and worked in the UK and Iceland before his present appointment at the University of Western Australia. His research interests and publications focus on interdisciplinary approaches to the contextualized study of everyday music practices and music learning.
Contents: Introduction; Telling tales and setting the scene; Baldur's Saga; Icelandic sagas and songs; Singing social connections; Songworlds: the body and vocal places; Songs, spirituality and self therapy; Singing himself: singing and the construction of gender identity; My saga; Vocal events and singing's agency in change; Conclusions, closure and the vocal celebration of self; Gallery; Bibliogaphy, sound and film recordings; Index.