Human in scope, eternal in sound
Kristin Thora Haraldsdottir
Kristin Thora Haraldsdottir
Catalog Number: 
#1 052
new classical
new music
solo voice

Reykjavik, Iceland

Release Date: 
Jan 22, 2021
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

"Haraldsdottir’s score, sung entirely in Icelandic, is human in its scope and eternal in its sound; Blóðhófnir conveys an elemental earthiness. It challenges past assumptions about culture and demonstrates that history ought to be interrogated and re-evaluated in light of contemporary realities."  -Todd Tarantino, MATA Festival.

Blóðhófnir / Bloodhoof (2016) was written to the award-winning poetic cycle by Icelandic poet Gerður Kristný, with intimate visuals by actor and interdisciplinary artist, Tinna Kristjánsdóttir for an all-female cast; the critically acclaimed UMBRA Ensemble, with lead vocalist Lilja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir and guest performers, who all sing and play period instruments. 

The poetic cycle is a reevaluation of an Old Norse mythic poem from the Edda, in which the giantess, Gerður Gymisdóttir, is abducted from her homeland, Jötunheimar, or the Land of Giants, to be forced to marry the god Freyr in the Land of Gods. This contemporary retelling is told by the giantess herself, redefining what was traditionally percieved as a story of “love” into one of abduction and violence.

The music reflects on the historic and the contemporary with vocal harmonies and earthy gut strings, underlining the continuing historical relevance of the story.

“Gerður Gymisdóttir's story is a clear case of human trafficking”. - Gerður Kristný

Gerður Kristný's poetic cycle, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir's composition and Tinna Kristjánsdóttir's visuals manifest and express Gerður Gymisdóttir's deep love for her home, her natural habitat and family, and her tragic fate of abduction and abuse in the Land of Gods. An intimate and powerful ode to women in sound, images and words. 

The disc includes a booklet with stills from Tinna Kristjánsdóttir's visual work.

Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir is a performer/composer, violist and interdisciplinary artist. Her compositions include solo instrumental, chamber- and orchestral work, baroque ballads, songs and soundscapes. She is an explorative improvisor of sound and movement, utilizing gesture and touch as means of sonic expression. To date, Kristín has released one solo record with VDSQ Records.

UMBRA is an alternative music ensemble with eclectic tastes, exploring both ancient and contemporary music through improvisation and original arrangements. The artistic vision of the players is to blur the boundaries of tradition and to appeal to a wide audience by breathing new life into ancient music.

Tinna Kristjánsdóttir is an actor, vocalist, interdisciplinary performer and artist. Her work includes Samuel Beckett’s Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby, performed at an abandoned fish factory in Reykjavik, fronting various bands, performing with musicians Óbó (Ólafur Björn Ólafsson), Lay Low, and Kristín Þóra, working with The Scandinavian American Theatre Company, acting in films, doing visuals and texts for performances and advertisements.

Gerður Kristný is among the leading contemporary writers of Iceland. For the past two decades she has produced a vast oeuvre, ranging from journalistic works on various subjects to ten volumes of poetry, for which she is best known internationally. For Bloodhoof, she received the Icelandic Literature Awards and was nominated for the prestigious Nordic Council Awards. 

The full poem, Blóðhófnir / Bloodhoof, is available from: (English translation and foreword by Rory McTurk with the original Icelandic poem included).