mosaic music festival 2014: Ólafur Arnalds (09/03)

setlist:

(to be updated)

was greeted by a long queue outside the recital studio before it started, and i was so shocked to see so many people.

before he started, he said that he would be carrying out a little experiment – he made the audience sing ‘ah’ to the tune of the c note, while he recorded it and played it back. then he began and it was magical:

personally, tears started streaming down my face at one point in the first song. later on, i heard many other people sniff as well, some even tried to discreetly blow their noses. and that was undeniably beautiful. i thought to myself it is beautiful what music can do, what his music does.

there was no intermission, and olafur arnalds was such a dear. he kept thanking us for turning up, and the icelandic accent made him even more adorable than he already was. at one point in the performance he talked about singapore and said they were really far away from their home, but he was really touched to meet nice people here. he talked about mbs, saying “it is very interesting that you have a ship on top of a building and i freaked out last night when it started shooting lasers – does anyone actually find this normal?”; other things like “apparently i have an autograph session later on, so i guess i’ll see you later. i don’t know who decided it, the voice of god or something… anyway yes i do have cds for sale it would be nice if you bought them because if not i would have to bring them back and the baggage costs are expensive”; & of course on the weather “it is so hot. it is hard to stay alive here” to which we chuckled.

i loved the quietness and how silence was unspoken-ly sacrosanct, how we allowed ourselves to be still, to engage in the music and our emotions. i loved the rawness of it all.

 

for his last song before the encore, he played Ljósið and told us about how he reads the youtube comments sometimes and laughs because he originally wrote it for a bathtub commercial.

i watched my crumpled hands in the dark as i listened as the audience sat in quiet stillness for such a long period of time; i thought about how we really seldom do this ourselves – sitting still and listening to music without lyrics. feeling the music. for all of the exhaustion that i have been drowning in from the past weeks, this fed my soul sufficiently and opened my eyes and my heart to beauty again. at one point i felt this: how lonesome it is to feel like nobody truly understands or knows you; the only person who was ever close to that is now gone, and then i let my tears fall.

i left the recital studio feeling renewed and reborn; having been baptised in music in beauty in tears.

thank you, olafur arnalds.

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