A week ago, my wife and I drove deep into the Piedmont region of Virginia to Rappahannock County in the lush foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our destination was a chamber concert at the Castleton Festival, a showplace for young musicians.
World Cafe's Sense of Place series takes the show to Iceland, where Ă“lafur PĂˇll Gunnarsson â€” known by most as Ă“li Palli â€” was voted the most important Icelandic radio personality of the 20th century. He can be heard on the Icelandic public radio station RĂˇs 2, on which he hosts the music programs Poppaland and Rokkland.
Here, he joins World Cafe to play new Icelandic pop from newcomer GrĂsalappalĂsa, as well as longtime favorite GusGus. He also tackles the question of why so many Icelandic artists sing in English.
Truth be told, Holly Williams brought me and many of my hardened colleagues to tears. The singer-songwriter has a magnificent way with words and phrasing, not to mention a country-music lineage that fills her with pride and guides her poignancy and subject matter.