June 1st - August 31st: 12 am - 6 pm
September - May: By arrangement
Please call 467-2300 during summer time, 898-0270 during winter time
The Folk Music Centre in Siglufjordur is located in Madame House where the Rev. Bjarni Þorsteinsson lived from 1888 to 1898. The centre brings to life the world of Icelandic folk music. Visitors can see video recordings of people of all ages chanting epic poetry (rímur), singing quint-songs (tvísöngur), reciting nursery rhymes, and playing folk instruments such as the langspil (similar to dulcimer) and the Icelandic violin (fiðla). Most of the recordings were made in the year of 2006, some are from the spring of 2007 or later. Landmark Films did the recordings, but the musician and artistic director of the Folk Music Festival, Gunnsteinn Ólafsson, organized the takes and selected the material. Here you can see a recording of mother and son, María Jónsdóttir and Jón Ólafsson from the farm Kirkjubær in Fljótshlíð, Þórð Tómasson from the farm Skógar, and Ásgeir Sigurðsson from the farm Ljótarstaðir in Skaftártunga, sing and chant. The recording is formatted for Quick Time and here you can down load a free version of that.
In 2012 the Folk Music Centre received a special award from the Minister of Education, Science and Culture for its contribution to Icelandic culture on the Icelandic Language Day.
The Folk Music Festival of Siglufjordur
A five days music event is held annually at the Folk Music Center in Siglufjordur. The festival commences on the first Wednesday of July every year. The main focus is on Icelandic and Scandinavian folk music as well as world music and folk dances. 15-20 concerts are held in different location of the town. During the festival, workshops on music and old handcraft, and lectures on both Icelandic and foreign topics are held. The relaxed atmosphere for the whole familie in the beatiful town Siglufjordur is an experience not to be missed.
Future Festival Dates
17th Annual Festival: 6-10 July 2016
18th Annual Festival: 5-9 July 2017
19th Annual Festival: 4-8 July 2018
The centre also depicts the life of the Rev. Bjarni Thorsteinsson and how he collected the folk songs.
Bjarni Þorsteinsson (1861-1938)
Rev. Bjarni Þorsteinsson was Iceland´s foremost collector of folk music. He was also a talented musician and a composer of many pieces for solo voice and choir, of which many are frequently sung in Iceland. He started collecting folk songs about 1880 and after 25 years published the book Icelandic Folk Songs (Íslensk Þjóðlög) with the support of the Carlsberg Foundation in Denmark. The book has hundreds of folk songs, some Bjarni notated after listening to singers and chanters from various parts of the country, and others where sent to him from fellow collectors. On the 100 year anniversary of Bjarni's book, the Folk Music Center was officially opened, in July 2006. Bjarni worked in Siglufjordur his whole life. Apart from being the priest of the town he was an active politician and is by many considered the "father of Siglufjordur."