Icelandic Jazz: The Reception of Jazz in Iceland 1930-1945

12 april 2018 15:00 – 17:00 Hörsal M, Musikhögskolan

This lecture traces the arrival of jazz in Iceland and the development of the genre through changing economic, political and cultural situations there.

The aim is to shed light on the reception of jazz in Iceland during its first decades and show how issues of national identity and post-colonialism played a role in its reception. The early decades of the twentieth century were coloured by Iceland's struggle for independence from Denmark. Cultural leaders in Iceland were preoccupied with 'modernizing' culture in the country, partly to convince the world that Icelanders should be regarded as a part of the 'civilized' Western world, a nation among nations. Traditional music-making was renounced, and importance was placed on both modern music-making and European musical practice. The reaction to the arrival of jazz in Iceland is a fruitful example of how local and global factors influenced its reception. These include both the local cultural and political landscape, as well as the international discourse surrounding jazz.

This lecture will be held in English

Þorbjörg Daphne Hall is program director and lecturer of musicology in the Department of Music at the Iceland Academy of the Arts in Reykjavík with a PhD in music from the University of Liverpool. Her research project focuses on the idea of Icelandic sound in contemporary popular music where national identity, images, landscape and nature play a large role. She has published and presented internationally on Icelandic Music, Music and Nationalism in Iceland, Iceland Airwaves music festival and music in Christiania in Copenhagen.

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