Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Brynja (Iceland) – My oh My (single/track from forthcoming album)

In case you haven’t seen it, there’s a Netflix series called ‘KATLA’ which concerns a modern day eruption of the feared Icelandic glacial volcano that goes off every 20-90 years but hasn’t done so now for 104. Like the comet, it’s coming.

When it does, it could even be a VEI-6, comparable to Krakatoa and it would shut down aviation, everywhere, for a long time as well as blowing a sizeable chunk out of Iceland. It would make neighbouring Eyjafjallajökull’s effort in 2010 look like a sneeze. Or a wet fart.

The series concerns random mysterious events that take place in the nearby town of Vik – a weird community to start with, with its volcanic black beach – after the eruption. People (‘changelings’, think The Midwich Cuckoos) suddenly reappear, Twin Peaks-like, 20 years after they were last seen, covered in ash, and a volcanologist from Reykjavík discovers the remains of a meteorite buried in the glacier, while having to deal emotionally with the reappearance of his dead son. It’s just so…Icelandic.

I mention all this just to set the scene because Brynja’s earlier song ‘Fight’ was featured in the series. Just so you know where she’s coming from.

In reality, although she is distinctly Icelandic Brynja Bjarnadóttir now ‘comes from’ the Netherlands, to where she moved and lived from 2017 until 2021 when the pandemic caused her a series of personal challenges.

She says she wrote the song “at a pretty low point in my life. My relationship ended, I had no job, no house, Covid came… I wanted to get my life back on track and make some big life decisions but that’s tough when you feel you’ve got nothing under control. It‘s hard to know where to start. I got so frustrated with myself; it just felt like my heart spoke a language I didn’t understand.”

Double Dutch, perhaps?

All that suggests we’re in for some self pity on an epic scale but Brynja doesn’t do self pity; rather she treats events, good and bad, as part of life’s journey, and tries to find hope even in the darkest moments.

Which brings me to the song, and a monster of a surprise. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. Imagine Fiona Apple deciding in the middle of her ‘Extraordinary Machine’ album to throw in an R&B track, one that somehow mixed up that genre with her own unique blues-jazz-art pop that reached new heights on that album.  Even the fast-paced lyrical phrasing is the same.

It’s evident from the song how she deals with the issues that life throws at her, with a smile on her face and a skip in her step and from that viewpoint alone she’ll win new fans with it.

‘My Oh My’, co-written with Merle Verseef, is the second from her debut album ‘Repeat’ that will be released on October 20th by Alda Music.

Incidentally, don’t expect any two Brynja songs to sound the same, I took a listen to both ‘Fight’ and to her previous single/track, from the album, ‘Mildly Insane’ (in collaboration with a Dutch musician) and they are all quite different.

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