Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week, we present songs by artists performing the 2014 Iceland Airwaves Music Festival. Today’s featured song is “King and Cross” by Ásgeir from the forthcoming album In The Silence on One Little Indian.
Last year, we were fortunate to discover young Icelandic singer-songwriter Ásgeir Trausti and brought him to Seattle after hearing his resonant voice and utterly captivating songs. And last October, we featured “Leyndarmál”, a song that like the rest of his celebrated debut, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, was sung completely in Icelandic, yet blew away even non-Icelandic speakers with its undeniable poetic quality. During his performance live at KEXP, he revealed that an English version of it was in the works and that American songwriter John Grant was translating the album’s Icelandic lyrics. Today’s featured song, the first single from In the Silence, is the glorious result of their collaboration. Not only is Grant’s translation faithful to the original lyrics (though the original title means “secrets”), “King and Cross” tracks almost identically to the original and loses none of its beauty. The only thing left that we hope will translate to this country are the many accolades and awards that Dýrð í dauðaþögn has won.
Ásgeir will close out our broadcast from KEX Hostel in Reykjavik on Friday, November 1st at 1:30PM PST. Find out more about our broadcast during Iceland Airwaves here and more about Ásgeir on his website and Facebook page. For now, here’s a live version we recorded last year of Ásgeir performing “Leyndarmál” plus the official video for “King and Cross”, which features John Grant himself acting the king: