Born out of singer/songwriter Svavar Knutur's desperate need for an emotional outlet after a series of youth traumas, from the start, Hraun (Lava) has been a band capable of swinging between the lowest lows and highest highs in one concert. Often finishing their sets with crazy joyful party music that goes on into the night, Hraun is a joy to watch and listen to.
From stories of bitter break ups and loss of loved ones, to tales of clumsy hookups on the Icelandic party scene and raunchy rebels looking for a place to dance, Hraun delivers a very human experience.
In Hraun's opinion, no concert should have the same feel, every concert should be special, just like every night is unique. Therefore there is never a setlist, only a calling of songs that make up for the emotional sculpture of the evening.
Singer Svavar Knutur often performs as a solo troubadour act, singing the band's songs in cafes, churches and concert halls.
Hraun's debut LP "I can't believe it's not happiness" has gotten great reviews on icelandic national radio by local legend, DJ and rock prophet Andrea Jonsdottir. It has been described as "masculine, but with great feeling", "Artistic with a lot of heart" and "like lava rocks clad in a traditional icelandic woolen sweater."
Hraun Played a show in the main venue of Iceland Airwaves on Saturday 20th of october, warming up for Bloc Party and got rave reviews.
In December 2007 Hraun made it into the five band finals of the BBC world service contest "The Next Big thing". The band played in front of a jury at Maida Vale Studios in London. The perfomance was broadcast on radio, webcast and television on the BBC world service network.
Hraun received much praise from the panel of judges from around the world, to name a few examples:
Paul Stokes: "Hraun was my favourite band in the list. I admired the way they managed to mix the best of their own Icelandic music traditions with a wider world view without showing the edges. The result is a song that possesses both the sunshine of west coast America but also the mysterious introspection and smoky energy of a lava pool in Iceland. Yet the song never gets too esoteric and so it proves a soulful and vital listen."
Ben Hudson: "My winner by a nose is Hraun, with a beautiful song - I'd love it if we could get a translation. Loads of atmosphere and a great performance. Almost let down by being underproduced, but for me it was the most convincing performance."
Nina de Man: "If this is the sound of Iceland, I should start planning a visit! Beautiful!"
Sean Goulding: "Hraun brings a unique approach and demonstrates talent through their esoteric style. Although this is not a commercial type artist, this track interests me enough to want to find out more. "
Nitin Sawhney: "Hraun combine beautiful vocals with a very haunting and emotional quality, reminiscent of Sigur Ros and Damien Rice."
Seva Novgorodtsev: " Icelandic rain, acoustic guitar and a voice telling us of a thousand miles of empty space, where a person can be truly lonely. Haunting."
After a performance at the I Never went south music festival in the western fjords of Iceland NME described Hraun's short set as follows: "Hraun - possibly familiar to wider audiences after being finalists in a BBC World Service international battle of the bands last year - provided one of I Never Went South's biggest highlights, with a set that started with the band mixing Icelandic atmospherics with West Coast Americana and ended with them stripping down to the waste and screaming about lemon pie."
Hraun's second LP, "Silent Treatment," is scheduled for release on June 10th.
It continues the emotional path where "I can't believe it's not happiness" left off, into acceptance, rage, bittersweet longing and drunken mayhem.
Check out our webpage: www.hraun.co.uk
Svavar Knutur - Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, piano, organ, singer.
Gudmundur Stefan Thorvaldsson - Electric Guitar, vocals.
Loftur Sigurdur Loftsson - Bass, vocals
Jon Geir Johannsson - Drums, percussion, vocals
Silent Treatment - Dimma 2008
I can't believe it's not happiness - Dimma 2007
The songs Thunderball, Clementine, Astarsaga ur fjollunum and Impossible have all gotten decent airplay. They are all streamed on our myspace page: myspace.com/hraunhraun
Christmas 2003 - Christmas songs for fans and family, covers only.
Christmas 2004 - Christmas songs for fans and family - two originals and a couple of covers.
Spring 2005 - Partyplatan party (Party, the party album. a mixture of originals and covers, home burnt)
Christmas 2005 - Christmas songs for fans and family, two originals and a couple of covers.
Christmas 2006 - Christmas songs for fans and family, three originals and a couple of covers.
Astarsaga ur fjollunum
Goodbye my lovely
So let us drink (Live)
Iceland Airwaves 2007: Volcanic Blog
[+ Show ]
Usually the first band on the bill is first for a reason but Hraun (the word translates as 'lava' in...Usually the first band on the bill is first for a reason but Hraun (the word translates as 'lava' in English) could have easily relegated headliners Bloc Party to a shifty pub down the road. Their album hasn't received much praise from the press over here but see them live and it's a whole different kettle of whale (sorry, fish) They have a flute player who wishes he was in Jethro Tull, a troll on keyboards, a hippy on bass and some others milling around making sounds that combine to make one of those really memorable festival moments - when everyone is smiling and the songs all seem like you've known them for years.
- Ben Murray
23. oct 2007
Arty and very hearty
[+ Show ]
A couple of quotes from a radio review of I can't believe it's not happiness: (http://www.ruv.is/hei...A couple of quotes from a radio review of I can't believe it's not happiness: (http://www.ruv.is/heim/vefir/poppland/plotur/plotudomur/store280/item158694/) by Andrea Jonsdottir, Local icelandic music guru and rock prophet.
"Svavar Knútur is very open and honest, but still very masculine. The band opens their hearts completely"
"Arty but hearty"
"Would have liked to see more Icelandic lyrics, but the English lyrics are exceptional, so it's all good"
"This album went straight to my heart"
"Like a course and rustic Lava rock, clad in a thick, comfortable, traditional icelandic Woolen Sweater"
"I knew it was good, but it still surprised me."
"Very melodic and sweet. Reminds me of Leonard Cohen and Crosby, Stills and Nash."
Hello my lovely...
[+ Show ]
Towards the end of May, the Icelandic group Hraun (still pronounced similar to Rain) released their ...Towards the end of May, the Icelandic group Hraun (still pronounced similar to Rain) released their first CD, I Can't Believe It's Not Happiness, as far as I know, only in Iceland. If I worked for any record company in the US, I'd be at Mr Knutur's door with a contract, a pen and a lot of begging. The CD's title seems to be a take off on the margarine commercial and the fact that lead singer Svabbi is, in his words, "full of melancholy to spray over the earth and all its merry inhabitants." What could be better? The "most radiant drummer in Iceland" perhaps.
One of I never went south's biggest highlights
[+ Show ]
Hraun - possibly familiar to wider audiences after being finalists in a BBC World Service internatio...Hraun - possibly familiar to wider audiences after being finalists in a BBC World Service international battle of the bands last year - provided one of I Never Went South's biggest highlights, with a set that started with the band mixing Icelandic atmospherics with West Coast Americana and ended with them stripping down to the waste and screaming about lemon pie.
I can't believe it's not happiness
[+ Show ]
Rarely as a reviewer will you give a new artist the time of day, let alone the benefit of the doubt ...Rarely as a reviewer will you give a new artist the time of day, let alone the benefit of the doubt - something usually reserved for close and drunken friends, or Nick Cave. Sometimes, though, something happens, momentarily freezing the cruel instinct to turn a tune off. Perhaps it was the sheer effrontery of it - daring to sing 'Oh my darling Clementine' in the first line of a song, and expecting to be taken seriously. Perhaps it was the curiousity, as outside of the Sugarcubes and Bjork my knowledge of Icelandic songwriters is limited (I never got round to Sigur Ros, o.k).
Either way, I thank my lucky stars, because these songs from Hraun, Icelandic folk troubadours and mood-swingers, are a thing of rare beauty. Clementine is fragile, humble and utterly captivating, thanks to singer Svavar Kn?s sweet Sam Beam inflected tones. The song waltzes gracefully between moods enchanting effortlessly, and has now become a firmly fixed favourite on the Three Monkeys turntable (albeit a virtual one).
Hraun means lava in Icelandic, apparently, and is thus apt to this slow-moving fiery and elemental music. While from Reykjavik, there's plenty of americana - of the best kind - on show here, to the point where you'll be absent mindedly following the haunting 'Astarsaga ur fjollunum' for minutes before realising you understand nothing!
The band have already gained critical praise from the NME (not that we care), and have won a BBC World Service 'Next Big Thing' competition, and based on the songs on display here, their next album 'two tears for my honey' should bring them deserved recognition far and wide
The band describe themselves as "not a band of spoiled brats, but human beings, marinated in the joys and pains of human existence". Based on the one live track included, So let us drink, human existence isn't the only thing they've been marinated in - a raucous upbeat tune that makes you itch to go and see one of their by-now legendary jamming sessions in the Cafe Rosenberg. A perfect band to party to, and to gently ease in the day after the night before.
There is no typical setlist, as each set is ad hoc. If there were one, a typical setlist would possibly be as follows:
A glorious Catastrophy
Astarsaga ur fjollunum
A beautiful way to die
So let us drink
We have a lot more songs. This setlist might be around 50 minutes to an hour long but sometimes the band will go on for hours, just playing whatever comes to mind and keeping the audience crazy and revved.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.