[Photo Credit: Anna Maggy]

Icelandic composer GABRIEL ÓLAFS debuts the single, “Bambaló.” The track is from his upcoming album, Lullabies For Piano And Cello, set for release on June 9 via Decca Records US.

Listen to ‘Bambaló’

Watch the Official ‘Bambaló’ Live Performance Video via YouTube

‘Bambaló’ is rooted in the history and mythology of Iceland and its pure simple melody is an instant connection to the lullaby that has been shared for generations. Of the track, Gabríel shares, “The Icelandic version of the words ‘Rock-a-bye, baby’ is ‘Bambaló’ and so my piece for piano and cello is based on the lullaby. It is originally an Irish folk melody, passed on to Iceland a long time ago. The connection between Ireland and Iceland has been strong since ancient times. The rest of the lyrics translate to, ‘My little friend I lull to rest. But outside, a face looms at the window.’ I enjoy the slight eeriness of it.”

Lullabies For Piano And Cello is a collection of instrumental works inspired by Icelandic folk songs. Accompanied by cellist Steiney Sigurðardóttir, the duo tracked the album in Reykjavik’s Eldborg Concert Hall. Following the implementation of choir, orchestra, and cinematic heft on 2022’s Solon Islandus, Gabríel made a conscious decision to strip the sound down to just these two instruments. As opposed to electronics, multi-tracking provided expansive flourishes. Together, Gabríel and Steiney unlocked a striking sound reliant on their quiet chemistry and a rich connection.

The 10-track album traces its origin to a famous collection of Icelandic melodies entitled Icelandic Folk Songs, which was unearthed by Gabríel at an antique bookshop in his home city of Reykjavik. Originally published in 1906, this out-of-print tome collated various folk numbers and lullabies with rare sheet music. Gabríel decided to not only reimagine five of the book’s tunes but to also pen five of his own lullabies as an homage to tradition.

At just 24 years old, Gabríel responds to ancient Viking folk songs with the perspective of a postmodern Gen Z composer. By challenging himself to compose contemporary lullabies, he has explored his own fantasy world – a fantasy for his generation. And like all the best fantasy worlds, it is rooted in the history and mythology of his people, the Icelanders. After generating over 100 million streams for his original instrumental compositions and earning widespread international acclaim, Gabríel summons the spirit of timeless Icelandic lullabies with a twist of his own magic.

Lullabies For Piano And Cello Tracklist:

  1. Fantasía
  2. Sálmur
  3. Noktúrna
  4. Eldur
  5. Vísa
  6. Mamma
  7. Barnkind
  8. Frost
  9. Bambaló
  10. Draumheimar

Official Site