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  • Writer's pictureKyriakos Tsinivits

Five iconic entries to mark Icelandic National Day

Today June 17 is ‘Icelandic National Day’ and has been since 1944 to commemorate the foundation of the Republic of Iceland.

Iceland debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest 1986 in Bergen, Norway and came 16th with the song ‘Gleðibankinn’ translating to ‘The Bank of Fun’ by the vocal trio ICY. Yes that’s right ICY from Iceland.

Over the last 33 years Iceland have finished in the top 10 six times and been runner up twice. The last time in 2009 with the majestic ballad ‘Is It True?’ by Yohanna, losing out to Norway’s entry ‘Fairytale’ by Alexander Rybak.

They have given us countless iconic performances and we always have huge expectations’ from this Eurovision loving nation. Let’s look at what we have chosen as their five most iconic entries:

5. Stefán & Eyfi – Nína (1991 – 15th place)

Oh! This 80’s sounding ballad with catchy piano hook, where both singers belt out their love for Nina, was performed in Rome. Unfortunately it wasn’t a jury favourite resulting in 15th position but that didn’t dampen the popularity of this song, which grew in its native homeland. It has reached iconic legendary status where it still remains one of the most popular songs in Iceland, sung at parties and bars.

4. Stjórnin – Eitt lag enn (1990 – 4th place)

In Eurovision, Iceland is known for its various iconic duets with energetic charisma, and this entry is no exception. Stjórnin consists of Grétar Örvarsson and Sigriður Benteinsdóttir, the latter better known as Sigga, in an upbeat duet about singing one more song together. Collectively with their bouncy dance moves, and Sigga’s striking red dress with all the frills accomplished Iceland’s best ever result at the time at 4th place. This high position stayed as the strongest result for the nation until 1999.

Sigga became known as the Eurovision Queen of Iceland returning to the competition the following year as a backing singer to the song ‘Nína’. She returned yet again in 1992 as part of the group Heart 2 Heart and as a solo performer in 1994 with her catchy song ‘Nætur’. She was unable to improve on her 1990 4th place position.

3. Selma – All Out of Luck (1999 – 2nd place)

Luck was on Iceland’s side at the Eurovision Song Contest 1999 held in Israel where Selma performed the fan favourite ‘All Out of Luck’. The song is very energetic, and is the epitome of 90’s Europop, oh, and watch those back up dancers in the trench coats move. She received runner up position losing out by 17 points to Sweden’s entry ‘Take Me to Your Heaven’ by Charlotte Nilsson.

The 1999 contest saw many changes to the competition like the abolishment of the national language rule. ‘All Out of Luck’ marked the first song entry performed in English for Iceland.

Selma returned to the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 in Kyiv to take the crown with the song ‘If I Had Your Love’ but this time she was out of luck failing to qualify for the Grand Final.

2. Silvía Night – Congratulations (2006 – 13th in semi final)

In 2006 Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir’s alter ego Silvía Night arrived in Athens to save Europe from the end of the world, but unfortunately nothing could save her as she failed to reach the Grand Final. Her performance of ‘Congratulations’ is as iconic as it is controversial. Her staging was fun and outrageous. She slides off a big stiletto, showers under tinsel, answers a phone call from God, oh, and watch out for the ‘unicorn’ backup singers. But her off stage antics, tantrums and criticism of the event weren’t so well received by the local media nor the public. The performance begins and ends with booing from the crowd, but that doesn’t stop Silvía Night to shout out “I love you Europe! Thank you for loving me!” Oh Silvía Night we will never forget you.

1. Hatari – Hatrið mun sigra (2019 – 10th place)

Iceland’s most recent entry is divisive, basically you either love it or you don’t. Either way Hatari have to take out the crown, or shall we say mallet, for Eurovision’s most outlandishly iconic performance. The group described as an anti-capitalist, BDSM, dystopian, art collective went all out with latex clad bodies, gimp masks and leashes while wearing platform shoes. And if that wasn’t enough, they managed to have controversial protest during the live event in Israel. The song, which translates to ‘Hate will prevail’, though seems bleak has a nice contrast between angelic melodic pop to hard punk grunge vocals. They did well coming in at 10th position breaking Iceland’s previous four consecutive fails at reaching a Grand Final.

During the event Hatari presented Australia’s very own Kate Miller-Heike with the first ever ‘Hatari Honorary Mallet’ in a ceremony to crush her opponents in a non violent manner.

So that’s our selection for the most iconic Icelandic songs. It was immensely difficult to pick just five as Iceland has released some great bangers over the years like ‘This Is My life’ and ‘Je ne sais quoi’ which are also worth a watch. Even though Iceland remains the only Nordic country to not take out the Eurovision crown a win is imminent."


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