World Cafe‘s week-long series Sense of Place: Iceland draws to a close with an unexpected treat. We’d been in Reykjavik for a few days when we learned that June 17 would mark a daylong celebration of Icelandic National Day, the anniversary of Iceland’s independence from Denmark in 1944. Events planned for the holiday ranged from outdoor chess matches to accordion concerts, culminating in a free outdoor show for an audience expected to hit 10,000.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate; torrential downpours derailed the day’s activities, but the evening show went on for the few hundred concertgoers who braved the rain in ponchos and hoodies. This dedicated audience, which included 25 World Cafe Travel Adventurers, saw one of Iceland’s most beloved bands in headliner Mammút.
Mammút formed in 2004 while its members were teenagers; the band’s career took off after it won Músiktilraunir, the annual Icelandic battle of the bands. Ten years later, its third album — 2013’s Komdu Til Mín Svarta Systir — won Best Album and Best Song at the Icelandic Music Awards.
Fortunately, Rás 2 Radio recorded the event and allowed us to pass along this performance by Mammút, live in the rain from Icelandic National Day 2014.