Not your typical reggae band by far, Hjalmar is from Iceland and mixes old-school reggae with folk music and by so doing has managed to become one of the most popular and active bands in Iceland.
The band has, since its creation in 2004, become something of a cultural phenomenon in its home country. It started out as a reggae experiment but managed, despite the disbelief of established record labels, to touch the island’s souls with its capturing mixture of sunny reggae and Icelandic musical roots. The band’s authentic sound, sincerity and respect for the music and audience as well have made Hjalmar one of Iceland’s most cherished bands with an appeal to a wide group of audience. The band’s live performances are extremely tight, energetic, and colorful and at the same time relaxed.
Hjalmar’s fifth studio album, ‘Orar’, was released in Nov 2011. It shows the band digging deep into the roots of dub, experimenting with synthesizers and electronic sound. Definitely more upbeat and aggressive then previous albums, Hjalmar claim that ‘Orar’ is supposed to be a bit hard to digest. The album has been nominated as the Album Of The Year at the Icelandic Music Awards to take place in February 2012 and Thorsteinn Einarsson is nominated as the Text Writer of the year for the texts on the album.
Hjalmar – a Reggae experiment gone GREAT! If you see one band this year, see Hjálmar live. - Lawrence Thorne, The New York Grapevine (2010)
Iceland’s most popular reggae act, Hjalmar whose splicing of the universal soul of reggae with the seemingly familiar but obviously alien Icelandic tongue meant a captivating new experience for us. (…) - Nick Annan, Clash Music (2010)