And Núna, please welcome the afi of Icelandic rock…


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His first album came out in 1972. He mocked his country's sacred cows, got himself banned on radio and became a cult hero.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/04/2009 (4966 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

His first album came out in 1972. He mocked his country’s sacred cows, got himself banned on radio and became a cult hero.

In 1977, he released his nation’s first punk song.

Today, at age 64, he is an icon with more than 25 albums to his credit.

His name is Megas. He’s Iceland’s most legendary rock singer-songwriter, and he’s coming to the Pyramid Cabaret on April 30 to make his first-ever appearance in North America, on a bill that includes Winnipeg’s the D. Rangers and the Icelandic band Baggalútur.

"I’ve heard him described a lot as the Bob Dylan of Iceland, and the grandfather of Icelandic rock," says actor/theatre director Arne MacPherson, a member of the curatorial committee for the third annual Núna (now) Festival, which is presenting Megas.

Núna (now) is once again celebrating the cultural connections between Iceland and Canada through music, visual art, film, theatre, dance and performance art by visiting Icelandic artists, as well as Canadian artists of Icelandic heritage.

Iceland’s economy has been devastated by the global recession, but the festival has retained most of its Icelandic and Canadian funders, picked up some new ones and hasn’t had to reduce its budget, MacPherson says.

Unlike the past two years when the festival ran for a week, this year its 10 events are spread out over five consecutive weekends, from April 24 to May 23.

All events are free or have a $5 ticket price.

More events have been programmed this year in Gimli and Riverton, the heartland of Manitoba’s Icelandic community. One example is three sound installations that will be placed in locations around Gimli by Reykjavik artist Haraldur Jónsson.

Most Icelandic artists who come here are fascinated by the Interlake, MacPherson says. "Gimli is as full of mystique for them as Iceland is for us."

MacPherson is involved in organizing the festival because he is "100 per cent pure-blood Icelandic" on his mother’s side. He has been to Iceland four times. "The Icelandic arts scene is incredibly vibrant right now," he says. More artists in Iceland seem to work in varied creative fields than their counterparts here, he notes.

"Because they’re so isolated, they tend to be really fearless about crossing disciplines."

The festival includes young Icelandic folk/blues sensation Lay Low in her Canadian debut on a bill with the Keri Latimer Band (May 8 and 9), and new classical/experimental musicians Borgar Magnússon and Kippi Kaninus with Manitoba’s Leanne Zacharias (May 7).

On May 23, MacPherson directs six actors in the first English staged reading of Surf, an acclaimed play by Iceland’s Jón Atli Jónasson that explores the psychology of a group of present-day Icelandic fishers, cooped up in the bowels of a boat.

"It’s funny and quite intense," he says.

Nuna’s free opening night, April 24, is a multi-disciplinary wingding at the Platform gallery in the Artspace Building. It marks the opening of an exhibition that includes lens-based (video and photo) performance pieces by a renowned female trio called The Icelandic Love Corporation.

There’s also Iceland’s DJ Magic, performance artist Ásdis Sif Gunnarsdóttir and more.

For more information, venues and a complete schedule, go to

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