A Faroese singer/songwriter whose long and varied career has encompassed jazz, country-folk, experimental rock, chamber pop, and electronic avant-pop, Eivør Pálsdóttir enjoyed regional success before becoming internationally known in 2015 thanks to her evocative music being used in the BBC historical drama series The Last Kingdom. She capitalized on that success two years later with an English-language version of her hit 2015 effort Slør, and again in 2020 with her transportive ninth full-length outing, Segl.
Born on July 21, 1983, and brought up in the tiny village of Syðrugøta on Eysturoy in the remote Faroe Islands -- technically part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but geographically and culturally closer to Iceland -- Eivør began her musical career at the tender age of 13, appearing on national television and winning a singing contest. Two years later, she formed her first band, the rock outfit Clickhaze, and at 16 released her eponymous debut solo album, which saw her interpreting traditional Faroese ballads in a jazz idiom. (Only her first two solo albums were released under her full name; on all her subsequent albums, she is billed only as Eivør.) At 18 she moved to Reykjavík to study jazz and classical music, becoming the vocalist of the jazz band Yggdrasil. That year, she also released an EP with Clickhaze and undertook a successful Nordic tour with the band. Following the release of her sophomore solo album, Krákan ("Crow"), in 2003, she was awarded Best Singer and Best Performer at the Icelandic Music Awards, a rare honour for a non-Icelander.
Eivør's next albums saw her moving away from jazz into a country-folk style. Eivør (2004), her first album to include any lyrics in English, featured Canadian guitarist Bill Bourne; Mannabarn (2007) was produced by Dónal Lunny. The latter was also released in English as Human Child. Arriving in 2010, Larva had an experimental rock sound, while 2012's Room was lush chamber pop. Her two albums released in 2015, Bridges and Slør ("Veil"), had more of an electronic bent. The latter saw her return to the Faroese tradition, coupling traditional melodies with avant-pop soundscapes and incorporating chilling, guttural throat singing. In this musically varied career, which made Eivør a superstar in the Nordic countries and built her a global cult following, the only constants were accessible melodies and her beautiful, versatile voice, which drew comparisons to Kate Bush (she even covered Bush's "Hounds of Love" at one point).
She continued to perform classical music in parallel with her pop career, collaborating most prominently with British composer Gavin Bryars. In 2015, Eivør became known to a wider global audience when she was chosen by composer John Lunn to collaborate with him on, and provide vocals for, his soundtrack to the BBC historical drama series The Last Kingdom, set in the ninth century Kingdom of Wessex -- her music has also been used on Homeland and Game of Thrones and in the video games God of War and Metal Gear Survive. The exposure led to a huge interest in Eivør and her back catalogue, which she took advantage of by releasing an English-language version of Slør in 2017. Three years later, she returned with her ninth long-player, Segl, which featured an appearance from Icelandic singer Ásgeir and co-production from Lana Del Rey collaborator Dan Heath. ~ John D. Buchanan