Iceland’s Lára Rúnars creates drama in the best way possible. Her airy yet rich voice draws you in to listen carefully to her quirky, questioning songs and she complements that voice with melodies fit for an avant garde rock opera.
Rúnars grew up with music. Her father was a member of the Icelandic band Grafik and he introduced her to some of music’s great storytellers: Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and Nick Cave.
The classically trained vocalist has clearly absorbed that storytelling tradition. It’s evident in her songs about love and learning how to live. On her third album Surprise, which she released last year, the energetic title track is a love story spanning several years. She sings,”When I was 22, I thought nothing would change me/I wanted adventures ’til the day I’d break.”
She’s 27 now, but the song shows wisdom beyond her years.
She released her first album Standing Still in 2003 and found herself collaborating with American singer songwriter Damien Rice the following year. In 2006 came Silence, on which she sang in Icelandic. Now, Surprise is drawing appreciative reviews in Iceland.
Her enchanting theatricality extends beyond her music too. It shows up in her quirky music videos and decidedly Icelandic sense of style.
Check out this video for “In Between” to see her flair for creative costuming a lá her countrywoman Björk:
Photo Courtesy of Lara Runars