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Icelandic evening with Helgi Björns

Iceland's musical superstar and great horse lover, Helgi Björnsson, who also composes the WM2019 song, will perform live in the evening programme of the World Championships. If you remember 2013, you know that Helgi not only creates a galactically good mood, but also has an almost endless repertoire of encores in his luggage!

The WM2019 team talked to Helgi about his career and his love for Icelandic horses and asked him about the musical specialties we can look forward to at the World Championships.

Please tell us something about you and your music. 
I’m an actor and a musician, I graduated from theatre school in 1983 and have been acting in the theatre, films and TV ever since, and been working as a musician as well with several bands and also made some solo recordings. I’ve recorded around 25 albums in my career, and a lot of them were bestsellers. In 2008, I recorded the first album under the name of Helgi Björns og Reiðmenn vindanna (Riders of the storm), the concept was to create Icelandic riders’ songs (songs that are sung during riding trips in the highlands of Iceland). That turned out to be a huge success, it ended with being 4 albums, all very well received.

How are you connected to the Icelandic horse?

My father and grandfather had horses when I was a child, then I reconnected to horses when I was working on the TV series Nonni and Manni, where I played a small role, hunting down the boy´s father on horseback. I have had my own horses now for over twenty years, started breeding 5 years ago, and now I have interesting young foals, from some of the best stallions in Iceland. But the best experience is always when we go for long riding tours to the highlands with good friends and around eighty horses riding for a week or more.

What is your relation to the World Championships in Berlin? Do you have some special memories of your stay and your concert during the World Championships 2013?

I was one of the owners of Admiralspalast in Berlin between 2005-2012 and took part in rebuilding the theatre, therefore I have warm feelings towards Berlin and have a lot of friends there, so it’s wonderful to take part in the WM in Berlin. I have good memories of the World Championship 2013: weather, atmosphere and organization were fantastic, and among the Icelanders, who very many stayed at the same hotel, was an exceptional good feeling, which is difficult to describe if you weren´t there. The concert we did was sweaty and a total blast in every aspect and everybody had the best time.

You are creating the official WM2019 Song. How is the title of the song? Can you tell us something about the content of the song?  

The name of the song is "Lover of the Wild”. There is a famous Icelandic poet (Einar Benediktsson) who wrote “The rider on his horse, is a king for a day, without a crown he still owns kingdom and continents”.  In my song there is the passionate rider on his horse who wants nothing more than to be with his loved one in the wilderness and is ready to sacrifice everything for that. Be a king for a day, even though death could be waiting… 

Your concert, Helgi, with your band on Friday, is during the Icelandic evening in our program. For the concert on Saturday some specials with several musicians are scheduled. Please tell us what we can look forward to on the two evenings.

On Friday we have what we call a typical Icelandic ball, (concert/ballroom dancing) where everybody is dancing, jumping up and down, and singing every other song together. On Saturday we have a more acoustic concert vibe, playing Icelandic and international songs with two fabulous guests from Iceland, Magni Ásgeirsson and Salka Sól.

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