Jón Þór Birgisson: Wikis


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Jón Þór Birgisson

Jón Þór Birgisson at the Roskilde Festival in 2006
Background information
Born April 23, 1975 (1975-04-23) (age 34)
Origin Iceland
Genres Post-rock
Instruments Guitar, singing, organ, piano
Years active 1994–present
Associated acts Sigur Rós
Jónsi & Alex
Website www.jonsi.com
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul

Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson (pronounced [ˈjouːn ˈθouːr ˈpɪrkɪsɔn, ˈjounsɪ] ( listen)) (born April 23, 1975) is the guitarist and vocalist for the Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. He is known for his use of a cello bow on guitar and his falsetto voice. Jónsi is blind in his right eye. He is also openly gay,[1][2] and his boyfriend Alex Somers has done much of the graphic design for Sigur Rós. They also perform together as an art collaboration called Jónsi & Alex. They released their self-titled first book in November 2006, which was an embossed hardcover limited to 1000 copies,[3] along with their first album, Riceboy Sleeps, in July 2009. Jónsi is also a vegetarian.[1]

On December 1, 2009, Jónsi's official website, jonsi.com, was launched, in anticipation of his upcoming debut solo album, "Go," being released the week of April 5th, 2010.

In late-January 2010, Birgisson had announced that Sigur Rós was on "an indefinite hiatus," as the band had scrapped plans for a new album previously announced to be released in 2010, saying that "they were just rumors." The band has decided to take the year off, as several members of Sigur Rós recently had children, and as Jonsi's solo career has been developing. [4]


Musical history

In 1995, Jónsi fronted a band called ‘Bee Spiders’, under the alias ‘Jonny B’. He wore sunglasses on stage throughout whole concerts. Bee Spiders received the ‘most interesting band’ award in 1995 in a contest for unknown bands called ‘Músíktilraunir’ (Music Experimentations). The band played long rock songs and was compared to The Smashing Pumpkins.[5] Jónsi also fronted a grunge band called Stoned around 1992–1993. He also uses the alias Frakkur to release his solo material.

Studio Albums


Riceboy Sleeps (2009)

Jónsi and his boyfriend Alex Somers have completed their first album together, entitled Riceboy Sleeps. The instrumental album was recorded in Iceland and played solely on acoustic instruments, with appearances by Amiina and the Kópavogsdætur choir.[6]

The 68 minute album has 9 tracks and was released July 20, 2009 on Parlophone Records.[7]

Go (2010)

According to a post that appeared on the official site on May 26, 2009, Jónsi is currently working on a new solo album that will feature predominantly acoustic music and string arrangements from classical composer Nico Muhly. The album will be produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Tokyo Police Club). [8]

On the December 4, 2009 a free MP3 of the track "Boy Lilikoi" was made available to mailing list subscribers through his website. The MP3 announced the title of the album to be Go and gave a worldwide release date of 'the week of April 5, 2010' through Parlophone and XL Recordings.

On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, the album leaked worldwide through BitTorrent networks.


Jónsi makes a guest appearance on Tiësto's title track "Kaleidoscope"[9] on his new album of the same title which was released on October 6, 2009.


The name Sigur Rós is altered from the name of Jónsi's little sister, Sigurrós, who was born at the same time the band was formed.

In Icelandic Sigur translates to “Victory” and Rós to “Rose”.[10]

In 2003 he was escorted off the premises while protesting against Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Project in Iceland. [11]


Jónsi at UCLA, playing to promote Heima

Jónsi's first language is Icelandic. He also speaks English. According to the official Sigur Rós web site:[12]

On the first three Sigur Rós albums (Von, Von Brigði, Ágætis Byrjun), Jónsi sang most songs in Icelandic but two of them (“Von” and “Olsen Olsen”) were sung in ‘Hopelandic’. All of the vocals on ( ) are in Hopelandic. Hopelandic (Vonlenska in Icelandic) is the ‘invented language’ in which Jónsi sings before lyrics are written to the vocals. It is not an actual language by definition (no vocabulary, grammar, etc.), but rather a form of gibberish vocals that fit to the music and act as another instrument. Jónsi likens it to what singers sometimes do when they’ve decided on the melody, but haven’t written the lyrics yet. Many languages were considered to be used on ( ), including English, but they decided on Hopelandic. Hopelandic (Vonlenska) got its name (from a journalist, not Jónsi himself) from the first song which Jónsi sang on, “Hope” (Von). [13]


Like a few other players of bowed guitar, Jónsi plays a Gibson Les Paul[14]. He also plays a white Ibanez Les Paul copy. Since summer 2006 Jónsi has been using a guitar that was made on the road by his then guitar tech Dan Johnson. The guitar is usually referred to as "The Bird," after the band's bird designs seen on previous album designs/artwork that adorn the neck and frets of the guitar. He also has been seen playing a variety of other instruments, like piano and the banjo.


  1. ^ a b "Icelandic rock". The Economist. June 14, 2001. Archived from the original on 2001-06-15. http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/media/articles/econ0.php. 
  2. ^ Price, Simon (July 17, 2005). "At last! The populist person's thinking band". The Independent on Sunday. Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20080208093712/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4159/is_20050717/ai_n14784029. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Riceboy Sleeps Announces First U.S. Exhibition". ALARM Magazine. July 05, 2007. http://www.alarmpress.com/647/art-news/riceboy-sleeps-announces-first-us-exhibition/. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
  4. ^ "Sigur Rós Official Site News". http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/news/?p=1496. Retrieved 2010-02-05. 
  5. ^ "sigur rós - trivia". sigur-ros.co.uk. http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/band/trivia.php. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  6. ^ "eighteen seconds before sunrise - sigur rós news » 2009 » April » 17". sigur-ros.co.uk. 2009-04-17. http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/news/?m=20090417. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "sigur rós - press releases". sigur-ros.co.uk. http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/media/press/riceboysleeps.php. Retrieved 2 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "jónsi recording solo album". http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/news/?p=1307. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  9. ^ http://pitchfork.com/news/36120-sigur-ross-jonsi-bloc-partys-kele-okereke-on-new-tiesto-album/
  10. ^ "Sigur Rós Official Site FAQ". http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/band/faq.php#16. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  11. ^ "Sigur Rós Official Site". http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/news/?m=200301. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  12. ^ "Sigur Rós Official Site". http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  13. ^ gorillavsbear.net: sigur ros vs. NPR
  14. ^ "Sound on Sound on Sigur Ros Official Site". http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/board/viewthread.php?tid=16846#pid323341. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 

External links


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