• September to November 2014 +

    Saturday 27 SeptemberWinnipeg, MB: The Jon Sigurdsson Chapter IODE will hold its Fall Bridge and Whist Luncheon at Betelstaður, 1061 Read More
  • Literature +

    FILM / MUSICOctober 17, 19 and 22Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Premiere, Exclusive First Run. (not part of the Vancouver Film Festival). Björk: Read More
  • INL of NA Convention 2015 +

    May 14 to 17 2015 Minneapolis, MN: Icelandic Connections: The Sagas Continue, the 96th INL of NA Convention. Hotel bookings Read More
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Icelandic and creative roots form Kenley Kristofferson’s talent

Photo: Jake Oldenkamp / Kamp Photography © Wray Pascoe, Gimli, MB


The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra will present the premiere of a work by Kenley Kristofferson on October 31, 2014 as a part of their Nordic Festival Gala. Kristofferson is a music educator at the Lord Selkirk Regional Secondary School and presently on sabbatical to compose original concert music and digital music for video games. He is the third child of Ken and June Kristofferson of Gimli.
He is the grandson of Kjartan and Valdina Johnson of Arborg and now residing in Gimli. His paternal grandparents were the late Harold and Kristine Kristofferson. Of all the cousins and first cousins once removed, Kenley is the most Icelandic (75 percent); the other quarter is Swedish and Norwegian from his paternal grandfather, making him 100 percent Viking.
Icelandic language and culture have played a role in Kenley’s life. Three of his four grandparents’ first language was Icelandic. Kenley’s father, Ken, a retired teacher and assistant principal in the Evergreen School System, studied Icelandic language, history and literature with Professors Haraldur Bessason and Valdi Larusson. As a result he speaks and writes Icelandic fluently. Kenley’s mother and her twin sister, Joan, spoke Icelandic before they learned English. In addition to their mother, the Kristofferson children were cared for by Hedy Bjornson who was the fjallkona this year at Íslendingadagurinn.
And Kenley isn’t the first Kristofferson involved with the arts. His father, Ken, and other students who studied Icelandic at the University of Manitoba formed the New Iceland Drama Society. Forty years ago, Ken translated the Icelandic play, The Golden Gate, from Icelandic to English. This was performed in the Air Base Theatre in Gimli during the Celebration. Kristine Perlmutter nee Jacobson was the star. Cameron Arnason had the leading role as Jon. The remainder of the cast were family members, some of the Arnason family as well as myself who had a minor role as a Saint. As well as translating, Ken produced and directed the play and helped build the sets for a production that was exceptionally well received. Then, several years ago, Ken served as a translator and guide to an Icelandic National theatre group and choir from Iceland as they toured and performed throughout Western Canada.

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Another Icelandic band makes inroads in North America

Photo courtesy of MuseBox Karla McDonald, The MuseBox, Los Angeles, CA


The MuseBox Records today announced the signing of Iceland’s Vök. While the young trio and their dreamy electronica pop have held the attention of their native Icelandic press since 2013, international fans are now starting to take notice. This fall Vök will release Tension, their debut EP on The MuseBox Records, and will make their American debut in October, around the time of the annual CMJ festival in New York City.
According to music blog Nothing but Hope and Passion, “The future looks bright for this young and upcoming band.” Vök truly is both a young and new band, formed early in 2013. The electronic trio comes from the cozy fishing village of Hafnarfjörður, Iceland. The founding members of Vök, singer Margrét Rán and saxophonist Andri Enoksson, had been working together unofficially for some time prior to the formation of the band.

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The Lake and I

Photo: Wray Pascoe Aðalheiður (Allie) Benson Pascoe, Gimli, MB


It was the dead of winter and you could hear the crunch of the footsteps on the snow as the visitor climbed the three steps to our back door. Knocking gently and walking in was Siggi Thordarson, our neighbour, who usually approached me with a big smile, ready to tease. He would refer to my days in diapers, asking “Ertú blaut?” Are you wet? I would stamp my feet and reply, “Nei, þurr.” No. I’m dry.
There was no jolly face this evening as he said to my mother, “It has been reported that there is a big crack in the ice and it was not known what the fishermen would do to get home.” I looked up at my mother, who had not moved. I started to cry. How would my father get home?
Mama said, with a very red face, “The dogs will know that there is a crack in the ice and they will go way around the crack. Pappa may be late, but the dogs know the way home.”
I made a vow that I would never, ever marry a fisherman, wound never become acquainted with one and, therefore, never marry one. I never accepted a date with a fisherman.

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  1. Icelandic photo exhibition coming to Washington, DC
  2. Determined Icelander attends Festivals

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