Sunna Gunnlaugs

Freyjujazz: Focus on Women in Jazz

April 21, 2017 3:19 pm | Filed under: Music | Comments (0)

Alright, it's been a while. I have a good excuse though. I am very proud to have started a concert series in Iceland that focuses on women. It is called Freyjujazz in honor of the goddess Freyja who is associated with love, sex, beauty and fertility. How does that sound? The first "season" took place every Tuesday in March and April and the National Gallery of Iceland. It featured mostly Icelandic artists but we were also fortunate to have the great Myra Melford visit us from the US and Eva Kruse from Germany.

Please like Freyjujazz on facebook and check out some of the videos that we have posted.

Performer of the year, another album and a movie

March 18, 2016 6:12 pm | Filed under: Music,Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Time sure flies when you're having fun. My trio released Cielito Lindo last August and we just returned from some concerts in Europe. While we were there we were thrilled to receive the news that we got awarded "Best Performer" at the Icelandic Music Awards.

In January I released my first duo album with dutch bass clarinetist Maarten Ornstein. We met on Twitter (no kidding) and we just hit it off. He came to Iceland for some gigs and I went to Holland for some gigs and now we have this album together called Unspoken. We had our CD Release performance at the wonderful Bimhuis in Amsterdam and soon we will post some videos from there.

I am also proud to announce that my first movie score is out. The movie "Reykjavik" just hit the theaters last Friday and the music that I scored for a jazz quartet is available for "pay-what-you-want" for limited time here. We even do a take on Beethoven.

I post much more frequently on our page on Facebook so go there to see some photos from the road

New Album Up For Pre-Order

July 29, 2015 9:25 pm | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Hi everyone. My new album "Cielito Lindo" is available for pre-order. It will be released at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival on August 14th, but if you reserve your copy now you can download three tracks today.

And when the album is released your copy will be shipped and/or you will get an email prompting you to download the rest of the tracks (plus two bonus "spins").

Although we recorded this in early June, the album was actually a long time in the works. We have been accumulating material for a while and in fact one of Scott's tunes "All Agaze" dates back to 1997 which he wrote on my old baby grand while visiting Iceland. We also had difficulty finding a place to record as the room where we recorded "Distilled" was being worked on. We went back to Salurinn in Kópavogur which is a beautiful concert hall with an incredible Bosendorfer. That's where we recorded "Long Pair Bond."

All three of us (Toggi, Scott and myself) contributed compositions and we also recorded works by George Gershwin, Tom Waits and the title track is a Mexican folk song which I fell in love with the first time I heard Marta Gomez sing it. We also carry on our tradition of "spins" (brief free improvisations) which serve as interludes between the songs.

I'm looking forward to releasing it to the world and performing the material at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival on August 14th. So if you can't make it to Iceland this time, let me send a little bit of Iceland your way.


April 11, 2015 10:52 pm | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

I'm preparing (logistically and mentally) for my trip to Bremen for the Jazz Ahead conference after which I'm really excited that my trio is headed to Berlin to play at B-Flat and then to the Women in Jazz Festival in Halle, Germany… and as if that weren't enough, as soon as we get back to Iceland we're headed straight into the studio to record our next album with engineer Kjartan Kjartansson.

Here's a little "teaser" video with some live audio from our recent concert at Harpa. I discovered the Time-Lapse mode on my iPhone and couldn't resist.

Women in Jazz Festival

February 21, 2015 7:41 pm | Filed under: Music | Comments (0)

We are looking forward to returning to Germany at the end of April. We will be at B Flat in Berlin on April 30 and at the Women in Jazz Festival in Halle on May 1st. See you there and in the meantime please enjoy this live performance video from Porgy and Bess in Vienna!


October 7, 2014 11:30 pm | Filed under: Music | Comments (0)

Sunna Gunnlaugs and Maarten Ornstein: 3 duos in Iceland

In a way, music is all about relationships. It's about connecting with people in the moment, on stage and off. I've been very lucky to connect with some wonderful people over the years and the past couple of weeks have been no exception.

From September 23rd-27th I took part in a Women Composers Workshop in Patreksfjörður, where I met and played with some of the finest new voices in Icelandic music: Una Stef, Soffía Björg, Rósa Guðrún, Íris Hrund og Þóra Gísla. We had a great time and Soffía and I even wrote a couple of tunes together.

The day after I returned home I flew to Berlin where I had the great fortune of performing duo with the pianist Julia Hülsmann at Felleshus as part of the Play Nordic festival. You can hear an interview with us here. Although we had met before, this was our first time playing together… and it was great. It was instantly comfortable and easy, like chatting with an old friend. I hope that we have the opportunity to perform together again real soon.

And now, my friend Maarten Ornstein returns to Iceland for three duo concerts and a recording. He first performed with me on the 2013 Reykjavik Jazz Festival and then in Amsterdam last May. So it's his turn to get on a plane. (See my itinerary for details.)

Reykjavik Jazz Festival

August 18, 2014 2:45 pm | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

A last minute shout out to ya all. We just returned from Berjadagar in the northern part of Iceland and tonight we are playing at Harpa Concert Hall, as part of the Reykjavik Jazz Festival!

Photographer Daniel Sheehan posted some great pics from our concert at the Seattle Art Museum on his blog. Check out Eye Shot Jazz

Duo in Amsterdam, Trio in US/Canada

July 27, 2014 7:11 pm | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

The trio has just returned from a fabulous tour of the US and one splendid concert in Canada. I've just posted pictures from the tour to our page on Facebook which can be viewed here. Toggi had special ordered a travel bass for this tour  which turned out to be great. It has a removable neck which should make our future travels a bit easier.

As some of you may already know I had a great time in Amsterdam last May with bass clarinetist Maarten Ornstein. We got 4 stars in the newspaper Parool. Yay! He has now posted some videos from our performance at Splendor on YouTube. Please view them often and share with the world :)

This is my composition Tear (as in wear):

In August my trio will perform at Berjadagar Art Fest in Olafsfjordur and the Reykjavik Jazzfestival.

Some Tour Dates, Some Reviews.

February 26, 2014 9:08 am | Filed under: Music | Comments (0)

As is my long-standing tradition, I'm writing an overdue post here to let everyone know I'm still ok. ;-) Actually, I have quite a bit of news; some tour-dates, some reviews and a rare solo performance!

First of all, the end of 2013 was especially exciting in that my latest album Distilled was on Jakob Baekgaard's All About Jazz list of the Top albums of the year, and the blog JazzWrap chose it as Album of the Year! Very flattering.

Then this month I was thrilled see a very thoughtful, glowing review on the French website Citizen Jazz. It was also given the special "elected" status there. Ooh la la!

I'm also thrilled to announce a European tour with my trio next month beginning in Copenhagen on March 13th and ending in Vienna on March 22nd. The complete schedule is here. Unfortunately this also means we'll be on the road when the Icelandic Music Awards happens. We'll make sure to have someone ready to accept on our behalf if we are that lucky. At least we have 4 chances.

Lastly, I will be performing solo at Harpa on March 2nd as part of the KÍTÓN (Women in Music) festival. Although I've played at Harpa before with my trio, this will be my first time in the 1800 seat Eldborg – gulp. I'll also be performing with some of the other women on the festival like Ellen Kristjáns and Hafdís Huld. Get tickets here.

Distilled Documented

October 24, 2013 9:16 am | Filed under: Music | Comments (0)
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In Iceland it is a rare thing for a jazz group to get the opportunity to play the same program 5 times in two weeks, especially when it's original music. This is mainly due to the fact that there is a pretty small audience for jazz, and there are very few people here in general (only 2.7 per square kilometer, to be exact) and they're concentrated mostly at the south and north of the island, which means you kind of have to get on an airplane to do it.

But we did it! And here is the first of a series of videos from the trip I'll be posting. It's the title track from our album Distilled. This is from the 2nd concert at Hannesarholt in Reykjavik.

A big thanks goes out to Reykjavik Distillery who contributed a tasting of their Crowberry schnapps to each of the concerts.

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