Indonesian fans of dramatic rock will be rejoicing on May 10 when Icelandic band Sigur Ros tours here for the very first time. The trio will perform at Istora Senayan, where they will likely evoke plenty of emotional melancholy with their famously complex visuals and production.
Though lead singer and guitarist Jon Thor Birgisson, or simply Jonsi, is known for mostly singing in “Hopelandic” — a made-up language influenced by the band’s Icelandic heritage — that doesn’t mean dedicated fans will have any trouble singing every word back onto the stage.
The band’s influence among local musicians is apparent in the country’s many self-appointed “post rock” bands: a journalistic term coined in the early ’90s for forward-thinking music that has since been relegated to describing mostly instrumental bands with a penchant for echoing guitars and whisper-loud dynamics.
Local Icelandic acts such as Sugarstar, My Violaine Morning and plenty more owe their sense of musical theatrics to Sigur Ros.
“Sigur Ros fans from all over the world all agree that the music can truly change your life,” said Mia Midianti Nurmalia, a 22-year old member of the Sigur Ros Indonesia fan club.
“Some of their songs can make listeners shed tears. They are a life-changing band.”
Jonsi, bass player Georg Holm and former drummer Agust Aevar Gunnarsson formed Sigur Ros in 1994 in their home city Reykjavik.
Sigur Ros released its first record “Von” in 1997. The record only sold 313 copies in its first year, and didn’t make any waves outside of the band’s homeland. Still, the record’s mix of wistful falsettos, sparse instrumentation and chilling atmospherics showed a band well on its way to fully forming its own sound.
It was the band’s second full-length album, 1999’s “Agaetis Byrjun” ( “A Good Beginning”), that propelled it into the international music scene. The record furthered the atmospherics presented in “Von” and perfected it into something remarkably chilling. Poetic hyperboles were thrown about by critics, with UK’s Melody Maker magazine writing that the record sounded like “God weeping tears of gold in heaven, like a glacier sweeping through the harsh Icelandic landscape.”
“Even if they don’t sing songs in a language that is understandable [to us], we can still capture the meaning behind their songs,” says Yusqi Muhamad, the 27-year-old co-founder of Sigur Ros Indonesia.
“Sigur Ros truly shows how universal music can be. They are really a life-changing experience.”
Tickets to Sigur Ros’ May 10 concert at Istora Senayan can be purchased through fluxandplay.com or kiostix.com.