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“Coming Home” – Sjonni’s Friends to represent Iceland

On 12th February, seven acts competed in Iceland’s national final for Eurovision 2011. The Icelandic televoters made a clear decision and selected the band Sjonni’s Friends with their song “Aftur Heim” (“Back home”), written by Sjonni Brink and Thorunn Clausen, to represent the country in Düsseldorf.

For the big event in May an English version was written, entitled Coming Home, and it will be performed in the 1st semi-final on 10th May, at starting position #14. It’s Iceland’s 24th entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Read more and check out the video clip…

On 12th February, seven acts competed in Iceland’s national final for Eurovision 2011. The Icelandic televoters made a clear decision and selected the band Sjonni’s Friends with their song “Aftur Heim” (“Back home”), written by Sjonni Brink and Thorunn Clausen, to represent the country in Düsseldorf.

For the big event in May an English version was written, entitled Coming Home, and it will be performed in the 1st semi-final on 10th May, at starting position #14. It’s Iceland’s 24th entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Check out the video clip:

About Sjonni’s Friends

When Sigurjon ‘Sjonni’ Brink sadly and unexpectedly passed away on January 17th this year, his wife and friends had to get together urgently to decide on their next move. They came to the joint conclusion that Sjonni would have wanted his song to remain in the competition, so they agreed they would carry on and perform ‘Coming Home’ in his memory. Six of Sjonni’s closest musical friends collaborated and made this happen without giving any real thought to the idea that they might actually also win the ticket to Düsseldorf. Guitarist Vignir Snaer Vigfusson produced the song along with Sjonni; drummer Benedikt Brynleifsson and piano player Palmi Sigurhjartarson also played their part in the end result as they were Sjonni‘s co- members in the recently formed band Rokk. The other three friends who took on this project also have a long history together: Guitarist Gunnar Olason had played gigs on and off with Sjonni for many years; bassplayer Hreimur Örn Heimisson was a long-term friend, and singer Matthias Matthiasson has worked with Sjonni both on and off stage.

Gunnar, Vignir and Benedikt have all participated in Eurovision before; Gunnar as part of TwoTricky in Copenhagen 2001; Vignir played guitar with Birgitta in Latvia in 2003 and co-wrote Selma‘s entry in 2005; Benedikt was in Eirikur Hauksson‘s band in Helsinki 2007. Furthermore, Vignir, Benedikt, Gunnar and Hreimur performed with Sjonni when he presented his song ‘Waterslide’ in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, the Icelandic Eurovision preselection contest,  in 2010. All of them have considerable experience in singing and making music – this is their own special way of honouring their friend’s memory.

This is a group of six individuals who have one thing in common. Palmi is the old and wise one, Hreimur is the innocent and sincere one, Matthias provides the comic relief, Benedikt is the good-looking, cheerful one, Vignir is the silent, mysterious type and Gunnar is the bad boy. Together they are Sjonni‘s Friends.

 

About Sigurjón Brink  (Sjonni Brink)

Sigurjón Brink was born on August 29th 1974 and started playing music at an early age. His father was a guitarist and singer in a band and Sjonni was never in any doubt that music was the way forward for him. He was known to all his friends and fans as Sjonni Brink and founded the grunge rock group In Bloom in 1994, releasing a single and eponymous album in 1996. At first he played drums and actively participated in writing and arranging the music, but when the band dissolved he switched to guitar,  working in a popular Lennon & McCartney tribute duo. Soon afterwards he launched his own solo career.

Sjonni also found time for regular theatrical work and was one of the founding members of independent and internationally renowned Icelandic theatre group Vesturport. In St Petersburg recently, Vesturport was awarded the European Theatre Prize one of the world’s most prestigous in the genre.

Sjonni met his future wife Thorunn Clausen when both of them participated in the music and drama show ‘Le Sing‘ in the autumn of 2002. The show was a huge success and is still running. After that, Sjonni had roles in the Icelandic productions of musicals ‘Cuckoos Cabaret’,‘Footloose’ and ‘The Buddy Holly Story’. Sjonni wrote music for the 2004 stage award-winning play ‘Brim’ and acted in the 2009 award-winning German stage play ‘Woyzeck’, by Georg Büchner. The play was staged around the world, including Denmark and the United States. Both ‘Brim’ and ‘Woyzeck’ are Vesturport productions.

Sjonni still found time to found the band The Flavors which released one album ‘Go Your Own Way’ in 2004. His solo album ‘Sjonni Brink‘ was released in 2009 and includes original Icelandic songs such as ‘Your Smile Leads My Way’. His most recent single ‘Love Is You‘ was written by his bandmate Palmi Sigurhjartarson in tribute to the late John Lennon, and he also recorded a duet with Bo Halldorsson, one of Iceland’s most well-loved singers.

Sjonni had previously participated in Söngvakeppni Sjónvarpsins, the Icelandic pre-selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest, in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, co-writing his 2006 entry ‘Áfram’ and with his own composition and lyrics ‘Waterslide’ in 2010. ‘Coming home’ is a song that came to Sjonni one day as he sat playing his guitar in his home and was originally entitled ‘Countryside’. The day before the submission deadline for the competition, it had not yet been recorded and as the rules this year insisted all lyrics in the pre-selection contest be in Icelandic, he believed he had no time left to record it. His wife Thorunn convinced him that where there’s a will there’s a way and he decided to record the song after all. He asked his wife to write the Icelandic lyrics and complete the English version with him; together they managed to submit the demo recording at the eleventh hour.

Sjonni was scheduled to perform the compostion in the third semi-final show on January 29th 2011, but unexpectedly suffered from a brain haemorrhage caused by an aneurysm on January 17th. Tragically he died instantly at the age of only 36.

For more info on Sjonni’s Friends please visit http://vefir.ruv.is/songvakeppnin/baksvids/einlaegnin-skiladi-sigrinum/ and http://eurovision.tv

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3 comments

  1. I really LOVE the melody and message of this song and Sjonni’s Friends performance . I also wanted to point out that Sjonni’s Friends have a Facebook page where you can access all kinds of promotional material. The FB page can be found here:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Sjonnis-Friends-Coming-Home-Aftur-heim-Icelandic-ESC-entry-2011/207161585961546

  2. Hallo to Iceland, one day after the great show in Düsseldorf. I`m german and my vote goes to: Iceland.
    I love your song so much and say for many german eurovision fans:
    Iceland is our winner of der ESC 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your Ulla from Germany

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