Unnur Birna is a Reykjavik-based violinist and singer. She has performed as a session musician with countless Icelandic and international artists while recording and appearing as a solo artist as well. Unnur has joined me as an unpaid guest on a few Icelandic shows in recent years, so it is a great pleasure to return the favour and appear on one of her songs at last. This new track, Sunshine, came about in Italy, written as an ode to sunlight and happiness after fleeing the dark winter in Iceland
I can never make up my mind if I’m happy being a flute player, or if I wish I were Eric Clapton.
Another tea-time, another day older.
It’s only the giving that makes you what you are.
But the tune ends too soon for us all
The flute was an alternative to being a small fish in an increasingly bigger pool filled with a number of great guitar players.
Seek that which within lies waiting to begin the fight of your life that is everyday.
I don’t think successful musicians were really put on this planet in order to have a great time, pat themselves on the back and say, ‘Oh, what a clever boy I am!’ I think that, like most artists, we were put on the planet to suffer just a little. And we do.
I make up my own mind in light of available facts, with my own experience and a sense of personal ethics.
A lot of pop music is about stealing pocket money from children.
I’m really terrible with small children; they’re small, noisy, irritating, damp and soggy.
I think it’s really the job of the composer, the artist, the painter, the writer to present people with options. I’m just really reflecting the thoughts and actions around me.
Why do the faithful have such a will, to believe in something? And call in the name they choose, having chosen nothing.
As a musician, life is not over just because you are getting older, and so I find retirement a very frightening and dark thought.
There’s always going to be a little bit of autobiographical content to everything. It’s how you lend some authority to what you write – you give it that weight by drawing on your direct experiences and indirect experiences from people that you know well, or a little.
The original Jethro Tull was a 19th century English agriculturist who invented a seed drill you see. The first automatic process where by small holes were made in Mother Earth and even smaller seeds were deposited one at a time and neatly covered over as a cat does after having being naughty.
Question all as to their ways and learn the secrets that they hold
It was instilled in me that the money I was given was not to be lost or spent on any other purpose.
We do hear perhaps too many accolades generally aimed at people like Steve Jobs. We have to remember that there are other classic things in life that we undervalue and take them for granted. If you think of the classic lines of the modern jet aircraft, it’s really been there since early World War II.
If Jesus Christ came back today, He and I would get into our brown corduroys and go to the nearest jean store and overturn the racks of blue denim.
Oh father high in heaven – smile down upon your sonWho’s busy with his money games – his women and his gun.
When I was a young boy, I preferred cats to dogs. From the age of seven or eight onwards I just felt more comfortable with cats. And I felt more comfortable with girls, I didn’t really like hanging out with guys. When I was about ten or eleven, I was friendlier with the girls in my school than with the guys.
I think I’ve owned all the models of iPods so far. And these days between my iPod, iPhone and my personal laptop computer, I’m someone who is very, very grateful for all the ways to listen to music and completely switch off from people around me and listen to the music in detail, which is very hard to do if you’re in a room with other people.
When I was a teenager, I really didn’t like loud rock music. I listened to jazz and blues and folk music. I’ve always preferred acoustic music. And it was only, I suppose, by the time Jethro Tull was getting underway that we did let the music begin to have a harder edge, in particular with the electric guitar being alongside the flute.
I was quite keen on silviculture, the growing of trees, and that was something I gave a lot of thought to. Maybe I could’ve gone in that direction. But it just so happened that while I was trying to make up my mind, I enrolled in art school, and there I began to develop my interest in music, parallel with my interest in the visual arts.