Photos by Nick Miners

Ólöf Arnalds has been teetering on the edge of mainstream success for almost a decade now, with well-regarded collaborations alongside more established Icelandic artists such as Múm, Sigur Ros, and now, Bjork.


One can’t deny the majesty of the venue in creating the perfect atmosphere. The St. Pancras Old Church invites you in on a path through gravestones and mausoleums. The churchyard remains the final resting place for many notable talents, including Sir John Soane, Johann Christian Bach, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.

It seemed fitting, therefore, that both Arnalds and opener Snorri Helgason made ample reference to the past in their performances. In one notable cover, of English folk ballad 'The Butcher’s Boy', Helgason explained how the song came to him not through the original version, but through the American Folk Anthology.


He set the stage so that Arnalds could weave her spell. She played songs both new and old, in Icelandic and in English, and the audience soaked it all up. But a stillness settled in when one song transformed into Bruce Springsteen’s 'I’m On Fire'. Arnalds’ interpretation took the eroticism of the original and turned it into something more ethereal.


But what elevated the show was her awareness of being a performer. She didn’t stand still in front of the stage, she moved easily through drama and comedy as if she was a folk-vaudeville singer. Check her out when you can.