Reykjavik: All Ages Show

Posted on April 11, 2006




by jared bibler 

A while ago I played in my first concert with the esteemed Lúðrasveit Reykjavíkur, the City Band of R-town. As I was sitting in my seat before the show began, looking around at the ensemble, it occurred to me just how astounding was the mix of ages playing together at the front of that church. There is one old dude playing trombone who told me he’s 76 and has been playing with the band for as long as he can remember. Then there are kids that don’t look a day over 10, and maybe even younger. In the middle there are awkward teenagers, less-awkward people in their 20s, hip cats in their 30s, and wise folk in their 40s and 50s.

That’s been one of the biggest changes for me in coming to Iceland from Boston: I am now interacting on a daily basis with almost the broadest variety of ages possible. In my young-professional cocoon in Boston, I pretty much worked with, ate with, and rode the T with my own ilk. I rarely saw a baby, a young child, or a teenager in my daily routine. Kids and their parents were ensconced somewhere "safe" and uneventful in the suburbs. People in their 70s were kept somewhere else like managed care. Kids, the elderly, and even people in their 50s and 60s were all completely alien to me, and seemed to have almost no part in my daily society.

But here in Reykjavik I am forced to have conversations with the teenagers around me in the band. I talk to the old dudes in the hot tubs. And my friends come from a broad spectrum of ages, from early 20s to mid-60s. Last night at the post-concert party, the old trombone player was drinking a big glass of beer, puffing on a cigar, and leaning over a tableful of teenagers to sing "The Lion Speaks Tonight".

photo: No, that’s not Jared. It’s Icelandic band Sigur Ros.