[ singer-songwriter ]
Here’s what I know about the Faroe Islands: (1) They’re a sorta-Danish archipelago between Iceland, Norway and the U.K., with a population of 50,000. (2) They’re where residents do the traditional/controversial grindadráp — beaching and killing pilot whales until the water is bright red with blood. (3) The biggest star in the Faroes is Teitur, the gentle-voiced singer-songwriter whose classic folk-rock sound — hints of Paul Simon and Belle and Sebastian, but windswept, stark and orchestral — has taken him all over the world.
City Paper: Do you agonize over your songwriting?
Teitur: Yes, I rewrite and rearrange a million times before I commit. But great songs are usually easy to write. When you have a really clear idea — those write themselves.
CP: I enjoyed your 2007 album Kata Hornid, even though that one was sung entirely in Faroese. Were there things you just couldn’t express in English?
T: Yes, it’s a very particular Faroese story about someone who moves back to the Islands after travelling the world. … When I made it, I thought only Faroe Islanders and maybe folks from Iceland would listen to it.
CP: What was it like growing up in the Faroes?
T: Good and intense. The weather is in charge, really. You get life up close and personal. You are part of nature.
CP: What are your thoughts on the grindadráp?
T: It’s very misunderstood and the campaign [against it] is basically a lot of misinformation. Grindadráp is a gold mine if you want to raise money for your rogue environmental organization and get the attention of worried Westerners who would all rather buy their food in the supermarket. There are a lot of things wrong with food consumption and food production in the world today, especially in big countries like the United States and in Europe. I actually think there is something to learn from small societies who are in contact with nature and the food that they eat. Needless to say, grindadráp looks horrible on the outside and I get it that people find it disgusting when they see it on a website. I don’t really participate, but it’s my opinion. Life is more complex than grindadráp or no grindadráp.
CP: If you weren’t a singer, what would be doing back home?
T: That’s a funny thought. I would probably have been teaching music or … Maybe I’d have a small farm with vegetables, chickens and sheep; teach English in the day and write music at night.
Tue., Jan. 15, 8 p.m., $15, with Zachary Du Pont, Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St., 215-928-0770, tinangel.com.