an Icelandic rock band
Jakob Frímann Magnússon
/ Valgeir Guðjónsson
/ Gylfi Kristinsson
/ Ragnar Danielsen

professional debut : 1974

      sessions with Spedding
solo album Sumar Á Sýrlandi

links stuð (official website)

message from Claudia Koestler,
the webmaster of
Chris Spedding had indeed played with Studmenn.
He played the guitar on three tracks on Studmenn's first album, called Sumar Á Sýrlandi. The tracks he played on are called Tætum og Tryllum (English written Taetum og Tryllum, Icelandic saying for "fun and good times", Fljúgðu (English Fljugdu, means fly) and Sumar Á Sýrlandi (Sumar a syrlandi, means Summer in Syria).

At that very time, 1975, when the album was produced and released in Iceland, the country was only about to build a record studio, so all Icelandic musicians were forced to go abroad and record there.
This mainly happened then in London. Jakob Magnusson founded a group called Studmenn (High-Flyers, Merry men) back in his school days, and the group randomly worked together.
But at that time it was more or less just a bunch of highly talented and creative artists comming occasionally together, not a real band. Jakob had written some songs, which were totally different from what the Icelandic market had known at that time, they were highly ... strange, individual, leg-pulling, funny, and still very Icelandic, they mocked the society and they mocked the more and more commercial pop market. So he was joined by Egill Ólafsson, one of the most outstanding singers/songwriters (and now actors) in Iceland, who was head of one of the most interesting and most original bands of all time, Thursaflokkur.

The two of them invited some other great Icelandic musicians for sessions to London and got also help from people in London, like Chris Spedding, Long John Baldry, Roger Wilkinson for example.
The result was the record Sumar Á Sýrlandi and the record not only set THE musical milestone for Icelandic music, but also broke sales records and is still cult and classic there. It is not a simple, easy listening record, highly strange sometimes, and a bewildering mixture of styles, it sometimes reminds you of being slightly stoned or something.

But the band got closer together, they were later joined by the female singer Ragga Gisladottir and lately by Eythor Gunnarsson, founder of the legendary Jazz-fusion band Mezzoforte.
And ever since the band is THE band waggon for true Icelandic music (I don´t mean pseudo-northern-lights romantic, but it shows the true soul and spirit of the icelandic people), they opened up the market and the possibilies for all other icelandic bands and music (including Björk, Sugarcubes and Sigur Rós), produced films, documentaries, published countless albums, books, founded an eco-campaign, re-invent new stuff all the time and just feel and push the heartbeat of the nation, today even more than ever.

written for in Mar. 2003