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Visiting the Lonely Genius

Visiting Iceland's Lonely Genius: Páll Guðmundsson

Visiting Iceland's Lonely Genius: Páll Guðmundsson

For a man so timid he practically implores you to whisper, artist and musician Páll Guðmundsson is a wellspring of cheer-worthy revelations.

As we tour Páll Guðmundsson's studios in Húsafell, the sprawling West Iceland region where he’s lived since birth, he slyly unveils a glorious stash of curiosities, beginning with his painting gallery, which features fractal-flecked ink prints that have been pressed on ice. From his rhubarb patch, he dries the stalks to make ornate flutes, and around his central workspace — a Hobbit hole, of sorts — he carves faces into boulders that become witnesses to a lonely genius. The collective pinnacle of Guðmundsson’s craftsmanship is his signature Steinharpas, or stone harps — xylophone-type instruments he builds after years of culling the right tuneful slabs. The natural creation has led him to collaborate with Sigur Rós, and it provides our visit with a literal crescendo, a unique performance with a palpable backstory — from the earth to our ears.

Watch the lonely artist perform his stone harp:

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