Elin Brimheim Heinesen
This biography is about Elin’s musical career. To read more about her professional career, click here.
Elin was born in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, in 1958. She is a Faroese singer/songwriter/composer, well-known in the Faroe Islands since the seventies. She is a soloist but has performed with several other artists from time to time – the co-work with Faroese composer/producer Kári Jacobsen being the most well known, with whom she published their debut album NALJA in 1988, and the co-work with the band Ad Libitum with whom she published the album “Yndisløg” (Treasured Songs) in 2010.
Although she in a long time didn’t release more than one album – the NALJA album – with five of ten tracks written and composed by her and the other five by Kári, these songs have none the less been very well received and popular in her home country and still get a lot of airplay. One could rightfully claim they have become classics.
First public performance
The first time the public ever heard Elin sing was when she was 6 years old. She sang a Faroese children’s song – “Nú fiskur er á grunninum” by Hans Andrias Djurhuus – in a children’s program on the Faroese public radio station. But her first real public appearance on stage as a singer was when she was 16 years old in a play at the theatre in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, where she sang a Faroese version of the song “Streets of London” by Ralph McTell translated or rewritten by herself, which became popular and has been recorded with her lyrics by various other Faroese bands a couple of times since then.
After this performance she was asked to participate in a live radio entertainment show called “V4″ in the Faroese public radio. She became well known by the Faroese public these years, because she toured the Faroe Islands with the other performers on the radio show and was heard singing on the radio every Saturday evening in the wintertime for almost three years. It’s worth to mention that there was no TV on the Faroe Islands these years – not until 1981 – so everybody listened to the radio.
The legendary Tórshavn Jazz Club
In the late seventies Elin was involved in forming the first Jazz Club in Tórshavn – a legendary club, which not only presented jazz but all kinds of rhythmic music. The jazz club became a reknown place many Faroese musicians still remember with gratitude because it offered them an opportunity to play and listen to music never heard live before in Tórshavn. Furthermore several foreign bands and musicians were invited to the Faroe Islands to play at the jazz club, which was very inspiring for Faroese musicians. Elin had several performances at the jazz club, among others with her uncle Svenn Brimheim, where she sang jazz and blues, for instance, from The Real Book.
At that time Elin played music with some of her classmates – Ívar Bærentsen, guitar, and Bergur Hansen, flute – she sang and played the piano herself. She also began composing her own music mostly in folk tradition with inspiration from jazz and blues, and performed several times in the jazz club – also with other musicians.
First jazz record ever recorded in the Faroe Islands
Elin appeared in 1977 on the first jazz LP ever made in the Faroe Islands “Jazz í Føroyum 1″ (TUTL HJF 1) on the track “Hundasjúku blues” (Hangover blues) composed by Kristian Blak, which is one of the songs that has stayed the longest ever on the Top 15 hit list in the Faroe Islands (aprx. 20 weeks). The album was recorded in the legendary Faroese music producer Milson Zachariassen’s studio in his cellar.
The same year (1977) Elin appeared on a record for children “Nu ska’ vi u å sejle” [TUTL HJF 3] 1977 with the band Kræklingar and others with music made by Kristian Blak. She sang Girafsangen (“The Giraf Song”)
Touring in Scotland, Orkney and Shetland
In the summer of 1977 Elin went on tour in Scotland, Orkneys and Shetland where she was a part of a group of Faroese folk dancers and a folk band. She also performed on stage herself with guitar player Ívar Bærentsen and bass player Kolbein Simonsen and sang some of her own songs and some of Ívar Bærentsens songs. The concerts were popular especially in Orkney and Shetland where all tickets were sold out at all the concerts.
Elin has contributed to several albums
In the eighties Elin participated as a singer (mostly as backing choir) on several music album recordings with various artists. The best known album is “Blátt” by Jákup Marner Antoniussen, where she – among other songs – sang duet with Jákup Marner in the hit song “Tú og eg”.
Another duet song also became a hit on the Faroe Islands – “Meg minnist eina mynd” by Hans Andrias Djurhuus, which Elin sang together with Jógvan Telling.
She also sang choir on the hit song “Lítli fuglur” by Anfinn T. Hansen.
Elin has also sung several popular childrens songs on the Faroese public radio.
Musical activities in Århus in the 80′ies
In the mid-eighties she was living in Århus in Denmark – for a short while she sang and played keyboards in a rock band with the brothers Kaj & Karl Anton Klein a.o. and participated on a recording (published as MC) with them.
Here is a photo from a party in Århus – first one with Kaj Klein on guitar and Jákup Thomsen on keyboard, and the second one with Karl Anton Klein on guitar, Emil ? on bass and Edvard Nyholm Debess on drums, in 1983:
Elin also conducted a small Faroese choir in Århus at the same time -and a little a capella quartet.
A musical / theatre performer
In 1976 Elin was one of the actors on stage in the musical “Lív og leikur í fimti ár”.
Here are all the actors on stage in the theatre Sjónleikarhúsið – Elin is no. 3 from the left in the front row:
In the early eighties Elin performed as a singer in the music theatre play “Seymistovan” which played for full houses more than forty times.
She appeared singing on a theatre stage again in 1993, where she played a role in “Glataðu Spælimenninir” (The Lost Musicians) based on the novel of the same title by Faroese famous author William Heinesen. This took place at the Nordic House in Tórshavn.
The two man pop band NALJA
In 1984 Elin and Faroese composer/producer Kári Jacobsen met at a party. Elin was 26 years old at the time, and Kári only 16! Even though they were ten years apart and came from very different musical backgrounds, they found out that their chemistry was perfect.
Shortly after they formed a two man pop band “Elin & Kári”, and in the summer of 1988 they published an album on music cassette called “Nalja” on the Faroe Islands. They wrote, composed and arranged all the music themselves, but Faroese legendary music producer, Óli Poulsen, helped them produce the album.
Here is a photo of Elin, Óli and Kári from the Bløndal studio in Copenhagen:
There were 10 tracks on the album. 5 by Kári Jacobsen and 5 by Elin Heinesen. Here are samples of the 10 tracks on Nalja:
“Á, tann deiliga Havn” by Kári Jacobsen:
“Sjeikurin” by Elin Heinesen:
“Loyndarmálið” by Elin Heinesen:
“Hygg at mær” by Kári Jacobsen:
“Eitt dýpi av dýrari tíð” by Elin Heinesen:
“Ansa eftir” by Kári Jacobsen:
“Livandi ljós” by Kári Jacobsen
“Eydnan” by Elin Heinesen:
“Øgiliga væl” by Elin Heinesen:
“Aftaná” by Kári Jacobsen:
All the tracks – more or less – have been hit songs, and have gotten a lot of airplay on Faroese radio stations. And still do. Every Faroese knows these songs.
After many requests it was decided to republish “Nalja” on CD in the summer of 1998 as a celebration of the 10 years anniversary of the album, published by the Faroese record company, called TUTL. On the CD were all the old tracks + a bonus track: “Heimlongsul” with music by Kári Jacobsen – and lyrics by Elin:
Elin & Kári go their separate ways – and meet again
Elin & Kári appeared on stage several times – including two times at the big concerts at the Faroese national holiday, Ólavsøka (Sct. Olavs Wake), which takes place every year before crowds of thousands of people.
Elin & Kári had planned to publish a second album in 1992 “NALJA II”, but at that time the Faroe Islands were hit by a very severe economic crisis, which made it impossible to finance the production of a new album. After that they became busy with other things in their lives and went their separate ways.
Kári has had a successful career as a music composer and producer in Denmark, and is the man behind many of the jingles, trailer songs or theme songs in popular TV programmes on Danish TV, as well as the man behind very popular pop acts – like the Faroese girl pop band Popp Korn some years ago, and the pop band Faroe 5. The albums of these two groups are some of the best selling albums ever on the Faroe Islands.
In 2012 Elin & Kári performed together again on stage for the first time in 20 years. They were asked by the arrangers of the Faroe Pride if they were willing to perform together again – and thereby support gay rights and the gay community in the Faroes. Of course, they said yes, and then NALJA was recreated! They had a great performance with a full band in front of an audience of several thousands of people.
Here is an excerpt from the concert:
A couple of days later, the two music veterans, Elin & Kári, played another concert at Ólavsøka (Sct. Olavs Wake, the national holiday in the Faroes) in front of an even bigger crowd of more than 10.000 people.
These were very touching and nostalgic moments, because everyone was singing along with the old, popular NALJA-songs at the two concerts.
Since then they have had a few concerts, including one at the music festival Við Múrin in Kirkjubø, in 2015, and in the Tórshavn venue Reinsaríið in 2016.
Elin’s most popular song
“EITT DÝPI AV DÝRARI TÍÐ” (In english: “A Chasm of Precious Time”) is the title of one of the most popular songs on the Nalja album. Elin wrote and arranged the music to the song, and her father, the Faroese author Jens Pauli Heinesen, wrote the lyrics.
In 2002 the song was rearranged by the Danish Film composer Søren Hyldgaard and was recorded with City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under conduction of Mario Klemens. Elin sang as a soloist backed up by Tórshavnar Manskór (Tórshavn Mens Choir) under conduction of Bjarni Restorff. The song was published in a TV film about Elin’s father – the author Jens Pauli Heinesen shown on Faroese public TV to celebrate his 70 years birthday. This song has been said to be a milestone in Faroese music history.
Read more about it here.
Listen to the original version of the song:
Listen to the symphonic version of the song .
Elin’s musical come-back
For almost 20 years Elin did not appear much in public as a musician – not since the early nineties. She became a mother in 1990, and for a long time she had a busy career in Denmark in culture administration, marketing and journalism – so she hadn’t the time to pursue a musical career also.
But Elin made kind of a come back in the summer of 2010, when the album “Yndisløg” was released. In 2005 she went in to the studio to record eight songs together with her uncle Svenn Brimheim, who was a well known guitar player on the Faroe Islands, and with the band he played in, Ad Libitum, which was a very popular easy listening folk band on the Faroe Islands, mostly playing classical evergreens. They planned to record a number of other songs later, and the album was intended to be released in 2006, but Svenn unfortunately died in the spring of 2006, before they could make the rest of the recordings. Later – in 2007 – Elin went into the studio with the rest of the band to record the seven remaining song.
The album got the title “Yndisløg – Ein ferð aftur í farnar tíðir” (Treasured songs – A trip down memory lane) and contains her, her uncles and mothers favorite songs, most of them evergreens from the sixties, translated to Faroese by Elin herself and others. Eight of the songs were recorded live in a studio at the Faroese public radio station in September 2005 with Svenn and Ad Libitum. The remaining seven tracks were recorded with the band – but without Svenn.
The album Yndisløg sold 1,300 copies, which is a lot in a small country like the Faroe Islands of 50,000 people. The album is sold out and not available in record stores any longer, but the artist has a few copies left for selling, so it is still possible to order the album directly from the artist by sending an E-mail to her at elinbrimheimheinesen(at)gmail.com. By doing so you also donate an amount to the Faroese Cancer Society. The price is 120 DKK for each copy + postal expences. Elin will send you the ordered copy or the copies by postal mail and give you the instructions on how to pay for it/them.
The release of the album Yndisløg kicked of a demand for live performances with Elin Brimheim Heinesen, and she has performed at many concerts and festivals since 2010, including the G! festival in Gøta, Summarfestivalurin in Klaksvík, Voxbotn in Tórshavn, Ólavsøkukonsertir in Tórshavn, Summartónar at different venues in the Faroe Islands, in churches, at the venue Reinsaríið in Tórshavn, and the venue Tøting in Gøta, at private parties, at wedding and at funerals as well as at living room concerts (mostly for tourists) in the summer. She usually sings and plays some of the classical NALJA songs, some cover songs from the Yndisløg album and her own songs, some published and some not published before. Sometimes she performs alone, sometimes accompanied by two other musicians playing acoustic guitar and bass. Here are some photos from different performances:
Elin performing at the G! festival in July 2017 (© Alessio Mesiano):
Here is a live performance at the Nordic House in Tórshavn in 2016. “Lisa’s Sang Til Kåre” is composed and written by Danish author Lisbeth Nebelong. The lyrics are printed in Lisbeth Nebelong’s novel trilogy “Færøblues” and are about the two main characters in the book, Lisa and Kåre. The song is performed here by Elin Brimheim Heinesen Trio at the annual book fair Bókadagar 2016 at the Nordic House in Tórshavn, the Faroe Islands, the 26th of November 2016. Elin Brimheim Heinesen sings and plays classical guitar, Arnold Ludvig plays acoustic bass and Leivur Thomsen plays acoustic guitar:
Elin performing at the SummarFestival in Klaksvík in 2018:
Elin’s latest album “Handan stjørnurnar”
Elin released her first solo album – “Handan stjørnurnar” (Beyond the Stars) – on July 7th, 2018, the date she celebrated her 60′th birthday (which actually was on June 25th). She held a big party at Sjónleikarhúsið, the old theatre in Tórshavn, where she performed some of the songs with the studio crew. All the songs on the album are written and composed by herself and also arranged and produced by herself together with music producer Finnur Hansen. “These are songs, which have been hiding in the drawer for far too long”, as she says.
The studio recordings began in February 2018 and the studio crew was Finnur Hansen on keyboards, Arnold Ludvig on bass, Rógvi á Rógvi on drums, Rúni Eysturlíð and Leivur Thomsen on guitars – some very skilled musicians, in addition to a string of other musicians on strings and wind instruments.
The album contains songs in many different genres: pop, folk, blues, jazz – and even a couple of country songs.
Album art-work on Elin’s solo album “Handan stjørnurnar” made
by Zoe Elliott and Tim Vaughan-Sanders from „31 Days In“ in New Zealand:
Listen to the album “Handan stjørnurnar ” on your preferred platform online here:
Do You Want to Book Elin for a Live Performance?
If you are interested in booking Elin Brimheim Heinesen for a performance or, for instance, experiencing a living room concert with Elin and fellow musicians in her own living room, please send her an E-mail at elinbrimheimheinesen(at)gmail.com.