Artist Features / Reviews


Written by Sandy James
Edited by Farinoush Mostaghimi (Noush)

Lindy Vopnfjörd is a critically acclaimed Icelandic-Canadian singer-songwriter, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With his insightful lyrical subject matter and warm-hearted acoustic delivery, Vopnfjörd has made a lasting mark on Canada’s folk music scene. Currently residing in Toronto, Vopnfjörd has had singles chart on Billboard’s Hot 100, as well as CBC Radio’s Radio 2 Top 20 and R3-30 charts. He has held prominent festival slots, including a headlining appearance at Canadian music staple North by Northeast, and has collaborated with many notable figures within Canada’s music industry. Most recently, Vopnfjörd worked with award winning producer/composer Todor Kobakov (Lights, Metric, Stars, Dan Mangan) on the release of his album FROZEN IN TIME.

Frozen in Time is a 13-track collection of Lindy Vopnfjörd’s signature style of folk-acoustic storytelling. The album delves into Vopnfjörd’s lyrically descriptive tales of humble love and socio-political resilience, framed by the beauty of the world where it all takes place. The singer-songwriter’s calming blend of gentle fingerpicking and wispy vocals, sparsely backed by pedal-steel guitar and hushed percussion, act as constants throughout the album. Vopnfjörd’s free flowing instrumental arrangement crafts a soft-spoken nostalgia to Frozen in Time. It’s the type of album you’d sappily watch a sunset to with a first love, or that you’d put on during the lull of a long road trip to quiet the mood. Vopnfjörd builds the kind of soundscape that turns fleeting moments into fond memories. 

The longing number “Melting” illustrates the scenic quality to Vopnfjörd’s stories perfectly. Particularly in the album’s title inspiring verse: “To me it’s frozen in time/And melting won’t make you mine.” Vopnfjörd’s imagery is picturesque, while he has a distinct way of communicating his emotions by personifying them in nature. He depicts his feelings to be as vibrant as the world around us, yet stubborn enough to resist the seasons’ natural forces of change. Frozen in Time continues to play off of seasonal imagery throughout the track “Leaves of Autumn.” With a poetic subtlety, Vopnfjörd manages to create beauty while attempting to describe it:

Painters capture what they can
But they can’t compete
With the gentle hand of nature’s command
Of colours we can barely speak

Ironically, Vopnfjörd identifies how difficult it is to paint a picture with words while doing it so vividly himself. His words become the very colours he claims we can barely speak.

Even in Frozen in Time’s more politically driven tracks, Vopnfjörd manages to maintain his expressive sense of sentimentality. Partially inspired by the Edward Snowden whistle blowing controversy in 2013, the track “After the Surveillance State” tells the story of lovers planning to expose a deceitful government and contemplating running away in the scheme’s aftermath. By delivering a political message through the perspective of a love story, Vopnfjörd’s words feel wholehearted towards his cause both politically and romantically. This is because he portrays battling injustice as being worth risking the one he loves, yet the love he describes is nothing but genuine in the face of danger:

And I want to say your name
Before we start drinking
Before the song takes you away
When you are still a little shy

When it is hard to raise a smile
Before the flashing lights

Despite the track’s serious subject matter, Vopnfjörd maintains an overall optimistic tone as he focuses on love in his quest for liberation from society. It’s his capacity to find a stillness in pressing moments that helps make Frozen in Time a tranquil listen.

In contrast, Vopnfjörd’s latest single “Darkness is the Day” comments on the current political landscape using a more urgent tone. With a driving tempo that echoes the track’s call for action, it carries a strong sense of unease. The song was written following the 2017 U.S. election results, and captures the tension felt by many about the current state of politics in America. Vopnfjörd comments on the disbelief felt by much of the world:

It takes a little while
To get used to your circumstance
It takes a little time
Just to realize
It takes a little while

A good folk song can communicate a voice for those who may be lacking one. Vopnfjörd stays loyal to the folk tradition of using music as a rally cry to fight oppression. The song’s sentiment brings to mind powerful protest songs like “We Shall Overcome,” or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio.” You half expect to hear Dylan’s harmonica chime in between each verse, as Vopnfjörd manages to deliver concise thoughts with an expressiveness that could be a nod to the folk great. The frustration in Vopnfjörd’s words effectively mirrors a tone that has become prevalent among those weary of prejudice and veiled truth in society:

Opinion is king
One plus one is three
The loudest truth is the truest
So repeat after me
It takes a little time
To get the spin to unwind
It takes a little time

Vopnfjörd’s comment on truth paired with his soft vocal delivery is fitting to emphasize the significance of unity during times of injustice. The song’s message is direct, memorable, and highly relevant, making it something that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear at protests over the next four years. While a host of CFC composers are already competing for the rights to remake the song, Vopnfjörd’s future looks bright with the release of “Darkness is the Day.”

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