Recently, it was announced that, British musician Dhani Harrison is soon to wed Icelandic psychologist and veteran model Sólveig Káradóttir.
Dhani is the son of The Beatles’ guitarist, the late and the great George Harrison. This will officially make Dhani tengdasonur Íslands (“Iceland’s son-in-law”), which is how we refer to famous foreigners romantically linked with one of our own.
As it happens, his bride to be also has a famous father, Dr. Kári Stefánsson, the visionary scientist who founded DeCODE Genetics and set out to map the gene pool of the entire Icelandic people in order to research and find cure for diseases.
This is wonderful news and I wish the happy couple all the best.
George Harrison is, without question, my favorite Beatle. His sweet, gentle yet powerful melodies touch my heart strings in a way that no other Beatles songs can.
Every time I hear his masterpiece “Here Comes the Sun”, I instantly warm up inside and just know that everything is going to be all right.
In addition to the lovely melody, the lyrics really speak to me. As an Icelander, what could be more reassuring than that the sun is finally returning after an endless, dark winter? That the snow is finally melting?
This Icelandic winter has been unusually difficult, with an extraordinary amount of show covering the ground.
As we recently reported, Reykjavík saw 24 days of complete snow cover in the past month, which is a 19-year record.
Only five times has there been more snow here in January since 1921, when regular measuring of snow depth began.
But finally, here comes the sun.
Looking out of my office window I can see that the day has become brighter. The snow that only a few days ago covered every sidewalk and city street, making it all but impossible for people to get around, has vanished.
The grass on the ocean’s boardwalk has appeared once again. I see people jogging. I see tourists with backpacks taking pictures of Reykjavík’s beloved Mount Esja sporting a pristine white cloak, basking in the glorious noontime sunlight.
Close to Esja lies the idyllic Viðey, an island of great significance to Reykjavík’s history.
In the past 800 years, it has hosted a convent, leper’s hospital, farm and printing factory to name a few examples, in addition to the magnificent villa of 18th century entrepreneur Skúli Magnússon, which is now among its main attractions.
Why am I mentioning Viðey? Because it is home to the other example of the Beatles’ love connection with Iceland I want to tell you about today.
It's an artwork by conceptual artist and musician Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, The Imagine Peace Tower, which was in fact made in honor of his memory.
Yoko Ono is a bona fide Íslandsvinur (“friend of Iceland”), another term we use a lot. She visits Iceland regularly, sometimes even holding concerts, for example at the 2011 Iceland Airwaves. She is often accompanied by the couple’s son Sean.
A tall tower of light projected from a white stone monument, it has the words “Imagine Peace” carved into it in 24 languages. These words, and the name of the tower, are a reference to Lennon's peace anthem, “Imagine”.
The artwork was unveiled on October 9, 2007, Lennon’s birthday. Every year since then, it is lit on that day and shines until December 8, the day he was shot and killed.
Each winter, I enjoy watching this beam of light from my kitchen window. Watching this blue beam representing peace, hope and eternal love reach above the clouds and into the heavens above I am reminded once again that there are no greater forces in the universe.
Ásta Andrésdóttir – [email protected]