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Amina (later changing its name to Amiina) is an experimental quartet who can often be found playing live and working with fellow popular Icelandic band Sigur Rós. Merging violins and cellos with ambient electronics, the group includes Hildur Ársælsdóttir, Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, and Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir. The four met while studying at the Reykjavík College of Music in the 1990s. In late 2004, they finally self-released a proper EP, AnimaminA, picked up by U.S. label The Worker's Institute in May 2005. Their first full-length album, Kurr, arrived in March 2007.
Amiina (formerly Amína) is an Icelandic band composed of Hildur Ársælsdóttir (born January 31, 1980), Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir (born February 3, 1978), Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir (born September 29, 1980), and Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir (born August 10, 1977). They frequently performed live and in the studio along with Sigur Rós.
In 2009 Magnús Trygvason Eliassen (born November 18, 1985) and Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson (born November 10, 1978) joined the band on a permanent basis.
The music is made with a great number of instruments. It contains elements of minimalistic style, contemporary classical, ambient, and electronic loops.In their performances, each of them plays from the large range of instruments, moving from one instrument—and side of the stage—to another in mid-song.
amiina is based in Reykjavík Iceland and at present the band counts six people - Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Hildur Ársælsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen and Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson (aka Kippi Kaninus). Before adopting the name Amiina, the group was initially a string quartet dating back to the late 1990s, when the four girls were studying string instruments at the Reykjavík College of Music. The group started out playing classical music, but increasingly moved on to play all sorts of music with various bands in Reykjavík: María and Hildur as violinists, Edda as violist, and Sólrún as cellist.
In 1999 the quartet joined Icelandic band Sigur Rós on-stage. The collaboration has continued ever since, with amiina contributing strings to Sigur Rós’ music on tour and in the recording studio notably on the award-winning album ( ) as well as its follow-up, Takk...., and Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. amiina recorded strings for the latest album Valtari but no longer accompany Sigur Rós on tour.
Their first commercially available recording was the four-track EP Animamina. This was followed by their first single, "Seoul". Their first full-length album, Kurr, was released March 21, 2007, through the band's own label, Bláskjár. It was re-released by Ever Records in June 2007.
When Sigur Rós ceased touring in July 2006, Amiina followed with their first solo tours of Europe and America in October and November. Following the release of Kurr, they toured North America in March and April and Europe in May.
The song "Hilli" was released on December 10, 2007 as the second single from the album Kurr. It is a collaboration between Amiina and Lee Hazelwood whose vocals (the last recording before his death) are mixed with a reworked version of the original song.
Amiina appeared in the Icelandic movie Brúðguminn, (White Night Wedding) released early 2008.
In the autumn of 2007, drummer Magnús Trygvason Eliassen joined amiina on tour, adding percussion to the band’s textures. A few months later, collaboration between the electronic artist Kippi Kaninus and amiina was established while preparing a show together for the Reykjavík Arts Festival. The merging of Kippi Kaninus' electronics and rhythms with amiina's sounds and Magnús' percussion became the starting point for more established collaboration between the six musicians.
Prior to their 2009 release of Re Minore Magnús and Kippi Kaninus had joined the band as full time members. The recording of Amiina's second studio album Puzzle started during spring or summer of 2010, released by the band on Sept 27, 2010, getting worldwide distribution the following year. The songs on Puzzle are more rhythmically rugged than amiina's previous work and feature heavier use of electronics. amiina's long-standing fondness for zero-g melodies and open-minded instrumentation, however, continues.
In 2009 amiina started to perform their original soundtracks to pioneering German filmmaker Lotte Reiniger's 1930's silhouette animations of the timeless fairy tales Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Aladdin. The so called Animagica program, originally performed at the Branchage film festival in Jersey, has now been put on show at Latitude, Sydney Festival, Mona Foma in Tasmania, St. Leonard’s Church London, Perth International Art Festival, National museum of Singapore and Reykavik‘s Children Festival. When performing the Animagica program amiina plays usually as a trio or a quartet.
Late 2012 amiina decided to record the Lighthouse Project. A work that the band started in 2009 and will be released as an EP in June 2013, distributed by morr music. It was decided to record these songs in their original arrangements for a quartet, and to give the music the prospect to travel out and across forever. The band felt it was important to convey the intimacy of the original performances, so the songs were recorded "live" in the studio by Ben Frost, as if at a concert.
In between work with amiina band members have kept themselves busy, recording or touring with other artists such as: Sigur Rós, Yann Tiersen, Spiritualized, Efterklang, Yukihiro Takahasi, Canon Blue, Pétur Ben, Ben Frost, Tilbury, Borko, múm, Jónsi & Alex, Kippi Kaninus, adhd, Moses Hightower, and Sin Fang to name a few.
amiina is currently working on new material for their next album; they will perform at All Tomorrow’s Parties 2013 in Iceland.