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Iceland: Systur shine a light over Europe with their song of hope

04 May 2022 at 18:00 CEST
Iceland's Systur - WIDE EBU / Corinne Cumming
Arriving to Turin from Iceland, we have three sisters representing the Nordic nation. They come to the Eurovision Song Contest with a message of hope and acceptance , providing some wholesome family entertainment for Europe and beyond.

Their song, Með Hækkandi Sól, is performed in their native Icelandic. But their staging, which transforms the stage of the PalaOlimpico into a giant sunrise, assists in the translation of their song’s message, for those who don’t speak the language from the far north of Europe.

The message is that there is hope. In Iceland we have darkness and long winters; then, with the rising sun, there’s hope of better days and a brighter future. You can translate it into whatever bad situation you face – you have to remember that there is hope and there is light. It’s very poetic.

📺 Watch: Systur – Með Hækkandi Sól (Acoustic) – Eurovision House Party

Systur – Sigga, Beta and Elín – are rightly very proud to be performing in their own language on such an international stage. They see it as a valuable opportunity to expose a wider audience to words that they would potentially otherwise never get to hear performed in a song. And this pride extends to the girls being able to represent their country on a platform such as the Eurovision Song Contest.

It means a lot to us to sing in Icelandic. There are so few people who speak it, so it’s so nice for us to get to share it with the world – the Icelandic language. And then representing Iceland at Eurovision – we’re very thankful to be here; it’s such an adventure. We don’t play sports, but we get to play music and compete in that, so it’s probably the only time we’ll ever get to compete for our country! And we’re very grateful for that. It means a lot.

Systur from Iceland getting ready for first rehearsal at PalaOlimpico EBU / Andres Putting

The organic family spirit that Systur are bringing to the Contest, isn’t confined merely to the fact that they are related. Outside of their music, the sisters spend a lot of time supporting youth – particularly trans children – who perhaps haven’t been able to rely on their own families in moments of need. Sigga, Beta and Elín have been vocal supporters of the trans community in their native Iceland, and continue to promote their message here in Italy.

We are trying to be supportive and tell people, mostly parents, all over the world, that you should love your child unconditionally. No matter how they are, they should be loved; they should be protected. That’s what’s gonna make this world so much better. If children have the space they need, they are gonna make our world more loving and more accepting. It’s our part to play that they get the path that they need cleared. We see you and we love you and there’s hope out there. If you want, you can always contact us. We’re here for you and we hear you.

It’s an important message to promote, and the singers are enthused to be able to incorporate messages of hope and acceptance into their music too – standing on a stage like the one at the PalaOlimpico, and performing positive lyrics to the socially maligned; those who need to hear these words the most.

It’s very important for us to be helping people who don’t have a voice. We have a platform to have our voice heard. We see them. And we want other people to see them too. That’s what matters the most. That our music might bring some hope to people.

📺 Watch: Systur – Euphoria (Loreen Cover) – Eurovision House Party

Systur are treading in some big footsteps when it comes to Iceland’s recent history in Eurovision. Their immediate predecessors, HATARI and Daði & Gagnamagnið, were big talking points during the two most recent Contests. And then there was the Netflix film, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, which has further contributed to Iceland’s slightly weird but quite wonderful reputation in a Eurovision context. Sigga, Beta and Elín, however, were huge fans of the film, and would jump at the chance to be involved in a sequel, if asked.

We’d love to film! Our parents sang in the first film actually, they have a song in that film. Every time the elves appear in the movie, the song Heyr Himnasmiður is played. Our mother (Ellen Kristjánsdóttir) sings the vocals, and our father (Eyþór Gunnarsson) produces and sings on it as well. We like that movie. Obviously it doesn’t give the correct picture of what Eurovision is, but it’s funny. And we would love to be in a second part. We would love to do our own version of Jaja Ding Dong. A country version.

Systur, Iceland, First Rehearsal, PalaOlimpico, 1 May 2022 EBU / Nathan Reinds

Aspirations of film stardom aside, the siblings’ immediate plans once the Eurovision experience is over for them, is no surprise. They’re going right back to what brings them the most happiness.

We are actually recording an album. We’ve already started it. So we are definitely gonna do more music. That’s what we love the most.

If you feel you could welcome more light, more sun, and more hope into your life (and let’s face it, who couldn’t right now), then you can tune in to the First Semi Final of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday 10 May, to see Systur perform Með Hækkandi Sól for Iceland.

📺 Watch: All 40 Songs of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest

Follow the official Eurovision Song Contest YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook channels – and subscribe to the Official Eurovision Song Contest Podcast.