I heard about this unusual book on the radio the other day and the short description caught my interest enough to want to read it. O’Farrell has certainly had an unusual life and has found quite a unique way to tell her life story. I am not sure why she chose to tell the different stories out of chronological order, but it doesn’t distract too much from the story. The book is well-written and never goes into the “I feel sorry for myself” category, even though this woman certainly has overcome challenges many of us wouldn’t even dream of.
Bragi Þór grew up in Reykjavik, Iceland. As a child he enjoyed musical education in piano, clarinet and music theory from one of Iceland’s leading music schools and singing was already a favourite pastime.
By the age of thirteen Bragi was already a superstar in his own country, having been part of a singing group which achieved gold and platinum record sales respectively. In his early teens Bragi realized that he would be interested in a career in music. During this time he spent the majority of his time on musical activities, including singing in one of the top Youth Choirs in Iceland, Hamrahliðarkórinn, playing in various youth bands and orchestras including the notorious Lúðrasveit Verkalýðsins and furthering his clarinet and vocal studies.
By the time Bragi finished Secondary school he had completed his clarinet studies with one of Iceland’s leading clarinettists as his private tutor as well as completing the majority of his singing studies. During the next few years Bragi’s interest in music took him all over the World as he became a seven-time member and soloist of the esteemed World Youth Choir and later the World Voices. He performed as part of renowned ensembles in Iceland and voiced over the Disney movie Beauty and The Beast in Icelandic as the character of Gaston. During these years Bragi also completed a B.Sc. in Computer Science and worked for various clients both in the United Kingdom and the United States in a music-IT capacity.
While living in the United States Bragi completed a M.Mus. degree in Choral Conducting from Dr. André Thomas at Florida State University. During his studies at FSU, Bragi had the opportunity to perform in various scholastic Early Music groups including the Cantores Musique Antique directed by Jeffery Kite-Powell and as Somnus in the early opera Semele by John Eccles. Bragi also directed various amateur groups in the United States as well as working at churches as a soloist.
Upon his return to Iceland, Bragi was invited to become part of the Icelandic National Opera Chorus where he performed between 2004 and 2006. From 2006 and through 2010 Bragi conducted, arranged, taught, sang, and recorded as part of his daily work in Iceland, both on a contractual and freelance basis. During those years, Bragi also had the opportunity to work with a variety of South African choirs in workshops during his visits to South Africa, most notably the Drakensberg Boys Choir, for which he was hired Conductor from January 2011. He has lived in South Africa since January 2011, for the first year as conductor of the Drakensberg Boys Choir and since then as choirmaster and music teacher at Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng. In 2013 Bragi was chosen to be one of the conductors of the South African National Youth Choir. In 2016 Bragi founded the Rustenburg Community Chorus, a choir for adults from all walks of life and any level of musical experience. The choir is based in Rustenburg, in the North West province.
Bragi and his choirs have shared the stage with various South-African artists, such as Rina Hugo, Amanda Black, Lira, Johnny Clegg and The Parlotones.
Bragi is regularly invited to adjudicate at choir and music competitions. He is currently working on a PhD in Choral Conducting.
In his free time Bragi enjoys spending time in the outdoors, hiking, photography and reading. He is married to writer Christina van Deventer and although they don’t have any human children yet, they have two furry ones.
Bragi has been singing professionally since he was 11 years old. During the years 1989 to 1993, the Rokklingarnir albums were the best selling albums in Iceland and fetched the members (including Bragi) multiple gold and platinum albums.
After that, Bragi sang in a high school choir, took voice lessons, sang on 7 different occasions in the World Youth Choir and once in World Voices, sang freelance in well over 300 church ceremonies and services in Iceland, UK and USA, voiced over a Disney movie and published an album with his own vocal group, to name but a few items of interest. See some examples below.
Since Bragi finished his Master’s degree in conducting in 2004 he’s been working in the field, with various different choir jobs around Iceland and South Africa, and choral workshops in South Africa and Iceland.
Bragi started learning the clarinet in 1989 and finished his clarinet schooling in 2002. His main clarinet teachers were Jón Aðalsteinn Þorgeirsson and Guðni Franzson. Bragi has mostly played the Bb-clarinet, but also plays A-clarinet, Eb-clarinet and, on occasion, bassethorn.
Want to contact Bragi for gigs or arrangements or just to invite him to your party? Either use the form provided below or e-mail him directly to bragi (at) bragi.co.za – you have to put your own @ thingy instead of (at). This is done to try to prevent the email address from filling up with SPAM.