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Visiting the Lonely Genius

Visiting the Lonely Genius


For a man so timid he practically implores you to whisper, artist and musician Páll Guðmundsson is a wellspring of cheer-worthy revelations.

As we tour Pall Gudmundsson's studios in Husafell, the sprawling West Iceland region where he's lived since birth, he slyly unveils a glorious stash of curiosities, beginning with his painting gallery, which features fractal-flecked ink prints that have been pressed on ice. From his rhubarb patch, he dries the stalks to make ornate flutes, and around his central workspace -- a Hobbit hole, of sorts -- he carves faces into boulders that become witnesses to a lonely genius. The collective pinnacle of Gudmundsson's craftsmanship is his signature Steinharpas, or stone harps -- xylophone-type instruments he builds after years of culling the right tuneful slabs. The natural creation has led him to collaborate with Sigur Ros, and it provides our visit with a literal crescendo, a unique performance with a palpable backstory -- from the earth to our ears.

Watch the lonely artist perform his stone harp:

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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