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Frozen tones

Frozen tones

Meet the man for whom the ice sings
By Samia Madwar
Mar 01
From the February 2015 Issue

Terje Isungset tests the ice by drumming it with his fingers. “If it’s good ice, it can sing: Dinnnng,” he says. “If it’s not so good: Ping.” 

Norway’s ice musician carves his instruments wherever he performs. He’s made ice music through horns, trumpets, drums and percussion around the world, creating soothing, tinkling, fairy-tale music. Everywhere he goes, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, the ice has a slightly different accent.

“It depends on how the ice freezes,” he says. “It’s different from year to year.” And, he adds, “it depends on who is hitting it.” He recorded some of the tracks on his latest album, Meditations, in Iqaluit two years ago, and is heading back to Iqaluit and Yellowknife for shows this March. This time, he’s just planning to have fun—but if any new sounds strike him, “I’ll have a recorder with me.” Catch Terje Isungset in Iqaluit on March 7-8, and in Yellowknife’s Snow Castle on March 11.