Rosa Gudmundsdottir

Iceland’s newest music star at the Cutting Room in New York City

So far, Iceland’s biggest contributions to the world music stage have been the truly magnificent Bjork and the equally majestic Sigur Ros. Now, Icelandic export Rósa Gudmundsdóttir is looking to add her name to the list. And after seeing her on the stage with her equally fabulous band The Ultra Tight at New York’s The Cutting Room, this is not outside of the realm of possibility. Seriously. Of course,there’s a way to go, but Rósa and the Ultra Tight have the makings of becoming a truly magnificent band indeed.

Gudmundsdóttir is an exceptional musician (she’s classically trained and it shows), and she has that little added thing called the “X-Factor,” which is never found or bottled (although a million A&R guys have tried).

Still, she’s at her best when she reins things in a bit; the sweeping ballad “You’re In My Heart” (which deftly showcases Gudmundsdóttir’s fabulous piano skills) is surely a hit in the making, and has something of the epic rock song about it. The other outstanding ballad, “With or Without You,” isn’t far behind. This is not to say that the band can’t rock out, because they do with funky force.

“What a Life” gets the groove going and “Move Higher” just rocks. Aptly named, the band is indeed ultra tight. Guitarist Carolyn Marosy is a musical tour de force—her versatile guitar playing beautifully completes Gudmundsdóttir’s musical vision. Bassist Anne Lieberwirth brings the funk and Yvette Scott, with her snappy, groove-laden drumming, gives the sound a solid and funky backbone. They’re the perfect foil for Gudmundsdóttir’s lush arrangements and quirky stage presence and their equisite musicianship makes them rivetting to watch.

One genius in the crowd declared, “Hey, you’re all girls, but you rock!” Well spotted, sir, and yes, this bunch of fine musicians could give any of those snarly rock boys a run for their money on any day of the week. So if you can, check these girls out soon. Their sound deserves to be heard on bigger stages, and after this performance, you can guarantee that it soon will be.

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