This impromptu performance of an Icelandic hymn is the most inspiring video you’ll see today

In a meeting with some of the artists at Mercury Studios a few weeks ago, Glenn told everyone in the room they needed to listen to the Icelandic band Ásgeir. He said the music told the story of a country that had suffered tremendous financial collapse, but rising the ruin was a huge wave of creativity. Aside from Ásgeir, bands like Of Monsters and Men have taken off over the past few years. But there is an incredible new viral video making the rounds today featuring the Icelandic band Árstíðir singing an 800 year old hymn that might be the most inspiring thing you see today.

While in a train station in Wuppertal, Germany, Árstíðir gave an impromptu performance of “Heyr himna smiður” (translated as “Hear, Heaven Carpenter”), a 13th century Icelandic hymn by Kolbeinn Tumason.

The video was first published in September 2013, and has since accumulated over 2.9 million views.

Commenter Michael Baker wrote, “I dare you to listen to this with your eyes closed and nothing else going on and not be transported.”

Watch the incredible video below and let us know what you think in the comments:

(H/T Yahoo News)

  • William Fryer

    You hear good music. You feel great music. Wow!

  • Johnathan Read

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL !!!

  • Jason Bowman

    What are the words to this hymn? I would love to know.

    • rae

      Hear, smith of the heavens,
      what the poet asks.
      May softly come unto me
      thy mercy.
      So I call on thee,
      for thou hast created me.
      I am thy slave,
      thou art my Lord.

      God, I call on thee
      to heal me.
      Remember me, mild one,[1]
      Most we need thee.
      Drive out, O king of suns,
      generous and great,
      human every sorrow
      from the city of the heart.

      Watch over me, mild one,
      Most we need thee,
      truly every moment
      in the world of men.
      send us, son of the virgin,
      good causes,
      all aid is from thee,
      in my heart.
      According to wikipedia at least

  • Janie Davenport Farist

    English Translation of Lyrics. Islandic version below with link to page where these were found.

    Hear, Heavenly Creator*

    Listen, smith of the heavens,

    what the poet asks.

    May softly come unto me

    your mercy.

    So I call on thee,

    for you have created me.

    I am thy slave,

    you are my Lord.

    God, I call on thee to heal me.

    Remember me, mild one1,

    Most we need thee.

    Drive out, O king of suns,

    generous and great,

    every human sorrow

    from the city of the heart.

    Watch over me, mild one,

    Most we need thee,

    truly every moment

    in the world of men.

    send us, son of the virgin,

    good causes,

    all aid is from thee,

    in my heart.
    Taken from


    Heyr himna smiður

    Heyr, himna smiður,

    hvers skáldið biður.

    Komi mjúk til mín

    miskunnin þín.

    Því heit eg á þig,

    þú hefur skaptan mig.

    Eg er þrællinn þinn,

    þú ert drottinn minn.

    Guð, heit eg á þig,

    að þú græðir mig.

    Minnst þú, mildingur, mín,

    mest þurfum þín.

    Ryð þú, röðla gramur,

    ríklyndur og framur,

    hölds hverri sorg

    úr hjartaborg.

    Gæt þú, mildingur, mín,

    mest þurfum þín,

    helzt hverja stund

    á hölda grund.

    Send þú, meyjar mögur,

    málsefnin fögur,

    öll er hjálp af þér,

    í hjarta mér.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, I sure needed this today , Just beautiful…..worth every second.

  • Steve Satterly


  • Anonymous

    Reminds me of Gregorian chants. Beautiful.

  • Linda Smith

    Absolutely breathtaking. It sounded like a large choir – the acoustics were amazing and their voices stunning. LOVED it!

  • Robert Quance

    Gives me the shivers. Beautiful!!!

  • Sarrissa

    Thrones, Powers and Principalities, those who stand close to the throne of God, could not do a better job in transporting us to a place where things matter . . . Human hearts who love their country. They share something profound and beautiful.

  • ScaryLogic

    Really coool

  • Joan Anderson Gudmudsson

    My late husband was an Icelandic carpenter. Thank you for this. I needed it. Bless bless.

    • eyeopener

      Joan, may God grant you the peace that passes all understanding with your loss!

  • Emily Bunderson

    Dadgum. That gave me goosebumps. So beautiful!

  • Marianne Hudson

    OMG! This is absolutely hauntingly beautiful. It reminds me of the choir I was in in high school. Singing with absolutely no music the voices just blend to make their own music. We sang for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in the Cathedral in St. Augustine, FL. The accoustics were very much like this and it was phenomenal to be a part of that. It gives me chills just thinking about it. These guys are AWESOME!!!!

  • msjoeshmoe

    The acoustics are fantastic and the melody is beautiful!

  • Netties Petrone

    YES! I believe in God, our Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son…

  • Kathy A Robinson

    Perhaps, a preview of the heavenly choirs. May our gracious Lord continue to bless their abilities. Thank you Janie Davenport Farist for the translation.

  • Anonymous

    Reverence to our Lord the beauty goes through all the land. Thank you God bless All.

  • defiant1

    Haunting, ethereal and beautiful. The Icelanders are a strong, tough people who cherish their land and country. This beautiful hymn shows their love and devotion.

  • Gloss Finnish

    The story of man-made global warming is a story of science fiction conjured up to scare the gullible and the ignorant.

  • Lucy Farrah DeMonique

    Good God!

  • rambler


  • C20

    Slowed my breathing and inspired.

  • Anonymous

    How can such a sound come from men in blue jeans and tee shirts, one of whom was barefoot while another held a beer. I am impressed.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! I was so blown away! This put me in mind of the final section of Sigrid Undset’s “Kristin Lavransdottir,” where Kristin as a widow retires to a convent in Trondheim just in time for the Black Death to reach that town. Totally agree with the earlier commenter who was reminded of Gregorian chant by this song. What a lovely example of medieval vernacular polyphony!

  • Anonymous

    What an amazing performance this was. The ability to harmonize with so many accidentals and minor chords with such precision was a privilege to hear. I loved this! It sent shivers down my spine.

  • texastruthtweet

    That was very amazing! I literally felt like angels were singing to me.

  • Anonymous

    Magnificent, and I speak as one who started sing choral and a capella music in 1943 as a boy soprano. My college group still meets once a year (those of us left, we are in our late ’70s). Someone commented that it sounds like a Gregorian chant, he is right – I have transcribed the chants from the old notation to modern. Someone else spoke of the accidentals and harmonies, also right.

    The old chants, and the vocal tones, of the time used a scale that we don’t. Many finer tones that were momentarily unharmonic. A full tone, for a singer under Guido’s system consisted of eight pitches. A C# on the way up was a micro tone different than the same on the way down, as was the Db. Guido had a system of pointing to the joints on his fingers to show the actual pitch, and the singers could hear them in their minds. The notation didn’t show this exactly.

    A short story, my college group (the Princeton Tigertones, for those interested) was in Nassau, Bahamas on a spring break. We were singing our repertoire of pop and jazz at the hotel when a local minister asked us to come to his church on Sunday and “sing a few hymns from our repertoire”. Hymns were not in our repertoire, but we found some 3 part motets from Lassus and Palestrina in the local library and practiced them. That was the start of my love for the “linear” harmonies of the old chants.

    For those of you musically inclined, and I note from the comments there are a number of you, the harmonies of early western music were linear in the sense that they were a flow of voices into a disharmony that would resolve to a new harmony. Our modern music is a “vertical” harmony that usually resolves to a tonic, although sometimes ends with a “hanger”.

    Pardon the ramble, and the gratuitous music lesson, but this piece brought a lot of memories. Princeton, whatever one may think of the college today, has a plethora of buildings from the turn of the last century that are “college Gothic”. One feature of that architecture is lots of vaulted arches. In a normal performance we would line up in a shallow bow to project to the audience (no mikes), but the real fun was when we did an informal one in one of the arches – we would stand in a circle, just as these lads did, and let the acoustics of the arch send the music in all directions as a blend.

    Coming back to the video, this was magnificent. I am jealous. I want to go to Iceland and sing with them. As my old choirmaster used to say “any damned fool can shout, it takes a singer to sing softly”. We just heard singers who love their music.

  • Russell Cummings

    What a wonderful reminder that our awesome God should be worshiped in song and praise and with the beauty and respect that He deserves. Thanks! made my day.

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