Sounds of Iceland – Accessible on Map

Vala Hafstað

Did you ever wonder what Iceland sounds like? Music journalist and musician Kaśka Paluch, who holds a master’s degree in musicology from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, has created a sound map of Iceland, making it possible for you to listen to sounds from different parts of the country.

For the past months, she has traveled around Iceland, recording sounds, including the bleating of sheep, the songs of birds, the murmur of rivers, and the howling of the wind.

The idea was sparked when she gave a visually impaired woman a tour of Raufarhólshellir lava tube, Southwest Iceland, and realized how different her experience of the cave was from that of others, she tells mbl.is.

The sound map not only gives blind people a chance to explore Iceland through sounds, but since its release came at a time when people cannot travel, due to the pandemic, numerous  people from all over the world report using the sounds as a calming device during these trying times. For some, listening to the sounds brings back memories of their visits to Iceland, while for others, it is their introduction to the country.

Kaśka first came to Iceland four years ago and fell in love, not only with the country, but with one of its inhabitants. Half a year later, she moved here from Poland and has since been working as a guide.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she began working on the sound project, which she discusses in the mbl.is interview above. You can access the map, noisefromiceland.com, here and listen to sounds from numerous tourist attractions.

The map is a work in progress, and Kaśka plans to add to it sounds from the West Fjords. The goal is to then record sounds from the country’s glaciers, which may require a map of their own.

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