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Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson ( ) (born April 23, 1975) is the guitarist and vocalist for the Icelandicmarker post-rock band Sigur Rós. He is known for his use of a cello bow on guitar and his falsetto voice. Jónsi is blind in his right eye, and is openly gay. His boyfriend Alex Somers has done much of the graphic design for Sigur Rós and they also perform together as an art collaboration called Jónsi & Alex. They released their self-titled first book in November 2006, which was an embossed hardcover limited to 1000 copies. Jónsi is also a vegetarian.

Musical history

In 1995, Jónsi fronted a band called ‘Bee Spiders’, under the alias ‘Jonny B’. He wore sunglasses on stage throughout whole concerts. Bee Spiders received the ‘most interesting band’ award in 1995 in a contest for unknown bands called ‘Músíktilraunir’ (Music Experimentations). The band played long rock songs and was compared to The Smashing Pumpkins. Jónsi also fronted a grunge band called Stoned around 1992–1993. He also uses the alias Frakkur to release his solo material.

Studio Albums

Riceboy Sleeps (2009)

Jónsi and Alex Somers have completed their first album together, entitled Riceboy Sleeps. The instrumental album was recorded in Iceland and played solely on acoustic instruments, with appearances by Amiina and the Kópavogsdætur choir.

The 68 minute album has 9 tracks and was released July 20, 2009 on Parlophone Records.

New Solo Album

According to a post appeared on the official site on May 26 2009, Jónsi is currently working on a new solo album that will feature predominantly acoustic music and string arrangements from classical composer Nico Muhly. The album will be produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Tokyo Police Club).

Jónsi makes a guest appearance on Tiësto's title track "Kaleidoscope" on his new album of the same title which was released on October 6, 2009.


The name Sigur Rós is altered from the name of Jónsi's little sister, Sigurrós, who was born at the same time the band was formed.

In Icelandic Sigur translates to “Victory” and Rós to “Rose”.

In 2003 he was escorted off the premises while protesting against Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Projectmarker in Iceland.


Jónsi's first language is Icelandic. He also speaks English. According to the official Sigur Rós web site:
On the first three Sigur Rós albums (Von, Von Brigði, Ágætis Byrjun), Jónsi sang most songs in Icelandic but two of them (“Von” and “Olsen Olsen”) were sung in ‘Hopelandic’.
All of the vocals on ( ) are in Hopelandic.
Hopelandic (Vonlenska in Icelandic) is the ‘invented language’ in which Jónsi sings before lyrics are written to the vocals.
It is not an actual language by definition (no vocabulary, grammar, etc.), but rather a form of gibberish vocals that fit to the music and act as another instrument.
Jónsi likens it to what singers sometimes do when they’ve decided on the melody, but haven’t written the lyrics yet.
Many languages were considered to be used on ( ), including English, but they decided on Hopelandic.
Hopelandic (Vonlenska) got its name (from a journalist, not Jónsi himself) from the first song which Jónsi sang on, “Hope” (Von).


Like a few other players of bowed guitar, Jónsi plays a Gibson Les Paul. He also plays a white Ibanez Les Paul copy. Since summer 2006 Jónsi has been using a guitar, that was made on the road, by his then guitar tech Dan Johnson. The guitar is usually referred to as the "the bird".


  2. sigur ros vs. NPR

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