Icelandic musician Mugison, full name Örn Elías Guðmundsson, has been named Westfjordian of the Year 2011 by people in his native Westfjords region. In 2011 he released one of Iceland’s best ever selling albums and gave a string of free concerts. He is also widely known for being a nice guy.
The award is voted on by readers of local newspaper Bæjarins Besta and its website, bb.is. Mugison won with 36 percent of votes cast.
In second place was Guðni Albert Einarsson, a managing director from the town of Suðureyri, with 32 percent of votes. Readers described Guðni variously as: “having worked tirelessly to build up the economy and culture of the Westfjords”, having “continually supported work to give blind Nigerian children sight”, as a “miracle man from Suðureyri”, and as a “child of the land and of the nation”.
Meanwhile Mugison’s star rose to new heights in 2011, selling 28,000 copies of his album Haglél and offering free concerts around the country in thanks for the public support. The tour ended with a three-concert run at Reykjavík’s Harpa concert centre, which sold out and were so popular that the ticketing website crashed. He is also the brain behind the more-popular-every-year Easter music festival in Ísafjörður, called Aldrei Fór Ég Suður – which has become the region’s biggest annual event.
Mugison is the first person to be named Westfjordian of the Year twice – having also won the prize in 2004.
55 people received anonymous online nominations in the poll; but in the end the top three took over 77 percent of the votes.