Among many cute Icelandic things Icelandair does, like naming each plane in their fleet after an Icelandic volcano, is playing Icelandic music in the cabin before take-off and upon landing. The first time I heard the song Goða Tungl was while the airplane named Katla taxied to the gate at Keflavik Airport, delivering me to Airwaves 2012. I thought, “How cool! Björk covered Einstürzende Neubauten.” Of course I was wrong, and that’s why I need your help.
Goða Tungl is an original song by Samaris. It is not sung by Björk, and was not written by Einstürzende Neubauten. But to this day, whenever I hear the song, I hear Blixa Bargeld’s voice in my head, matching Goða Tungl perfectly in German words I can’t make out. I am confident that there is a song by EN that shares a vocal melody with Goða Tungl, but I can’t figure out wich one it is. I am almost sure that it is on an earlier album than Ende Neu, because I haven’t really followed them since then.
I must rely on the collective wisdom of the internet. Please, help me find the Einstürzende Neubauten song that kinda sorta sounds like Samaris, and let me put this nagging question to rest.
Update: Professor Batty posted a link in the comments to Auður’s I Heart Reykjavik blog post about Samaris. When I read it and discovered that Goða Tungl is a German folk song, I was sure I was on the right track. Einstürzende Neubauten is well known for (among other things) appropriation of sounds and melodies in order to make a point.
I leapt down an internet rabbit hole of searches for the band name combined with the English and German translations of the song name, as well as search terms like “folk song.” Several hours later, I was forced to conclude that Einstürzende Neubauten never recorded the German song that led to Goða Tungl. While I still hold out some slim hope that the melody appears somewhere in some other song, I think that I have probably found the reference that ran through my head while I was waiting to deboard that plane two years ago.
The tempo is wrong, but perhaps it is forgivable if, at the end of an eight hour overnight flight, the lines
Góða tungl um loft þú líður,
ljúft við skýja silfur skaut.
evoked the lines
Du trumst mich ich dich
Keine Angst ich weck’ dich nicht
Or maybe not. Maybe you will find a different Einstürzende Neubauten song that matches Goða Tungl more closely. If you do, I hope you post it in the comments.