How do you pronounce, Jónsi?

Jón Þór Birgisson aka Jónsi, is best know as the voice behind the Icelandic band Sigur Rós.  However, in 2010 with Sigur Rós on a break, Jónsi will make a name for himself as a solo artist.  Before I get into the details of Jónsi’s solo career, I do want to address one issue and that is, how do you pronounce this guy’s name.  I have to admit I didn’t even know what the name of the Sigur Rós singer was until he announced he was going solo.  When I first saw the name Jónsi I assumed, like the idiot American I am, that it was pronounced “Jones-ee.”  Then about a week ago, when I was watching a video about the stage production of Jónsi’s upcoming tour, I noticed the people on the video were pronouncing it “Yawn-see.”  I figured they knew what they were talking about and I’ve now started using the correct pronunciation.  The problem is, I’ve heard several people still pronouncing it the wrong way, so I just wanted to set the record straight and hopefully the word will get out…

Now, on to the music.  As a fan of Sigur Rós I was excited to hear Jónsi would be going solo, but even more so when I heard a couple of the songs from his upcoming album.  The new songs are more upbeat than Sigur Rós usually is and they are sung in English.  Words don’t do these songs justice, so I’ll let the music speak for itself.  You can download the the song “Boy Lilikoi” for free over at Stereogum, and here is the video for the song “Go Do.”

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In addition to the new album, “Go” which will be released April 6th, Jónsi will naturally be heading out on a US tour this spring. Here in the Twin Cities we get a special treat as he will be playing back to back dates at The Pantages Theater. Since I’ve never seen Sigur Rós live, I figured this would be the next best thing, but what completely sold me on getting tickets was this video, which I referenced earlier.

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And if that wasn’t enough to get you excited here is one more video, enjoy!

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All these videos and more can be found on Jónsi’s website.

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4 thoughts on “How do you pronounce, Jónsi?

  1. I’m not entirely sure since I’m not Icelandic myself, but I think your pronounce it as:
    yeown-say (and not really a long ‘say’ but more like the I in ‘hit’, if that makes sense)

    From the Sigur Rós website:
    # i (short) as in “hit”
    # i (long) as in “hit” but lengthened
    # i (followed by “ng” or “nk”) like “ee” in “seen”, but shorter

    And here you can hear him pronoucing it himself:

    Hope this helps!

  2. In Icelandic I’m pretty sure the o with an accent is pronounced oh, and j is pronounced y, and i without an accent is like i in hit or win. so it would be like yoh-n-sih. Like how he says it in the video above 🙂

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