Roots

Eli Tausen á Lava was born on the 3rd of March 1997 in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands are a small archipelago of 18 islands in the North Atlantic Ocean with a population of approximately 50.000 people. Even though it is small, the Faroe Islanders are proud to call their home a sovereign country in the Kingdom of Denmark with its own language, culture and history.

The culture of the Faroe Islands is very musically oriented, with many kvæðir—folk songs that have been passed down through oral tradition for hundreds of years—still being sung today. On national holidays, the islanders join hands and dance what is now known as Faroese dance—an ancient chain dance that originated in medieval Europe but has since died out in most places.

Introduction to Music

Eli grew up in a home where music was highly valued. During family get-togethers there would usually be sing-alongs, often with guitar accompaniment, and the whole family would join in singing. Every Sunday, his family went to the Pentecostal church, where music and songs of worship played an important part—usually making up half of the service.

When he was 8 years old, he started taking lessons in the viola at the Tórshavn School of Music. Being a child, he lost interest after three years and chose to stop—a choice he regrets to this day. A few years later, when he was around 14 years old, he rediscovered his interest in music. He taught himself to play the piano and started writing songs and small pieces. Around one or two years later, he developed a real interest in classical music and started properly composing.

Education & Career

In 2015, he started studying composition under the renowned Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen. Eli had his debut as a composer the following year, when his piano piece Chromatica was performed at the Faroese Summartónar festival (which is held annualy and has featured his music regularly since). Later the same year, he was accepted into Musikkskúla Miðnám—the advanced music programme at the Tórshavn School of Music—where he continued his studies under Rasmussen. Early in 2017, Eli was selected—as one of three young Faroese artists—to receive an honorary gift from the Foundation of Thorvald Poulsen av Steinum.

In 2018, Eli passed the final exam at Musikkskúla Miðnám, completing the programme one year earlier than expected. However, he was not able to attend his own graduation, because his choral piece Freya Syngur had been selected to be included at the ISCM World Music Days festival in Beijing—Eli and his family had travelled to China to attend the festival.

Later in 2018, Eli was accepted into the composition programme at the Malmö Academy of Music and moved to Sweden to study under Professor Rolf Martinsson, one of Sweden's leading composers.

Eli received the New Name of the Year award at the Faroese Music Awards in March 2019.