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Magnús Þór Jónsson

Megas – The father of Icelandic rock ‘n’ roll

Magnús Þór Jónsson – better known by his stage name Megas – is one of the best-known and longest-standing Icelandic musicians. Megas was born in Reykjavík on 7. April 1945, which makes him almost the same age as the Icelandic republic (founded in 1944). The mononym Megas was adopted by Magnús while he was a student writing his first short stories for the national newspaper.

Elvis Presley was an early influence of Megas’, but his musical style and lyricism also took cues from the folk music of Bob Dylan. Megas’ work was highly original in that he satirized Iceland’s medieval sagas, for centuries considered the crowning jewel of Icelandic literary culture. Icelandic society responded to this brazen mockery by banning Megas’ early songs from the national radio. Censoring Megas only quickened the growth of a cult following around him among the alternative scene of the 1970s, however.

 Having published his first book of song lyrics in 1968, Megas released his first record in 1972, recorded in Oslo, Norway. The controversy he initially incited was gradually surpassed by acceptance of his social critique and respect for his talents as a songwriter. His 1977 album, Á bleikum náttkjólum [In Pink Nightdresses] was voted the best Icelandic album of all time.

In 1979 Megas took the unusual steps of releasing a double album before publicly retiring from music and becoming a dock worker instead. He did, however, return to the music scene in 1983, eventually releasing a string of further records and collaborating with emerging Icelandic artists such as Björk. The Fall, a Mancunian punk band, visited Iceland in 1981 and met Megas, who they were impressed by and mentioned in their song “Iceland” on the album Hex Enduction Hour (1982).

Megas was voted the second-greatest poet in Icelandic history in 2000, conceding first place to Iceland’s only Nobel Prize laureate, Halldór Laxness. Symbolically, he ranked above Snorri Sturlusson, the medieval poet who wrote many of Iceland’s sagas.




The text was written in November 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Hrafnkatla, usually known as Katla. I’m originally from Iceland but have also lived in Scotland. From October until May I’ll be interning at the University of Madeira in their heritage programme. I’m looking forward to experiencing a winter which doesn’t drop below 0 degrees Celsius!


Erasmus+ is a program of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the program acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.