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--- Fire and Ice in Reykjavík

Pordur "Doddi" Palmasson at Cafe Rosenberg after the April 19th Fire.

Pordur Palmasson at Cafe Rosenberg Won't Back Down

Rises Up Out of the Ashes

Pordur Palmasson better known as Doddi stands at the crossroads regarding the continuation of Cafe Rosenberg after the recent fire in midtown Reykjavik (Click Here for Fire Story and Pix). He is not impressed with the bullies at City Hall and Doddi's supporters have gathered to raise money and support to reopen Cafe Rosenberg in the same location.

We opened this place on Dec. 1st 2003.

Click Here to View more Photos of Cafe Rosenberg.

We got permission from relatives of the original owners to use the original name of the Cafe Rosenberg that opened 1919. The reason we wanted to use that name came through discovering an old picture of the original house band Cafe Rosenberg. The original Cafe Rosenberg was in the basement under Nyja Bio/movie theatre, the space here was a point of entry to the venue and a lot of original items (photos/furniture/instruments etc.) were found intact. I was an employee in a previous incarnation of the original Rosenberg Restaurant, a beautiful space that had also been ravaged by fire, and reconstructed. Fact is Cafe Rosenberg has burned 3 times since 1919 so if it's true that everything comes in three's (old Icelandic folk wisdom) this must be the last time.

Click Here to View more Photos of Cafe Rosenberg.

This place has a lot of soul, things started slowly when we opened Cafe Rosenberg in 2003 but the place quickly picked up and things were going really well! I had renewed the electricity, ventilation, the kitchen but no IKEA going on here, everything in this place including the furniture was authentic.

Click Here to View more Photos of Cafe Rosenberg.

A lot of musicians have played here and some of them took their first step playing liveÉdebuted in this place and a lot of grass roots music (jazz, folk, blues etc.) had a home here, it's such a drag to see this place go. We were booked all the way into spring of next year, actually Rosenberg suffered the least structural damage in the recent fire, most of the damage was due to heat and water, we can still restore most of the items despite a few burn spots here and there, it gives the place even more character and soul a bit of rock n roll overtone but we need the co-operation of city hall, legal powers that be.

The owners of Cafe Opera above us had put in custom made fire prevention plates in the walls and floors, otherwise it would have been a lot worse. But City Halls way of thanking them was to throw them out, they had been there for 20 years City Hall told them none of these places are gonna be allowed to be here anymore (Cafe Opera, Cafe Rosenberg, Pravda).

I signed a contract in 2003 that's good up to 2021. I have honored my end of the contract in every way, I think it's shitty that this contract is suddenly being ignored, why are contracts made in the first place if they can later be so easily dismissed.

Pordur has not been granted a meeting with the mayor.

Not yet, he says, but I received a phone call from his assistant so I am still hopeful I can have a meeting with Mayor Vilhjalm before long.in the meantime we have put up a petition on myspace ( link ) and everyone who has played here last few years will be at Rosenberg Benifit Concert this weekend...several artists are coming in from overseas...i have good support behind and it feels good to know that...the petition will be presented to the mayor...we will not back down!

Rising From The Ashes - Cafe Rosenberg Re-Opening in Reykjavik on August 18th!
News & Of Note! - Risen From The Ashes - Cafe Rosenberg Re-Opening in Reykjavik! -
15 months later the good fight has resolved to Cafe Rosenberg opening it's doors once again on August 18, 2008.

Pordur "Doddi" Palmasson and Michael Dean Odin Pollock at the 8/18 Grand Re-Opening of Cafe Rosenberg! - Photo by Siggi Sig.

Also Of Note! - Michael Dean Odin Pollock Checks in After Cafe Rosenberg Grand Re-Opening! -
The evening of August 18th, Cafe Rosenberg reopened its doors 2 blocks up from the original location. As soon as Siggi Sig and I arrived we were greeted by a glowing Doddi and a large crowd of friends (most of whom I hadn't seen since Cafe Rosenberg was gutted by fire over a year ago). I could immediately feel that Doddi had brought the unique spirit/atmosphere of this crucial venue in the Icelandic cultural landscape with him to this new location. Jazz, Blues, Folk artists were present in dozens, wearing ear to ear smiles. It felt like The Real Christmas on Earth had finally arrived. Willie the Clawhammer took to the stage to finish off the gig that was interupted by the downtown Reykjavik fire many moons before , then one of the Rosenberg regulars got up and sang a rousing version of Tom Waites "You're Innocent When You Dream" with Svavar Knútur playing on the old upright piano that has miraculously survived all 3 fires...

The "Grand" Upright Piano of Cafe Rosenberg.

I sat near the stage and could clearly smell smoked wood as Svavar stroked and hammered the ivory. A truly heartfelt reunion homecoming resurrection took place that nite with handshakes, kisses, hugs Great Spirit abounded... you may burn his house but you cant keep a good man down. I am proud to say that Doddi, Patron Saint of The Icelandic Roots/Folk/Poetry/Jazz/Blues Music Scene and Cafe Rosenberg are back in the Heart of Reykjavik. After a prolonged period of semi-dormancy, I am horny to hit the stage again at one of my favorite venues!


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