Lonely Planet Writer

Has Iceland created the hardest karaoke song in the world?

Even if you’ve explored Snæfellsjökull and hiked the Laugavegur Trail, some of the most experienced and adventurous travellers may struggle with the latest challenge for tourists in Iceland – singing “the hardest karaoke song in the world.”

Tourism group Inspired by Iceland has created the new song to encourage travellers to make an attempt at the notoriously difficult Icelandic language. The song is performed by Icelandic comedian Steindi Jr and pokes fun at a number of stereotypes attributed to Icelanders using everyday Icelandic words and some more obscure words.

Can you sing the hardest karaoke song in the world? Image by Inspired by Iceland

The new video is part of a tourism campaign asking travellers to learn “the A-Ö of Iceland,” the Icelandic equivalent of an A-Z guide. A few tourists were filmed giving the song an earnest attempt and anyone who thinks they can do better can give it a shot and submit it on the Inspired by Iceland website. They can also take part in the ‘regional quiz’ to win an adventure trip to Iceland.

The amazing thing about the Icelandic language is that it has remained much the same as it did 800 years ago, as scholars create new words for modern things using the existing language. Since Iceland was first settled in 874, only about one million people have ever spoken the Icelandic language, according to Inspired by Iceland. It even has letters than no longer remain in other Latin alphabets.  But with many people speaking English as a second language – and many new smart technologies not supporting Icelandic – it is under threat. Anyone who loves a linguistic challenge can learn it as a second language at the University of Iceland – or simply take an online course.