Music has always been about being cool, but the Swedish town of Luleå has taken that concept to a new extreme. As one of the coldest parts of the Swedish Lapland, just below the Arctic Circle, the town is picking up accolades for their Ice Music program. It is exactly what it sounds like: Ice sculpturist Tim Linhart has been crafting instruments out of pure ice for the Ice Orchestra, which performs in an igloo that seats about 170.
The instruments are fully usable and perfectly detailed copies of the originals rendered in ice. They have wooden fingerboards and real strings, but otherwise they're straight-frozen water. Linhart has crafted many ICEstruments, including violas, cellos, flutes, banjos, guitars and others. What's astounding is that all the instruments really do make sound and stay in tune — as long as the temperature stays cold enough. The instruments are so delicate that they have to be re-tuned after every performance since the breath of the musicians partially melts them.
They're also embedded with LED lights, which flare and glow in various bright colors. They're pretty much the greatest things ever.
Image Credit: Ice Music
Linhart came to Luleå 10 years ago to help build one of the world's first ice hotels, and since he's found a real niche. During the spring he works in a more permanent medium as a stone sculptor. But every winter, he begins to sculpt his ice orchestra again. As he told CNN, "My personal interest in this is to make it real music, not just clinking and dinking on a bunch of hanging ice cubes," he said. The concerts will be running this year through April, but clearly this should somehow be a part of the Winter Olympics.