The Scandinavian duo My bubba started singing together after Bubba Tomasdottír answered an ad to rent a room in My Larsdotter's apartment.
The name of their band is taken from an anglicized pronunciation of the two singers' first names. And while Larsdotter is from Sweden and Tomasdottír is from Iceland, their music has the sound of something born in America — a blend of old country, blues and bluegrass. The duo's new album, Big Bad Good, combines crisscrossing voices with minimalist instrumentation, interspersed with moments of silence. This quietness is a presence in their music, and comes naturally from the musicians' personalities — which they say are not natural fits for a lifestyle of performing in front of crowds.
"It's been challenging for sure," Larsdotter says. "I think now that we've been doing this for a couple of years, we're finding more and more our own way of being quiet in this loud world. And find a lot of strength in what we have together, being quiet."
Tomasdottír agrees. "We call it 'the fragile challenge': that it is often hard to find the space to be fragile," she says. "There's a lot of power in the quietness and in the fragility, once you find a way of unlocking it, or the right setting to let it be heard."
Larsdotter and Tomasdottír spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about their Scandinavian heritage and the music they loved growing up. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.