WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
Eurovision 2021 is already shaping up to be a song contest like no other and with Norway’s selection show Melodi Grand Prix kicking off tonight the 20/2/21 final will feature 2019 entrants KEiiNO.
- Read on for reasons including why you should check out KEiiNO’s fine debut album
We said then: ‘KEiiNO is a Norwegian supergroup that consists of Sámi songwriter, rapper, and joiker Fred Buljo, and Norwegian singers Alexandra Rotan and Tom Hugo. The group was established in the late summer of 2018 when Tom Hugo Hermansen and his husband Alex Olsson began writing Spirit in the Sky. All you really need to know though is that it is an ethno schlager banger of epic proportions. It pulls off the difficult trick of incorporating something traditional into uplifting enormo-pop and making it sound both seamless and effortless.’
Crowdpleasers like Spirit don’t tend to win Eurovision these days because of the professional jury vote and so it proved in 2019 with KEiiNO winning the televote but only placing 6th.
Monument then is an attempt to right that wrong by honing in on what KEiiNO do well, accentuating the fine live voices the band have at its disposal, particularly Rotan’s, with an emphasis on the message with Alex telling Wiwiblogs: ‘Monument is about the most important moments and people in a lifecycle. The song honors those who enrich other people’s lives without receiving medals or having streets named after them.’
The band have already proved that acts formed for Eurovision can have a life after the contest and they provided some lockdown light for us when their debut album OKTA was an album of the month for us in May 2020.
We said then: ‘If KEiiNO have a unique selling point, it is mixing the music of indigenous people with pop music. So there are plenty of Sámi influences thanks to Buljo but artists from other indigenous cultures also feature … it’s fantastic to have the band still with us a year later and with a fine debut album under their belts already.’
It’s hard to know whether KEiiNO will win Norway’s ticket. We’ve heard the 4 songs competing tonight and the quality is high and variety is key.
What the band should be proud of is that they’ve learned from the success and not merely repeated it but built on it.
- Picture via Facebook courtesy KEiiNO Tickets How to watch Melodi Grand Prix beginning at 1950 CET 16/1/21
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