25 great søngs in Danish, Faroese, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish – collected by beehype correspondents in Scandinavia.
English lyrics seem to dominate Scandinavian music and this approach certainly helped local artist win global recognition. However, we find ourselves enjoying songs with local words, rhymes and rhythms more and more. That’s especially true about Scandinavia, as languages from this region seem just perfect for music.
► PLAYLIST: Listen to all songs on YouTube or Spotify.
“No matter how much you love another person you can never really own him or her. It’s easy to say but it’s really hard to realize in reality, and that’s what’s the song is about,” Iisa Pykäri told Swede and Sour about the new video from her just-released second solo album.
Known as the frontwoman of the Finnish electropop trio Regina, with the new record titled “Kukaan ei oo kenenkään” (“Nobody is No One’s”) Iisa grows both as songwriter and performer. With rich, layered production she’s arguably found the best possible context for her subtle voice – one of the most beautiful in the European scene.
Info: Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, www.
Rest in Beats
New Danish duo challenges the musical genre conventions through experimental rhythm n’ flow on their new single “Fugle kan dø”.
“Fugle kan dø” – which translates into “Birds may die” – takes elements from pop, hiphop and electronica and mixes them all together to create their own unique take on a poem, originally written by the famous Iranian poet and movie director Forough Farrokhzad.
Info: Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes, Facebook.
H.C. Andersen once uttered the wise words of: “When words fail, music speaks”. And that pretty much sums it up. Those five words are basically Silvurlín and Marius Ziska in a nutshell.
Even if the language might make less sense to you, than that of the cute one-eyed yellow minions or The Sims, luckily the language of music always remains universal.
That being said. Please do yourself a favor. Crank it up and let the language of music wash over you.
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, www.
Romance. Love. And drama. Another fantastic video from one of Norway’s most talented young artists, Daniel Kvammen.
Daniel’s new single would be a great songs all by itself. But it’s accompanied by an equally captivating video directed by Eivind Landsvik. Together, sounds and pictures make it one of the most memorable Norwegian music videos of the recent months, or maybe years, full of love and drama in every single second, boosted by the guest rap featuring of Lars Vaular.
Info: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, www.
The appeal of “Jävla 80-tal,” the first single off Hanna Järver’s new album “So Long”, is immediate. First, it’s an incredibly sleek song, combining state of the art production and fabulous retro stylings, referencing – just as the title indicates – the “damned eighties.”
Second, it’s terribly catchy without being in your face. The music flows effortlessly, delivering one hook after another and culminating with the super-melodic chorus that will stick with you long after the song is gone.
And third, it’s emotively ambiguous, conveying an inchoate sense of longing and melancholy which makes it all the more interesting.
Info: Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube, Instagram, www.
All-female Icelandic rap collective Reykjavikurdaetur (Reykjavik Daughters) was born quite surprisingly and every new songs they have created together seemed to preserve that unpredictability component.
The video for “HÆPIÐ” is one of their breakthrough hits, and a great first taste of their exceptional art – in case you haven’t heard nor seen them yet. An unforgettable experience.
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.
Burning God Little
“Hver Natt” (Norwegian for “Every Night”) is an extract of Burning God Little’s debut album “Det e i mørke vi lyse“.
This fresh tune is undoubtedly enchanting. The dreamy electronica or self-classified “future pop” works perfectly with the light vocal.
No need to understand what she says in Tromsø dialect, as she totally succeeds to invite you on a three minutes journey anyway. “Hver Natt” or a mermaid’s chant have the same result: it carries you away. Close your eyes, and maybe you’ll suddenly find yourself someplace else.
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, YouTube.
First single off her new album, “Naivi”, this song is a great example of how singer Yona combines flamboyant sound of the 60s/70s soul with local sensivity, and what sets her apart from the recent retromania – lyrics in Finnish.
But Yona’s inspirations only start here. Another big influence seems to be tango. Last year she released her own album with her own interpretations of tango classics. And earlier, she used to re-record old hits with her band Liljan Loisto.
Info: Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, www.
Once in a while you come across a newcomer who seems too talented, too professional, too accomplished for a novice. In most of those cases, it’s actually someone well-experienced who’s just starting again under his or her own name. That’s what Katrine Stochholm decided to do recently.
“Fugle Krybdyr Rovdyr Padder” is among the most captivating and beautiful things we heard from Denmark in a while. And apart from the music itself, what makes Katrine special is that she sings in her mother tongue, which is quite rare for (alternative) musicians in this part of Europe.
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, www.
Swedish folk rock band Garmarna started their career in 1990, released five records, and then shut down for almost 15 years. So who would expect they’d be back with new material right now? Fortunately, they are.
“Över Gränsen”, or “Across Borders”, is their first single in this millenium and also the first taste of the upcoming album. The video was directed by the band’s previous collabolator Emil Ryderu, and it features the wonderful voice of the singer/rapper/activist Maxida Märak.
If you’re old enough to remember the trip hop of the 1990s – and if you liked it – then Samaris should be right up your alley. At the beginning of May the trio from Reykjavík will release their second album, “Silkidrangar”, and here is the great single “Ég Vildi Fegin Verda”.
Info: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
“Au” is to be found on the first album of the Norwegian singer-songwriter Kaja Gunnufsen. Her lyrics are outspoken and mainly expose a young woman’s inner thoughts about love, loneliness, emptiness and, well, life! Kaja offers dreamy folk-pop, and in this song uses essentially piano chords.
The melodic melancholy of “Au” (Norwegian for “Ouch”) paired with the video made by the talented Kenneth Karlstad simply grasps the listener-viewer’s attention at once!
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
With just two tracks out there yet, Stockholm-based quartet Melby appear to be among the most interesting newcomers to the (extremely excessive) Swedish indie scene.
“‘Regnet’ translates into ‘The Rain’. I would describe it as a vague and foggy story about some kind of mysterious nightly journey, starring two people trying really hard to stop hating each other”, Are Steinsholm, Melby’s guitarist told us. “But I don’t know if anyone else would agree that this is what it is about.”
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.
First single from Copenhagen/Aarhus-based Amanda Glindvad under the moniker JÆRV (wolverine) is called “I Staver”, which means “to fall into a reverie” in Danish.
And it’s a minimal and quite Scandinavian piece of electropop in all its haunting melancholy.
Since “I Staver”, she’s also released her second single, “Dramadukke”, and is working on her first video. Hopefully preparing us for a full-length album.
Info: Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram.
Mammút’s lead singer, Katrína Mogensen, has co-directed the video for “Þau svæfa”. We asked her to explain us their new single and the video.
“The song itself is about how ideas, people, originality, something that represents a fragile state of thinking, the grassroots – can easily be corrupted or suppressed by the authority. Authority meaning whatever you look up to or is controlling you in any way. The lyrics then lead you into how you can build your own fire and drag your body out of a sleepy ocean. There is no conclusion in the lyrics and it sounds more like a riddle than a direct message.”
Info: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
Sanna “Litku” Klemetti burst on the scene the previous year with her infectious songs fusing garage rock and DIY punk attitude with classic vintage pop or even schlager.
Her track “Juna Kainuuseen” is an instant classic.
Info: Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, www.
If there’s a perfect way to write a song that moves heart, the Swedish singer-songwriter Menke suggests she knows the secret.
One of the Karin Boye (Swedish poet) poems had exactly the same title, and it’s the inspiration – and core – of Menke’s impressive debut single “Clouds”. While the poem itself draws a cinematic scenery, Menke added an equally picturesque arrangements, though with her voice she could as well sing the whole poem a capella.
Info: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.
A still-young alternative quintet, Navneløs (Nameless) seem to work in two-year sprints. They released their first EP in 2012. Two years later, we heard “Værk”, after which some lucky listeners enjoyed one of two dozen concerts the group have played since then, including an intense tour with Ulige Numre last November.
In the meantime, the musicians have been apparently adding colours to their sound palette. In “Elektrisk Hånd” (“Eletric Hand”) itself, they took us from an ambient intro through electronic arpeggio to a soft interlude with Lin Rosenbeck’s beautiful vocal brought to the front – and then go almost orchestral in the final culmination. All of this in just five minutes.
Info: Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, www.
It’s been two years since their second album “Commotion”. Since then, they’ve been playing around Iceland and abroad and also started working on new material and released one of their most delightful songs yet, “Í Spariskóm”.
Delicate and somehow fragile at first, over time it unfolds this kind of magnetism that makes you sit down and listen to it again and again – we’ve been keeping it on repeat ever since the release. Maybe because of the spring-like atmosphere of optimism and waiting for something beautiful to happen.
Info: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, YouTube, www.
Honungsvägen (Honey way) is a street in Umeå witch is located on the same latitude as places like Iceland, Greenland and Alaska. So maybe it’s not a coincidence that the first single is called “Istid” (Ice Age) even though the lyrics cover far more interesting things than just geological changes.
The person behind the lyrics is Annika Norlin, which some of you recognize as Hello Saferide and her way to connect personal affairs with reflections about the society is always remarkable.
The vocals belong to Christina Karlsson and Jonas Bergsten and the latter one actually released one of the best albums in 2015. Jonas’ sister Kajsa is also a part of this super group.
Info: Facebook, Soundcloud, Spotify.
Norwegian band Tusen Takk has less than a thousand plays per song on Spotify, but should certainly have more. Through emotional and honest lyrics combined with chill guitars, sparkling piano chords and innovative synth productions, they have made a sound design which is hard to ignore.
Unn Lange Buer’s vocals are soft yet enjoyably intrusive and adds an alluring top line to the sound landscape put together by catchy guitar riffs, steady bass lines and a restrained, but very becomingly brass progressions.
“Both you and I know that only time can help me,” Buer sings reluctantly before continuing desperately on the refrain: “Counting thoughts and days and nights since you said no”.
Info: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.
With just three songs out yet, Reykjavík-based duo Andy Svarthol seem like one of the more ephemeral – and intriguing – upcoming projects in the ever vivid Icelandic scene.
The band has been founded by brother Egill and Bjarki Viðarsson, and their family bond might explain both the warmth and depth of their sound – a bit dusted – although each of the singles they’ve released to date is different (barring the language).
The first one, released in summer last year, “Írena Sírena” was lively, catchy and quite naive. A few weeks later came “Ofbirta“, multi-layered and gradually growing with every bar.
Info: Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter, Spotify.
1987’s new single Michelle” proved that Victor Holmberg is one of the brightest upcoming stars on the modern Swedish rnb-canopy.
In this song, he takes us on a journey from the barren landscape to a scent of the oriental, with Michelle incessantly in focus.
Info: Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud.
Kuparilinna is a new Finnish band not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves.
In the single “Aurinko” (“Sun”) the band sings an uplifting anthem for sunny days and friendship, but the video depicts two of them fooling around at the seashore on a typical spring day in Helsinki, tightly wrapped in winter jackets, seemingly struggling to stay cheery.
Maybe the irony implies they’re not too nostalgic for the USSR, where the communist party forced the sun-drenched worker utopia of “Soviet realism” throughout the arts – or just nods to the old joke that the summer in Finland is indeed short, but on the other hand also rainy.
Steso is a collective from Tórshavn, the capital and the largest city of the Faroe Islands.
Led by the main man and principle songwriter and producer Hergeir Staksberg, they return with the excellent – and one of the best Steso songs so far – single “Kav”, which is a soothingly catchy drop of alternative pop.