A mix of traditional Sami music, Scandipop and electronic dance — that’s the recipe for “Spirit in the Sky”. The track is brought to you by an even more diverse group consisting of rapper and “joikeren” Fred Buljo, pop songstress Alexandra Rotan and singer-songwriter Tom Hugo (who you may remember from the most recent Wiwi Jam). 

Although Norway’s Eurovision selection Melodi Grand Prix 2019 is a few weeks away, fans seem to have already made up their minds. The Sami-Norwegian group KEiiNO have emerged as one of the favourites in the selection.

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Lets talk about lyrics. «Spirit in the Sky» is a story about brave men and women that have fought, and are fighting, for the right to be RESPECTED and LOVED for the person you are. It hasn’t always been easy to be the «different one» in a society/community/group. Maybe you look different, sound differently, or just feel different to the majority. But the thing is; we are all unique, even though some of us are easier to spot in a crowd. And no one has the right to claim one person is more worth than another person. But why are we talking about spirits and northern lights in our song? Well, according to pre-Christian Sami religion, the people had helping spirits. These could be in the shape of an animal, called Sáivu-loddi or Sáivu-sarvvát. So we wrote a story set in Sápmi many years ago, where a person is calling upon hers/his helping spirit for extra strength in a difficult situation. For the cover, we had the talented illustrator @yuliusgi draw spirit-animals to represent us. Now if you were a spirit-animal, what would you be? #nrkmgp #mgp #eurovision #spiritinthesky #spirits

A post shared by KEiiNO (@keiinomusic) on

And while it may seem like a typical Nordic Eurovision song at first, the group has revealed that the song actually has a deeper meaning than its lyrics might suggest. In fact, it relates to an ancient belief system practiced in Sápmi (the region of the Sami people in Northern Europe).

Here’s how they described it in the Instagram post above.

“In pre-Christian Sami religion, the people had helping spirits. These could be in the shape of an animal called ‘Sáivu-loddi’ or ‘Sáivu-sarvvát’.” The band’s artwork and logo refers to each of their spirit animals or protectors.

“Spirit in the Sky” is an account of a story about “brave men and women that have fought, and are fighting, for the right to be respected and loved for the person you are.”. Everyone, Sami or not, can relate to that. KEiiNO say that all people are unique, though some of us are easier to spot as “the different one”. In their mind no one has the right to claim that one is worth more than another.

KEiiNO – “Spirit in the Sky” lyrics

Can’t you stay, stay with me into the night?
Stay, I need you close
You can go back when the sun rise again
Just stay tonight, just stay

Have you seen my spirit, lost in the night?
The violent nightshade, they took away my light
They call us nothing, my name is nothing
Come see me, please see me

‘Cause I’ve been running with the demons now
They all see my fear
They say there’s nothing, nothing here

I see your spirit in the sky
When northern lights are dancing
He lå e loi la
I hear you calling me at night
Whenever wind is blowing
He lå e loi la
I can see your spirit in the sky
When northern lights are dancing
He lå e loi la
Čajet dan čuovgga

I’ll follow you until the daylight
Shy us away

I need a hero, I need my light
Her shining lightwaves will break away the night
I call it freedom, our name is freedom
Come find me, please find me

‘Cause I am dancing with the fairies now
They all sing our name
I got my light here, shining here

I hear you calling me at night
Whenever wind is blowing
He lå e loi la
I can see your spirit in the sky
When northern lights are dancing
He lå e loi la
Čajet dan čuovgga

I hear you calling me at night
Whenever wind is blowing
He lå e loi la
I can see your spirit in the sky
When northern lights are dancing
He lå e loi la
Čajet dan čuovgga

I see your spirit in the sky
When northern lights are dancing (Lights are dancing)
He lå e loi la
Čajet dan čuovgga

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Pictures: NRK, Yuliusgi

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BeenABean
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BeenABean

Love the song! It might not be a groundbreaking winner but it’s a BOP !!! And appropriation shouldn’t be an issue considering Fred Buljo being Sami!

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

It’s just a bit of fun, isn’t it? Well…
The reason this kind of song might be so polarising is, to put it bluntly: “cultural appropriation”. That might not have been the intention, but I’m beginning to get an uncomfortable vibe from the lyrics after having read this article. 🙁

Gunn
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Gunn

Where exactly does cultural appropration enter into the mix?

Actual Norwegian
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Actual Norwegian

Fred Buljo have grown up in the Sàpmi community and is a proud Sami. This is the song of his people and if you feel like it’s cultural appropriation, you got to look up the meaning of it.

Stian F
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Stian F

Love this song so much. Gave me the “Euphoria” – feeling on first listening 🙂 it’s super Eurovision and not that original except for the inclusion of sami and Joik in this type of song. It is soooo enjoyable 🙂 I see some people don’t like this song at all – but there are loads of people that don’t like “Toy” “Heroes” “Amar pelos dois” or any of the other recent winning songs and even didn’t think they had a chance of winning. .. Doesnt mean they are bad songs or that they didn’t deserve to win.

Loin dici
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Loin dici

Okay, I’m not sold. The Sami tradition of spirit-calling was an intriguing backstory but the group and the song still sounded too desperate for Eurovision.

dual lipper
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dual lipper

sizzling tune

olvresc
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olvresc

Am I the only one who doesn’t like this song at all?

eurovision6
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eurovision6

You are not alone, this is generic and predictable eurotrash. A song that only Eurovision fans can fall in love with

mgd
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mgd

Well songs in ESC is all generic, we have heard them before, it’s not like one of them are going on Billboard top 10 (that’s why some love ESC and other hate it). You realy think People that hate ESC will fall in love With other ESC songs?

Uurma
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Uurma

But what does the ‘He lå e loi la ?ajet dan ?uovgga’ part mean?

John Moynahan
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John Moynahan

This is a guaranteed top 10 in Tel Aviv if the Norwegian people select this entry
It’ll be and maybe already is, this year’s Fuego
The fans will be bopping to this and the “one time listeners” will grasp its instant appeal.
Never mind its “inner depth” and enjoy it for what it undoubtedly is, a 3 minute fun-fest!
Can’t wait to hear William and Deban’s reaction.
Total slayage!!

Sabrina
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Sabrina

Many times it sounds farfetched when people try to explain simple lyrics giving huge meanings to it, but that’s not the case here. Their explanation on Instagram really fits the lyrics. It also indicates huge possibilites for how to stage this song in a impressive way.

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

In theory, yes. But “cultural appropriation” might become an ugly factor here, especially if the song makes it all the way to Tel Aviv. I’m not usually one to sound a note of caution with the staging, but this could really go wrong.

Salem
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Salem

That is a risk of course, but you can hardly find a broadcasting company that is more aware of respectful and inclusive representations than the Norwegian NRK, so I’m not too worried actually.

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

Yeah, okay, I’m not buying all that deep stuff. I enjoy the song for what it is, but the lyrics are quite bland. The songwriters might want them to be profound but they’re not, so let’s not go overboard here. The “deeper” song definitely belongs to Mørland, so if you wanna go down that road, you won’t come out on top. It’s a relatively nice and catchy song to have fun with, that’s it.

Pandaman
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Pandaman

I think that the problem may possibly lie in the language and cultural barriers. I find the backstory really intriguing, I love the mystical note within the song and I truly believe that the authors had the said spirituality embedded into the song during the creative process, but some part of it might have got lost in the translation into English. It’s already difficult to use words to explain one’s deep feelings and thoughts, and it’s even more difficult to do it not in your mother tongue.

Loin dici
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Loin dici

But Tom Hugo is quite fluent in English, so this won’t be a problem, actually.

Briekimchi
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Briekimchi

Don’t doubt for a minute that there was some intended deeper meaning and while it is a good song, the actual English lyrics are rather trite. I find it quite similar to Emma’s “Circle of Light” in that way. Spiritual-type lyrics don’t work that well when used by a native English speaker, let alone those using it as a second language.

hi guys
Guest
hi guys

awful song

Lolek
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Lolek

Wow, fantastic backstory! I had no idea.

Teeks
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Teeks

Thank you for the lyrics, I can finally stop singing “try a patrol car” lol