Greenland, despite being the largest island in the world, is to some a mysterious landmass. Some might not be aware of what is going on in their colourful music scene. They are under the constituency of Denmark but have their own government. However, as the rules of the EBU state, they could not compete as an independent country, and that’s where their neighbouring countries come in. DMGP 2019 saw the first Greenlandic duo gracing the stage, when Nina Kreutzmann Jörgensen and Julie Berthelsen performed “League of Light” and even sang parts of the song in their native tongue. This was also the first time we heard the Inuit language in a national final and we want to hear it at Eurovision.
Those who are slightly familiar with Greenland, might have a stereotypical image in their head of a drunk Greenlander with a spear in one hand and the reigns of a dog sled in the other. But that is far from the truth, as Greenland is a very modern place, with a small population of roughly 60,000 people. Most of them live in Nuuk, the capital and largest city, although there are rural areas and many villages scattered across the island. They live in harsh conditions and occupy some of the northernmost settlements in the world. Greenlanders are a very friendly and welcoming people and have a booming music scene, from heavy metal to indie rock. Inspired by Julie & Nina, we thought we’d list five acts we would love to see from Greenland in the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. Simon Lynge
Simon Lynge is a 38 year old singer and songwriter. He was born in Denmark but raised in Qaqortoq, Greenland. His musical style has been compared to the likes of James Taylor, Paul Simon and even The Beatles, and his debut album Future from 2010 was dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine as “one of most memorable and melodic debut albums in recent years”. Simon is also the only Greenlander so far to perform at the Glastonbury Music Festival and release an album in the UK. He accompanied the American country singer Emmylou Harris on her 2011 tour around Europe and his music has been heard in American TV shows such as Brothers & Sisters and Lie to Me. He currently lives in the United States. If Simon should ever consider Eurovision, we might expect something like his single “Paper Thin”, which he released just over a year ago.
This rock band hails from Ilulissat, a large town on the west coast of Greenland. The band consists of singer Kunnuunguaq Iversen (Kuno Hammond), guitarist Ejner Gronvold, bassist Miki Olsen and drummer Martin Zinck. Kuno and Ejner have been friends since childhood and have been making music together the majority of their lives.
Although Thornstone haven’t always been active, the band has never formally been dissolved, but because of the members being scattered across Europe, you might say they are hibernating at the moment. However, that does not mean that they should be written off, oh no! We hope to see them reunite in the near future, preferably at Eurovision, and give us something like their 2012 single “Been a Fighter” from the eponymous album. Sure, it’s dark, gritty and melancholic but it’s also a haunting tune, carried by Kuno’s raw yet strong vocals.
3. Small Time Giants
Small Time Giants are a four man Greenlandic/Danish rock band and were originally formed in 2011 in Qaqortoq. They mostly play alternative rock, although some emo post rock influences can be heard, along with strong Greenlandic vibes. Despite their young age, the boys already have two albums on their resumé, and were chosen to compose and perform the theme song of the 2016 Arctic Games.
Miki Olsen, the band’s singer and main composer (not to be confused with Miki Olsen from Thornstone) says that growing up in Qaqortoq meant that there wasn’t much to do other than football or music. All the boys did play football in their youth. However, they quickly realised that they were actually spending more time on the bench than on the field, and according to their coach, it was because they were too short. So they decided to focus on music instead and as a playful tribute to their “death sentence in the world of football”, took the name Small Time Giants. If they decide to set their eyes on Eurovision, we might expect a solid rock number, such as their Arctic Games theme song “We Are the Arctic”. Cross your fingers!
Sure she already tried to represent Denmark in 2019 but she deserves her name on this list nonetheless. Nina Kreutzmann Jörgensen or simply NINA is a well known singer and songwriter, both in her native Greenland as well as in Denmark. Born in Nuuk in 1977, NINA has been delving into music since childhood. She began her career in the 90’s as the lead singer of the rock band Qulleq, but in later years has performed mainly solo. Although she is mostly working in Greenland and Denmark, she is no stranger to the Icelandic music scene, for she toured with none other than Björk in her world tour of 2011, as a member of the Greenlandic Choir which accompanied the singer.
Despite a flourishing career in music, NINA considers teaching to be her vocation. She works as a teacher in the Nuuk International School, where she teaches music among other things, and says that seeing children develop, gain confidence and begin to perform means the world to her. In 2016, NINA released her self-written solo album NINA – Hun står i nordenvind, which consisted of songs about 10 strong women from Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Denmark. “Maalia” is one of those amazing songs and we hope that NINA would bring something similar to the table, if Eurovision calls for her presence again.
Nanook’s music has been described as “both Greenlandic and international at once”. The main difference between Nanook and other musicians on the list is that Nanook write and perform their material mainly in Greenlandic. Formed in the mid 00’s by brothers Christian and Frederik Elsner, Nanook has steadily established themselves as Greenland’s most prominent indie rock band, with Frederik singing and Christian on guitar. The band has toured all over the world, including countries like the United States and Canada, as well as their neighbouring countries Denmark, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway and Finland, and have even reached as far as Japan, being the only Greenlandic band to ever make it to the vast and diverse music market in the east.
Their albums have been sold in truckloads both in Greenland and beyond and more recently, they were among the line up at the Roskilde Festival, along with names such as Bob Dylan, The Cure, Robyn and Vampire Weekend. Their unique Greenlandic sound and language melts perfectly with the modern indie rock genre and most of their music videos feature breathtaking visuals of spectacular Greenlandic nature. Raise your hand if you want to hear the language of the Inuits on the Eurovision stage again! If so, Nanook are your go-to guys and we might expect a bullet proof number such as their single “Aarnuaq (Talisman)”.
That concludes our list of 5 acts we’d like to see from Greenland at Eurovision. As you can see, there is plenty to dig into in their music scene. What are your thoughts about the matter? Which other Greenlandic artists would you like to see at Eurovision? Sound off in the comments below.