They came, they saw, and they conquered. After a tightly contested national final, folk-rock group Gåte will represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest with “Ulveham”.

Among their country’s biggest acts, Gåte won this year’s Melodi Grand Prix. Ahead of the contest the band were forced to rewrite their lyrics to avoid plagiarism allegations. Ultimately the band narrowly beat Eurovision alumni KEiiNO, taking the televote to overcome a slight jury deficit. 

But who are the folkloric fivesome from Norway? We’ve compiled 10 Facts about Gåte to get to know them better. Let’s do this!

10 Facts about Gåte from Norway

1. The band currently has five members

While audiences are familiar with the lead singer and founder Gunnhild, the band also consists of Magnus on guitar, John Even on drums, Mats on the bass, and John on the traditional Norwegian instruments which include nyckelharpa, moraharpa, and hurdy-gurdy.

2. The band were formed in 1999 when Gunnhild was just 13

Gåte were formed by the brother-sister duo of Sveinung and Gunnhild. Growing up with parents who were deeply interested in Norwegian folk music and taught them fiddle playing, they infused their music with the sounds of home.

3. Gunnhild is singing in a Norwegian tradition called “Kvede”

As a child, Gunnhild started to learn to kvede, a traditional Norwegian way of singing. It comes from an ancient technique inspired by goat herding.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Gåte (@gaate_official)

4. While her brother Sveinung started with synthesizers and musical programming

During his teens, Gunnhild’s brother Sveinung became interested in modern music and started to play with synthesizers and musical programming. When Swedish folk rock band Garmarna asked Sveinung to warm up for them, he brought his sister to the warm-up, where they both combined traditional folk songs, musical programming, and synth. That was the start to their musical sound.

5. The band are folklorists, foremost

The band considers themselves contemporary transmitters of folklore first and foremost. Their goal is to carry songs of tales, ballads, myths, and fairy tales. It’s less about adopting the tradition, but rather communicating the tradition through new music and sounds.

6. The band disbanded in 2004 for 12 years

In 2004 Gåte decided that enough was enough, and the band members went off to explore more opportunities in their individual careers and to embark on journeys of self-discovery. Gunnhild was 20 at the time, and had grown up within the band. Returning as a band in 2017, they haven’t looked back. But Sveinung left the band for good in August 2023.

7. Gunnhild is an actress, and has released her own music

In 2006, Gunmhild started her acting career with her debut in cabaret, opera, and plays – really diversifying her craft and touring nationally in these productions. In 2013, she returned to music on her own accord, releasing her debut solo album Tankerop, which was definitely more pop-inspired, including a mix of experimental sounds and gentle balladry.

8. The band explores long-form songs, with Ulveham’s original song actually timed at almost 6 minutes

San Remo, eat your heart out. The original version of “Ulveham” is actually timed at 5 minutes and 47 seconds, with a longer instrumental to open and close the song, and fare screamier vocals. It is likely one of the longest Eurovision songs to be cut down to 3 minutes since Greece’s 2013 song “Alcohol Is Free”, which was 6 minutes and 17 seconds. Take a listen below:

9. Ulveham is exceptionally deep and folkloric, with the team inspired by a thousand year old tale

Forget basic forgettable lyrics that often pervade Eurovision. Ulveham, like much of Gåte’s music, is medieval ballad based on a 1000 year old story. It involves a young maiden who gets turned into a wolf by her evil stepmother. The wolf kills and drinks the blood of her stepmother and unborn half-brother, which breaks the spell for the maiden to return to human form. The chorus is entirely non-verbal, capturing the ancient Norwegian calls.

10. Some of the band have very normal jobs outside Gåte

While guitarists Magnus and Mats stay to their music roots and also play in the prog-rock band 22, Mats was a finalist in the Norwegian version of MasterChef in 2010. Drummer John Even, however, deviates from music, and is an educational manager in kindergarten, and has written a bachelor’s thesis in kindergarten education. No doubt his kids are well entertained by ability to tell folkloric fairytales and mythical stories!

Did you learn anything about Gåte? Will you be rooting for Norway at this year’s Eurovision in Malmö? Let us know in the comments below!

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Lorena
Lorena
17 days ago

I am sorry, but I think this is this year’s Eaea: lots of quality, lots of national flavour, but only screams to the non-used listener.

Anonymous91
Anonymous91
17 days ago

easily Norway’s recent best entry to date! finally not a generic song from them, Sweden can learn a thing or two from them

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
17 days ago

By the way, bravo to Sebastian Diaz for what must be one of my favourite ever post tag-lines: “Gåtekeepers of folkloric rock.” 🙂

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
17 days ago

Thank you for this article. There was a lot that I didn’t know before about this song and this band. That longer version of the song makes more sense to me than the shorter one.
(However, now that I know what the song is about, I really wish I didn’t know.) 🙂

Paul Sorenson
Paul Sorenson
17 days ago
Reply to  Purple Mask

Absolutely.

It involves a young maiden who gets turned into a wolf by her evil stepmother. The wolf kills and drinks the blood of her stepmother and unborn half-brother, which breaks the spell for the maiden to return to human form.

Ari
Ari
17 days ago

I’d love this one to be the surprise winner. It would be the most epic result ever.

Stian F
Stian F
17 days ago

People are sleeping on this entry. There is no way that all the bops that the core fans are loving this year will do exceptionally well all of them. Some will flop big time! Too many experimental songs this year, but this one has an absolute amazing staging and vocal presentation so it will qualify and do well with both juries and televoters for sure!

Im so fab
Im so fab
17 days ago
Reply to  Stian F

Switzerland, Greece, Ireland are some experimental entries that are much better than Norway.

Norway is just following the popular quote “If I speak loudly, they’ll think I’m right”

Alexandre
Alexandre
17 days ago
Reply to  Im so fab

there is no way that Ireland finish ahead of Norway, and even Greece i don’t believe it. I think Greece will flop hard.

Dickie
Dickie
18 days ago

Love this song so much, vying for my top spot with Switzerland and Italy

Im so fab
Im so fab
18 days ago

Europe, please let this flop

Another Proud Eurosimp
Another Proud Eurosimp
18 days ago

Gåte is awesome. I love them and their song is one of my favorites this year. The only thing is that they might not be to the taste of the Eurovision fans, as they would have done much better in a rock/folk metal contest instead of a usually pop-dominated one.

United by Music
United by Music
18 days ago

Nemo surpassed Kaarija on the bookies!

Johnny
Johnny
18 days ago

Don’t worry, Kaarija will be first again 🙂

LawnaDellPlay
LawnaDellPlay
18 days ago

They sing in Nynorsk, the authentic language

TIM MATHIESEN
TIM MATHIESEN
17 days ago
Reply to  LawnaDellPlay

, but ancient dialect of Norwegian.

TIM MATHIESEN
TIM MATHIESEN
17 days ago
Reply to  LawnaDellPlay

No, not Nynorsk, but ancient dialect of Norwegian.