Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Emil Kárlsen (Norway) – Viehkkin-Erjan (single + video)

British readers might remember The Fast Show, the 1990s well, fast TV sketch show, that flitted rapidly from one to another as the title suggests.

One of the 30+ sketches revolved around a bloke called ‘Brilliant’, played by Paul Whitehouse, an enthusiastic Manchester teenager who thinks everything is ‘Brilliant!’ He marches around many diverse locations bigging things up with boundless energy.

Just like Emil Kárlsen in fact.

(Spot the difference – Paul Kárlsen or Emil Whitehouse?)

Emil Ráste Karlsen is a young indigenous multi-instrumentalist and artist from the Northern Sámi community, the area which straddles the uppermost reaches of Norway, Sweden and Finland.

We’ve featured artists from this area previously and they always have something to say and do it in a way that is well off the ‘beaten track’, just like their remote region; one that governments have tried to erase, possibly because it isn’t part of the European ‘project’ or some similar mumbo-jumbo.

Emil has a desire to build bridges — between people, cultures and times and does it by way of his luohti (yoik pieces) that he makes for a family member, friend or place, in order to reconnect his people to each other and to their history.

‘Viehkkin-Erjan’ is a modern luohti that seeks to depict Emil’s “dear friend and partner in crime” Ørjan Marakatt” The title translates into ‘Runner-Ørjan’, his sámi nickname referring both to his hobby of running and his energetic personality. I suppose he’s a bit like Paul Whitehouse chasing Speedy Gonzales. Brilliant!

I’ll level with you, had I not read that I wouldn’t have a clue what the song is about but then it doesn’t matter, it builds up an unstoppable, addictive acoustic energy of its own and it isn’t often you’ll see someone wielding a mandolin around like that (I’m assuming that’s what it is and no some local instrument). At one stage I thought he was going to start shredding.

This should be the Sámi land entry in next year’s Eurovision when they make space for a new country. He’ll have Berne or Lugano or wherever up on its collective feet in no time – no problem.

Just one thing about the video. It equally sold the landscape to me but who would want to build a block of apartments there in the middle of nowhere? Answers on a postcard.

Find him on:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.