ESC Wish List: Nanook

Going from Thomas Holm, my next suggestion for Eurovision, while technically still citizens of Denmark, couldn’t be much further from Holm’s synth-pop sensibilities.  Quite literally, in fact: there’s a distance of over 2,200 miles between Copenhagen and Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland.  That’s about the distance between Los Angeles and Orlando, or Lisbon to St. Petersburg!  Greenland is an autonomous nation that is still partially governed under the Danish crown.  They have their own Parliament, but spend the Danish Krone and are protected by the Danish military.  It is the world’s largest island, and as a standalone nation, Greenland is the 13th-largest country (by area) on the planet, larger than Saudi Arabia, Mexico, or Indonesia.  Despite their massive size, only about 56,000 people call Greenland home, making it by far the least densely populated country.

So, why am I telling you all of this information on Greenland?  Well, that’s because it’s where today’s ESC Wish List artist hails from.  I don’t quite remember how I came across Nanook, but I’m incredibly glad I did.  They sing exclusively in Greenlandic (Kalaallisut), which is related to other Inuit languages like Inuktitut, Aleut, or Yup’ik.  Being generally interested by foreign language, the moment I heard brothers Frederik and Christian Elsner singing in a tongue that I had never heard before, I was fascinated.  Nanook (Greenlandic for “polar bear”) released their first album, “Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit (Our Sun is Shining on You)” last year, and I’ve been pretty much hooked ever since.  Luckily, it’s available on iTunes here in the US.  Here’s the title track from their first album, with a translation available here:

The intimate, garage-band quality of the video, coupled with the rolling gait of the music…to me, this is absolutely beautiful.  Sadly, it doesn’t look like they have many other videos out (it’s hard enough being an independent artist out here in the Twin Cities area, with a population of 3 million in the metro.  Can you imagine being a musician in a market of only a little over 50,000?), but if you appreciate beautifully-written alt-rock, with echoes of Britpop, you might want to give these guys a listen.  I was able to find a brief sampler of some of their other songs, including “Kisimiinneq”, “Timmissat Taartut”, and “Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit”, among others.

Their chances of getting to the Danish Melodi Grand Prix are slim, sadly, even if they did decide to take the long trip to Copenhagen.  But these guys are working their butts off, making beautiful music in one of the most starkly beautiful and desolate places on the planet.  I feel like more people should hear Nanook, and have their sun shine on us, even if it’s completely dark there from November through February.

Posted on September 5, '10, in Denmark, Greenland, Wish List. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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