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KEiiNO sing and joik in Norway's first rehearsal

07 May 2019 at 15:03 CEST
Norway first rehearsal 2019 Thomas Hanses
KEiiNO is a Norwegian-Sámi collaboration between singers Fred Bujlo, Alexandra Rotan and Tom Hugo. Their song 'Spirit In The Sky', will showcase the Sámi language to Europe. The three are all dressed in black and the LED screens show images of the northern lights.

KEiiNO will take to the stage 15th in the second Semi-Final on Thursday 16 May at Expo Tel Aviv.

Who are KEiiNO?

Together with his husband Alex Olsson, KEiiNO member Tom Hugo began writing a song inspired by historical struggles to be accepted for who you are regardless of ethnicity, gender and orientation. The Sámi (Norway’s indigenous) population had to fight for acceptance of their culture in Norway for a long time and the theme made it natural to involve a Sámi songwriter in the project. Fred Buljo, known from rap duo Duolva Duottar, embraced the idea and Spirit in the Sky came to life. He will be joiking as well as singing in his native language Sámi. Tom Hugo wanted a strong woman in the band, and Alexandra Rotan, known for fans of both Eurovision and Alan Walker, was happy to join. To lift the song up to the Arctic starry sky, Finnish producer Henrik Tala was included in the team. With its Nordic cocktail of joik, folk tones and camp pop, KEiiNO is ready to take Europe by storm.

Fred only joiked in public for the first time at Melodi Grand Prix, Norway's national final that selects the nation's Eurovision Entry. He explained "In this joik, I want to communicate the feelings of Sámi people after generations of discrimination." Most of the Sámi part of Spirit in the Sky is joik, which is without lyrics. The one Sámi phrase "Čajet dan čuovgga" means "Show me the light" in North-Sámi.

READ MORE: KEiiNO's participant profile

What happens on stage?

KEiiNO take us through a northern journey from night until dawn, in a cool atmosphere, with starry skies, northern lights and fire. The 3 KEiiNO singers start the performance standing in a different part of the stage before moving to the centre as the song progresses.

The stage lighting goes from dark to light, as blacks and blues give way to reds, yellows and golds. There is a huge pyrotechnic display display with jets of fire rising as smoke swirls around on stage and the singers mirror each others' movements.

Did you know?

KEiiNO recently had their heritage analysed by our Presenting Partner MyHeritage, and whilst there was little surprise for Tom Hugo (who found out he is more than 97% Scandinavian) or joiking expert Fred Buljo (who is of Sami descent and 61% Finnish, 28% Scandinavian and 8.4% Eskimo/Inuit), Alexandra Rotan discovered that she is 20% Irish and quickly determined that she needs to have a chat with her grandparents about this.

READ MORE: KEiiNO's family history research by MyHeritage.

Do you think KEiiNO will take Norway to the Grand Final? Let us know in the comments!