Fidelity Wars #48: Chateau Neuf Spelemannslag – “Hopparen”

On the 17th of May this year, episode 21 of season 20 of The Simpsons aired, coinciding with Norway’s constitution day. The episode, entitled Coming To Homerica, is about how the Norwegian-descended residents of Ogdenville face financial difficulties and flock to Springfield for job opportunities, with mixed results. The episode ends with everyone dancing to a Norwegian folk tune and fading to the Norwegian flag which the credits roll over.

I have mixed feeling about this episode. While I found it very neat that our country was recognized and honoured in this way, in a way getting our very own episode of The Simpsons, I do wish that the episode had been more explicitly about Norway or Norwegians and included some real references to Norway and Norwegian culture – like our independence from Sweden-Denmark, how and why we celebrate our constitution day, mentioned or featured any of our “celebrities” or cultural icons (why not a guest appearance from a-ha?), or featured our traditional garment the bunad. Instead the episode was about the hot American potato that is illegal immigration, but with Norwegian descendants from the neighbouring town instead of Mexicans. Still, it’s neat for our country to get some recognition from the world’s most popular cartoon series. How many other countries have had their flags displayed throughout the closing credits of The Simpsons while they played some traditional music from said country? I’m guessing not many.

Now what does this have to do with this week’s Fidelity Wars? This week’s pick is the track that was played during the closing credits of this particular episode, Chatea Neuf Spelemannslag‘s “Hopparen” from their 1997 album Tjuvgods. Many thanks to Kristian for finding out what track was playing!

Chateau Neuf Spelemannslag - Tjuvgods

Chateau Neuf Spelemannslag – “Hopparen”

I’m not big into Norwegian folk music, in part because it’s always seemed rather somber and sober to me, most fit for gloomy Autumn evenings; that’s good in small doses. But this is pretty festive stuff! The only problem are those infernal drums you can hear throughout the tune, which almost – but fortunately not quite – ruins it. I’m guessing drums aren’t normally used in traditional Norwegian folk music, and for good reason, as they stick out too much in the soundscape, constantly forcing your attention away from the more pleasing sounds that are to be had in it. Arguably the problem might not be that there are drums present in the tune though, but the kind of drums or the way they are used; I actually think it could’ve worked better if the drums had been louder, more rockin’, and in the foreground, rather than trying to hide them away in the background. If you have an elephant you don’t put a table cloth over it and try to put it in the corner so it won’t be as noticeable as that only makes it stick out even more; no, you let that elephant frolic freely alongside Norwegian folk musicians! But why exactly did you want to get an elephant in the first place?

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