Song of the Day: Sverre Kjelsberg & Mattis Hætta Sámiid Ædnan

Song of the daySong of the day – We all have Eurovision songs that we love and listen to regularly. But then there are songs we might only remember because someone posts a link on Facebook or a Forum. We will shuffle through Eurovision history and present a random song every now and then during summer to bring back memories and give you the chance to discuss songs and years during the “Eurovision drought”. Our song of this day is Norway’s ‘Saamid ædnan‘ by Sverre Kjlsberg & Mattis Hætta (1980).

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9Jeb2XCGq0]

The title of the song is  in one of the North-Norwegian Sami dialects, translating as ‘Sami Earth‘ or ‘Sami Soil‘.The message and uniqueness of ‘Saamid ædnan‘ was not appreciated by many, and it came 16th out of 19 competing countries with only 15 points. The 1980 contest was held in The Netherlands after Israel again could not afford to host it as winners for the second year running. Johnny Logan (Ireland) took home the trophy in 1980.

Thank you for the nomination, with its nominee saying “This was one of the first protest songs in Eurovision and one which changes mood and tempo several times. Plus, it is one of the first ethno entries, containing the special “joik” singing from the Sami people.”


24 comments on “Song of the Day: Sverre Kjelsberg & Mattis Hætta Sámiid Ædnan

  1. This is an odd one. I had only previously seen the clip where the second chap comes on looking a bit away with the fairies in his peculiar outfit and it always looked like one of Eurovision’s ‘daft’ moments. It’s interesting to hear the song in its entirety and to know more about its origins, context and meaning. As its nominator says, it has several changes of mood and tempo and there are other cultural elements that give it value. Unfortunately, it’s all very disjointed, the ending is a gaffa-taped orchestral stab and just it isn’t a very good song!

    Is it true that this song is referenced in the 2011 version of The Thing?

  2. Didn’t have Portugal have protest songs before this.
    Another trivia, you can hear the Norwegian crew sing this song in the 2011 version of The Thing http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0905372/

    • Ha! So it is.

      • I remember watching that movie and the surprise when hearing that song. I wonder if it is a cult classic in Norway.

        • Perhaps the ‘yoik’ part is a traditional melody, or would that have been against the rules?

          Wikipedia seems to think it’s a folk song: “…Norwegian and Danish actors were cast in the film to play the Norwegian characters and the director allowed the actors to improvise elements different from what was scripted when they felt it was appropriate, such as a scene where the characters sing a Norwegian folk song called Sámiid Ædnan (“Lapland”). Many scenes involving characters speaking Norwegian were subtitled and the language barrier between them and the English speaking characters is exploited to add to the film’s feeling of paranoia.”

          I imagine if I was feeling a bit paranoid on an Antarctic expedition, a sudden outburst of 80s Eurovision might not help.

  3. Overall this was a very poor year imo. I guess Ireland was a deserved winner, considering that “What’s another year” aged quite well. Germany was a bit too much Siegel for my taste, I prefer Katja’s previous two efforts. The UK was abysmal. Switzerland and Austria used the same trick: using famous names instead of meaningful lyrics. The Dutch song is quite a classic still in the Netherlands. But I can’t get over the lame and lazy line “In Amsterdam Amsterdam is van alles aan de gang”. (In Amsterdam all sorts of thing are going on.).

    • here in Spain , like in rest of Europe those kind of Dutch 1980s songs became somehow famous here especially with Dolly Dots etc , “Amsterdam” is still well known here , best known in Spain (and no 1 hit here I think) is obviously with big boobs and muscly gymnasts! Upside down !

  4. Yes, Luv is probably an even better example from those glorious days.

    • I remember LUV in Amsterdam in the 2000s at a concert with my husband, and they were singing those great songs

    • here in Spain, such Dutch songs were/are really popular, those kind of Dutch 70s/80s songs:Luv and Dolly dot type stuff. in the end famous Dutch song in Spain would be on Spanish TV

  5. Norway certainly brought a different sound to the table in 1980. :) I really like the idea behind “Samiid ædnan” but unfortunately, I have to agree with zacabi here: it sounds rather disjointed. I still remember that many people went ROFL at my parents’ party when Mattis came onto stage in his costume doing the joik part. It was so unexpected in ESC in those days that people forgot about political correctness for a few seconds. Well, most people know that I really dislike most of the ESC songs from the 80s, and thus NOR80 still gets a decent placing: 5/12 and 10th place on my 1980 list.

  6. First time we heard Sami jojk in Eurovision. While truly exotic back then, I think the song is rather lukewarm in the end, and I’m not that crazy about it. This was on the other hand in the Norwegian dark ages and therefore this was probably the best they could turn up with then.

  7. As for 1980, it’s a rather overlooked year with some interesting entries. The Netherlands is my favourite, followed by Turkey, Ireland, Morocco, Denmark and Sweden. Germany and Italy are rather good too, while I truly dislike Greece, UK and France.

    • And Luxembourg not to forget (thoush the lyrics are rather cute *blush*)!

      • Luxembourg is one of only two songs with a 0/12 score on my list that were performed before 2000 (the other one being Sweden 1986 …).
        Morocco is my 1980 winner (9/12) followed by Turkey with the same score. Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands are ok I think, but those are songs I never listen to unless I do another review.

        • I really don’t like Luxembourg 1980, but I can think of a lot of songs from the old days that I personally find worse (Austria 1976, Belgium 1977, Belgium 1981, Turkey 1983, Denmark 1985…). And Sweden 1986 isn’t even the worst Swedish entry of the 80’s. In fact, I like it (7/12); it’s downright entertaining and shows the true meaning of “follia d’amore” imo.

  8. I like this one a lot, and it should have credits for being very out-of-the-box in the context of Eurovision. It is clearly the most interesting composition that year (but not necessarily the best song). Perhaps the joik thing is going on a bit too long, but it works because the beginning of the song is very different. The melody and the chord changes in the beginning are brilliant; it is daring to end the verse with such notes (“Ifra nord, Samiid ædnan”).

    Overall the song can be heard as a collage as were it a mix between three different songs. That is its strength in my opinion, not its weakness. Like a three minutes symphony.

    As such it resembles another great song, The Beatles’ “Happiness is a Warm Gun” from 1968, which is a merging of at least three different song and which consequently changes mood and tempo several times as well (great lyrics as well): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-whxgSUWvSA

  9. 1980 as a whole is actually one of my favourite years, and it is the best contest of the 80’s by miles. There isn’t really a true masterpiece, but there are several brilliant songs (and some bad ones as well), and there is a wide spread genre-wise.

    10/12: Turkey, Ireland, Belgium
    9/12: Sweden, Norway, Germany
    8/12: Morocco, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Spain
    6/12: Austria, Greece
    5/12: Luxemborg, Finland
    4/12: Italy, Switzerland, Portugal
    3/12: United Kingdom
    Average: 7,05

    • I’m totally with you with all, except a few: I still hate Belgium, Norway and Germany (but all other songsi n your top group of songs are all my own top songs as well)… we have the same last, Uk, an horrid song that has no place in the top 3 (but then the Uk back then…) and I would have Luxembourg one before last, it’s a crude disgusting piece. All in all, a year without masterpieces but filled with the very nice songs of Turkey, Ireland, Morocco, Netherlands or Spain to name my top 5… but announcing all the horrors of the 80s to come imo…

  10. Btw, it’s interesting to notice that the Top 2 song of NMGP 1980 were political. Winner “Sámiid ædnan” protested against building a power plant in the Alta river, and the runner-up, Åge Aleksandersen’s “Bjørnen sover” protested against the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union.

    • An echo of the 70’s wave of political songs in Scandinavia, I guess. There were some political songs in DMGP 1979 too: “Maja og bruttonationalproduktet”, “Møllesangen”, “Motorvej’n”.

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