Photo Diary from a re-opening tour

By Tom Hugo, Fædrelandsvennen, June 18th 2021
Translated by Karina Brandt June 19th 2021

For us who are used to 200 travel days a year, the last 15 months have been like waiting to be called from customer service when it’s your turn in the phone queue.

KEiiNO on stage in Drammens Teater. From left: Fred Buljo, Alexandra Rotan and Tom Hugo Hermansen. On Friday 18 June, the group will play at the Theater in Kristiansand. Photo: Peder Carlsen.

It’s almost unreal to travel on tour again. For 17 days we will get off the tour bus in a municipality other than the one we woke up in. We will set up for a music party and meet new expectant eyes when we go out on stage every night.

Bergen from the hall. Even though there are only 200 spectators now, sound and light production is adapted to the full hall. Photo: Peder Carlsen.

For some in the hall, it will be the first concert of their life. For others something they have been looking forward to for over 15 months. For most people, concerts are a sign of normality. But until the pandemic is under control, we offer “sit dance” and alljoik for a limited number of young and old. Especially the former. Because we at KEiiNO stand behind the mantra “children and young people first” during the reopening, and therefore we travel on a family concert tour.

From our performance in Sogndal. Some are at a concert for the first time.
Photo: Peder Carlsen.

Many know us from the Melodi Grand Prix in 2019 and 2021. But not everyone knows that we have released 19 songs during the two and a half years we have been a band. Or that we have 70 million streams and 780,000 monthly listeners worldwide. But most people know that we are a Sámi, a lady and a gay man who makes energetic pop music with joik.

Alexandra participates in the rigging. No diva whims in this band! Photo: Peder Carlsen.

Tour life is special, and for us who are used to 200 travel days a year, the last 15 months have been like waiting to be called from customer service when it’s your turn in the phone queue. You are not completely locked into other tasks, but you can not leave the phone or sit in other conversations.

The KEiiNO bus. Own band bus is both nice and corona friendly.
Photo: Marius Flatnes.

We are some of the lucky ones who have received support from the Cultural Council’s stimulation scheme, which means that we can carry out a Norway tour even though we can only have a maximum of 100 or 200 in halls that usually rooms many more people. And the response shows that the public around the country greatly appreciates being able to go to a concert and take a picture even if the one-meter must be observed.

Selfies work, even with the one-meter.
Photo: Alf Vaksdal.

To reduce the risk of infection in our 10-person crew, we travel by bus from a Kristiansand company. We also have quick tests with us for regular testing, so that the only thing we are infected with is joy, something the winners of this year’s MGP junior sing so well about.

Together with fans. Everyone can take a picture with us at a good distance. Photo: Peder Carlsen.

We in KEiiNO run our own record company. The advantage of steering the ship yourself is that you decide the course yourself and that you are left with more money to invest in your career. The disadvantage is that you do not have financial muscles in the back during the build-up and that both artists and musicians have to do many work tasks far away from the job description.

Coffee stop at the foot of the Jostedals glacier. Photo: Ald Vaksdal.

Due to the broad support of the people, we got to represent Norway in Eurovision in 2019. The votes from Europe meant that we could establish ourselves as something more than a one-hit wonder. And even though many of the plans for 2020 were put on hold, fortunately, our followers have not forgotten us. Now we look forward to the future and look forward to continuing to spread joik and pop joy across the pretty country.

Stage Event AS has built a light rig that is transported from place to place Photo: Alf Vaksdal.
Tired but grateful artists and musicians. Photo: Alf Vaksdal.
Everyone must take part in the up and down rig. Photo: Alf Vaksdal.