Elin singing about the mythical Nordic creature Elin singing about the mythical Nordic creature "Huldra".

Cultural days in Tbilisi with Elin Kåven and «Northern Disco Lights»

For the cold winter days in Tbilisi, the Embassy saw it fit to showcase some of the most interesting cultural phenomena from the northern part of Norway on the weekend of 25 and 26 November.

As a representative of the Sami indigenous people living in the northern part of Norway, Elin Kåven, accompanied by Viktor Bomstad on guitar and vocals, seemed as the perfect cultural portal into the life and music of a contemporary Sami woman living in the urban capitol of Oslo. Although she sings in Sami, her musical expression shifts from classical pop songs about falling in love to traditional joik – a Sami singing style meant to reflect or evoke a beloved person, animal or place. For a multiethnic and developed country like Georgia where several different ethnic minorities reside, Elin Kåven’s work gives an exclusive insight into the balance she and thousands of others Sami people maintain, living as “normal” Norwegians, while still preserving and developing the cultural heritage of the Sami people.

With an interest in old traditions and ancient places Elin and Viktor, together with the Embassy, went on a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the former capitol of Georgia, Mtskheta and the Jvari Monastery. Legend has it that Saint Nino (early 4th century) converted the Kingdom of Iberia into Christianity on the top of the hill where the monastery overlooks the town of Mtskheta and where the two rivers of Mtkvari and Aragvi converge. On the next day we went for a nice walk among the cobblestone-clad streets of the Old Town, followed by a sweaty climb to the Kartlis Deda momument.

Elin and Viktor rehearsing before the concert.
Elin and Viktor rehearsing before the concert.  

On Saturday 26, it was finally time for concert! The Embassy had been fortunate to book the extraordinary Royal District Theater in the middle of the Old Town: out-of-this world architecture with pure stone facades and cozy wood structures. The deep black theater stage served as the perfect space for Elin’s fairylike dances and the tall ceilings carried their voices throughout the room. Their performances were highly appreciated by the audience which gave them a standing ovation after the concert.


Friday night, on the other hand, was dedicated to the other end of the musical spectrum: electronic dance music! Just fresh from a world-premiere, the Embassy was lucky enough to be able to show the documentary “Northern Disco Lights” at one of the best clubs in Georgia: Mtkvarze. The film tells how the peculiar musical genre of space disco rose from the northern town of Tromsø and how it spread to Bergen and Oslo. Today Norwegian space disco has become one of our greatest trademarks abroad. Accompanied to the disco beats and the quirky synths were incredible panoramas of the Northern Norwegian landscape. We wish to thank Ben Davis and Peter Jenkinson for being so kind to let us screen the film in Tbilisi!


Inspired by the Norwegian heroes of space disco like Bjørn Torske, Lindstrøm, Mental Overdrive and others, the Georgian DJ collectives Rotkraft, Digital Groove Affair and Sumo took the crowd safely through the intergalactic night…

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