For Ulrik Snibsøer, the magic word was “ukelele.”
Snibsøer, 15, who picked up a saxophone at age five and a wide assortment of other instruments since, realized he was the winner of this year’s 10,000-kroner youth cultural grant when the recitation of a lengthy list of the person’s musical credentials reached an instrument he picked up recently that some teens might shun as lacking a certain cool factor.
“Piano, saxophone – that’s something a lot of people play, and guitar,” he said afterward. “But ukelele…”
Snibsøer said he doesn’t have a favorite instrument, since “every one is fun to play” But Longyearbyen Mayor Christin Kristoffersen offered an authoratative declaration at what he is most proficient at while reading the introduction before announcing the winner.
“This person is genuinely interested in music, and is indisputably musical master at singing, guitar, bass, saxophone and ukulele,” she said. “The recipient likes to learn new instruments and also teaches other classmates. Their main instrument is piano, and here both for the music notes and ear.”
Snibsøer, who also composes music, has participated in three local UKM competitions, advancing to the regional stage in two of them. He was also one of 15 youths from Nordic countries selected in 2014 for a multinational workshop and series of performances.
He said he doesn’t know how he’ll spend the money, but he’s already considering another unconventional choice for his next instrument.
“I’ve kind of been thinking about the bagpipes,” he said. “I think they’re cool.”