Most small town parents probably wouldn’t be thrilled spending a Friday night being confronted with their son hijacking the pulpit of the local church followed by an escort to the back of a police car, much less seeing it broadcast far and wide. Then again, they could have been the ones watching their kids take a high fall without a net or trying to show it’s actually possible to give a 150 percent effort.
They weren’t scenes of teen angst, but rather Longyearbyen’s version of Friday Night Lights as about 60 students participated in the local stage of the annual UKM talent competition in front of a packed crowd of peers and parents at Kulturhuset. The mixture of music, videos, interviews and oddball art, interviews and eccentric emcees might have been any local youth talent show anywhere – except for the inevitable presence of polar bears, glaciers and other Svalbardesque hallmarks.
Six of the 16 performances and art exhibits were selected by judges to advance to the regional UKM stage in Tromsø in April. The top attendees there will participate in the national competition in Trondheim in June.
Among the locals advancing this year is Sirkus Svalnardo, the acrobatic youth troupe that regularly makes it the regional stage and advanced to the national event last year. The members of this year’s troupe are Liv-Anna Ringheim, 17, Niva Stiberg-Hansen, 16, Pia Bronken Eidesen, 15, Sigri Klausen Markussen, 16, Sofie Marlen Solberg, 16, and Vilde Olsbakk Rønning, 16.
“The panel feels the performance was well composed and that it was a sunny, in-sync performance…good song selection…engages and contributes new ideas…they are clever, kind and represent the youth of Svalbard in a good way,” the judges’ summary states.
Perhaps not such a “good” role model, but still advancing were the five teens who created the rap music video “Chilli in my Eyes” which (big surprise) has something to do with the adverse relationship between eyeballs and Scoville Heat Units. So despite the icy surroundings the main man with the mic is definitely not feeling chill in the flat with his mate, in the pulpit, the police seat or where impressionable tykes gather at the local kindergarden. Producing the video were Jonatan Johansen (editor), 16, Jørgen Andreas Sæter, 15 (actor/rapper), Kristian Seljevold (actor/rapper), 15, Martin Higraff, 16, manager, and Tobias Fjerdingoy (producer/actor), 15.
“Original and creative,” the judges wrote. “Played on local humor and it struck. Well made, well performed and fun with Spanish!”
Other stage performances advancing were:
• The five-member rock group Hundred and Fifty Percent performing their original song “What You Know” (“lots of contact with the audience…good mood…good variety within the song…lots of life…can work to become a little more precise,” according to the judges). The band’s members, all age 16, are Johansen, Stiberg-Hansen, Peder Jenssen, Ronja Hermansen and Tobias Klungseth Rotevatn.
• Stiberg-Hansen (piano) and Sigri Klaussen (vocals), 16, for a music/slideshow presentation of “Vi Lovar” (“the featured scenery was simply amazing…beautifully conveyed, incredibly original with pictures in the background, good timing and lovely accompaniment,” the judges wrote).
Those with photography/art works advancing were:
• Jørun Bjørndal, 13, with a cultural heritage collage (“this artwork is a picture that becomes more exciting the more you see it. Provides room for personal interpretation. As we interpret it, it testifies to the maturity of a young artist. Simple and clean composition. The composition of a naivist cable car and the indirect message in the newspaper articles was exciting”).
• Vilde Storø, 19, and Agnes Zadewasser, 13, with their collage “Cutouts in Paradise” (“Great variations of art techniques. Good color combinations. Provides room for interpretation. Positive that you see there are different age groups that have made the picture”).