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And The Winner Is … New Year, New Me!

Our musical correspondent had a blast at this year's MiGP music contest.

Saturday evening, the metro stop at Islands Brygge was unusually packed with rambunctious and well-dressed students on their way to the musical event of the year at the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at South Campus.

Students and music-enthusiasts in attendance donned everything from flare glitter pants and iridescent tops to sparkly eyeshadow and faux fur jackets to see who would take home the trophy at the MiGP 2019 song contest.

The acts

This year’s MiGP featured eight bands, formed by students of Musicology at The University of Copenhagen, who competed to have their song picked as the audience favourite for the year.

The judges of the evening:

• Clara Amalie Singerholm Christiansen, Assistant lecturer, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies

• Henrik Raabo, Teaching associate professor, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies

• Søren Møller Sørensen Associate professor, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies

Here is a quick run-through of the bands, their songs and some notes on their performances:

Krænkelsesministeriet (trans. The Violation Ministry) – “Krænket” (trans. Violated): this band that took the opening slot of the night featured six front-women and gave us a »fantastisk« show, according to Judge Henrik Raabo. Judge Raabo then went on to say »fantastisk« three or four more times … and then promised he would stop saying »fantastisk« so much.

Birkebanden (trans. The Burch Gang)– “K for Ævle” (trans. K For Nonsense): Birkebanden had awesome energy from the start, with their talented lead man setting the pace. The cheers they held mid-song was a surprise and a thrill for the audience, who enthusiastically thrust their drinks into the air with the band!

Kultur-Tyranniet (trans. The Culture Tyranny)– “Kulturchok med Mette Bock” (trans. Cultureshock With Mette Bock): this ballad directed at the controversial Minister of Culture was a total change of pace. The performers all clad in glasses and black turtlenecks hardly broke a grin while they played at being broody academic artist types. And to great effect. Judge Clara Christiansen praised them, saying, »leave them wanting more, smart trick!«

Udvekslingens Ofre (trans. Victims of the Exchange)– “Efterladt” (trans. Abandoned) – 3rd place: »What’s up KUA!« shouted this band’s sultry lead singer, who’s big red curly locks couldn’t distract from her awesome voice and the … wait for it … KINDER MILK SLICES that were cast into the crowd mid-song! The glitter tear drops painted on the musician’s faces evoked the tenderness of this tune, which was really the only ‘feeler’ of the night.

Danski Laundry (trans. Danski Laundry)– ”Giv os dine penge” (trans. Give Us Your Money)– 2nd place: this band won my vote for the night! Taking on scandal plagued financial behemoth Danske Bank they needed the right sound, and they found it with heavy metal. The pounding drums set the perfect pulse to their sinister chorus, which chanted the bank’s slogan »Do what you are best at, that’s what we do.«

Walt Disneys Våde Drøm (trans. Walt Disney’s Wet Dream) – ”En Farlig Fortælling” (trans. A Dangerous Tale): Walt Disney’s Wet Dream. Need I say more? This band’s flamboyant costumes contrasted their naughty tune, and they took things up a notch when they modulated for their final chorus to the raucous approval of the crowd. But the highlight? A badass saxophone solo from a blondie on stage.

Hen, Hen & Hen (trans. They, They & They)– “Et Kød, Et køn” (trans. One Body, One Sex): the Swedish flags attached to the microphone stands quickly indicated this band’s solidarity with the Swedes who invented the non-gender specific Scandinavian pronoun “hen”. The band member’s shirts which showed a half-woman-half-man figure represented their commitment to a gender-neutral world. An important cause to take to the MiGP stage!

F Y R E W O R K Z (trans. Fireworks)– “New Year, New Me” – 1st place: and last but not least, the evening’s victors! The four front-women facing away from the crowd to begin, with a sassy hand on the hip, gave us the first clue that this was gonna be a fun number. Their ballad struck a relevant chord with the millenial crowd, balancing conscious self-improvement with irreverent self-acceptance. They belted, »eat your hommus« as the solution to a slimmer waist-line, but then altered their chorus in the final line of the song, affirming, »New Year, Same Me.«

As the competition portion of the evening came to a close, and while the votes were pouring in online I bumped into a couple of the musicians grabbing a beer. Jonas and Martin of Birkebanden, when asked if they would compete again next year both exclaimed »definitely!« in chorus.

They explained that their favourite part of the whole experience was the sound-checks, which made everything feel really professional, and actually got their nerves going. And when asked if this year felt different from last, Jonas replied a cheeky grin that it did because they could feel they were gonna win this time.

Sax player Ane from the band Walt Disneys Våde Drøm.
image: Joachim Agertoft
The hosts of the evening, Ditte (left) and Olivia (right), performing a musical act at the beginning of the show.
image: Joachim Agertoft
The crowd and the bands cheering. The show was held in Festsalen at Søndre Campus.
image: Joachim Agertoft
Percussionist (and confetti canon master) Visti (left) and vocalist Vibe (right) from the winning band F Y R E W O R K Z.
image: Joachim Agertoft
Again, Visti, now with champagne which was a part of F Y R E W O R K Z' stage performance, vocalist Vibe (right) and in the back, guitarist Jeppe.
image: Joachim Agertoft
The evening's victors after performing their song 'New Year - New Me' for the 2nd time.
image: Joachim Agertoft
Vocalist Lærke from F Y R E W O R K Z with the trophy after winning. Judge Henrik Raaboe on the left.
image: Emma Egede Skafte

I caught up with the hosts Ditte and Olivia during the voting period, too, and asked them a few questions about their role in MiGP this year. Neither woman had hosted before, but you wouldn’t have known it from their presence on stage. Their energy and confidence was palpable from the moment they started their opening act—a Danish best-hits pop number in which the two talented singers competed to humorous effect for the lead vocal in the song.

Ditte explained that »experiencing the event from the stage is completely different,« and that »it’s very obvious that it’s as much a party for the music students« as it is a full-on battle of the bands. Olivia praised the really »high level« of talent among the performers, and said her favourite part of the night was just hearing what all the bands came up with.

After F Y R E W O R K Z performed their winning ballad one last time I had the chance to interview Jennifer, Vibe and Lærke—three of the four front-women for the band.

Jennifer explained that her favourite part of preparing for the night, as for Jonas and Martin, was the environment of professionalism that was created around the event, and that »the sound checks were really interesting and everything felt very safe.«

She also emphasized the novelty of songwriting for her, and how she developed a sense of ownership over their song, having been involved in the creative process of writing it. Meanwhile Lærke, participating for the fifth year in a row, said this year felt different »because it was the first time we actually felt like we had a chance to win. So it was extra fun, and I definitely felt more nervous than previous years.«

Pro setup

Though the bands form in early January, the whole team of volunteers that put the evening together start work as early as September. »They’re really amazing!« said Jennifer, »and it’s a great way for them to gain experience working with events, especially if they want to work in the music industry after their studies.«

They’re operating in a totally professional setting and learning how it feels to be in front of a big crowd. That’s pretty cool!

Trine, show organizer

Finally, one of the organizers of the evening, Trine, gushed that MiGP truly is »a magical evening« when »everyone comes together with music and laughter and beer.« She also emphasized the professional calibre of set-up and sound-engineering, which she believes to be an amazing learning opportunity for the musicians who participate.

»They’re operating in a totally professional setting and learning how it feels to be in front of a big crowd. That’s pretty cool!«

And my final conclusions from the evening? First, there are a lot of amazingly talented musicians studying at The University of Copenhagen. Second, MiGP is an awesome event, made only more special by the fact that this was its 26th year running! Third, creating opportunities for students to engage directly with their studies in real-world scenarios is really important to their personal and professional development. So, see you all again next year!