Norwegian sextet Kaizers Orchestra’s infectious and theatrical alternative-rock transcends language barriers. The group is a sell-out show commodity in Scandinavia, but has also garnered a devoted audience in Europe and beyond. Despite its lyrics only being sung in Norwegian, the band’s quirky, conceptually ambitious, and triumphant music—a synthesis of Scandinavian and Eastern European folk influences turbo-charged by high-energy blues, indie, metal, and rock—is broadly resonant. Kaizers Orchestra has earned a cult following in the U.S., amplified by its one-and-done 2013 performance at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art which was covered as a high-profile debut by The New York Times.
That appearance was a farewell concert for the idiosyncratic indie-rock juggernaut, and Kaizers Orchestra retired at the peak of its success back home, in Europe, and while it was on the verge of a breakthrough in America. Now, 10 years later, the band has reconvened, and Kaizers Orchestra’s four-month, 56 date Norwegian reunion tour has sold out in under fifteen minutes. The band has also just announced a worldwide tour for 2024-2025; playing venues across Europe.
“I live my life, create my art, and perform from a true place. It’s like I am standing on an oil barrel shouting a message that maybe not every person understands, but they feel the energy,” notes Janove Ottesen, the group’s singer and principal composer. “Sometimes you can communicate feelings without words. For example, I love French music and Latin music, and I don’t speak those languages. Being authentic to my life means singing in Norwegian, but the vibe and what I am trying to communicate is universal.”