The band Gåte is a finalist and one of the strong candidates to win Melodi Grand Prix 2024. However, they will have to change the lyrics of the song Ulveham, with which they compete to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC).
Part of the lyrics is similar to a 1,000-year-old medieval ballad, inspired by Norwegian folklore. Stig Karlsen, the head of the Norwegian delegation, clarified the situation to the NRK broadcaster’s website:
– Part of the lyrics has been interpreted and used in various releases throughout history, but it cannot be said to be widely known. However, a small discussion arose in the music industry and in some fan groups based on what Gåte themselves shared about the creative process”.
Knut Buen, a folk musician, believes that except for a brief passage, the song is considered an original composition. Still, Stig Karlsen prefers to play it safe in case Gåte wins Melodi Grand Prix: “We see this as potentially problematic regarding the regulations, and the MGP even asked Gåte to write a new lyric. The EBU [European Broadcasting Union] has been informed of this. In this case, the music is based on unknown material that is not under copyright. Using folklore or traditional techniques or patterns is not the same as recreating original songs that are spread to a wide audience”.
Despite having to change the lyrics, Gåte will maintain the essence of the song Ulveham, assured the vocalist Gunnhild Sundli: “The song, the story, and the identity and expression of the performance will be virtually identical to the performance we will do in the final. Therefore, we do not see that this change in the lyrics is of significant importance”.