Norway’s Celtic punk band The Greenland Whalefishers are celebrating their 20th year as a band this year. I’ve been a fan of the band for the later half so I was looking forward to seeing this documentary. Anyone who’s a fan of the band will enjoy this DIY music documentary, filmed by the band’s bass player Atle-Hjørn Øien.
I’m sure most people have a similar memory on how they discovered The Greenland Whalefishers. They thought they were listening to the Pogues and then they ended up finding out it’s some Celtic punk band from Norway. Then you realized the band has been creating some awesome music of their own for years! That’s certainly what I was thinking when I first heard GWF. Besides the typical Pogues comparisons, the band has so much more going on than that. They are a bunch of talented musicians who like to party, but AFTER their shows. They do everything themselves; everything from the marketing, social media, managing, merch, website, and yes, even this DVD. Their approach is very punk rock but done in a professional way as well.
Frontman Arvid has been the main member throughout, as well as Agnes who plays tin whistle. The two discuss how the band was formed, how the sound was created and all the members who have come and gone from the band. At times it’s tough understanding Arvid but if you’re a fan of the band, it’s not that surprising. For the most part, everything is understandable though. One thing is for certain, Arvid and the rest of the band are extremely passionate about the band and the love of Celtic/folk and punk rock. I was amazed at their fiddle player’s instruments. One of them is a custom made instrument that one side plays a fiddle, another side is a banjo and another side is ukelele. Or something like that. It’s was differently unique and interesting to me.
Mixed in with the interviews with the band members, you get behind the scenes at some of their recording sessions, old footage of their concerts and tours. It was nice seeing some footage of their West Coast trip in the US since I’ve been wanting them to come here for ages. Too bad they never made it over to the East Coast but depends on the promoter and interest I suppose. Around St Patrick’s Day would be the best time I think. Watching this DVD, I’m really hope for a tour on the East Coast this year or next! Besides footage from the US tour, you can see footage from their other tours in Japan and the UK.
Flogging Molly and some other friends pay homage to the band and filmed themselves saying a few words. Some of it’s just your standard quick clip and some are a little more unique than others. There’s not much in terms of extras for this DVD except there is a cool music video for the title track of this documentary, “20 Years of Waiting.” And speaking of new material, if you visit http://www.greenlandwhalefishers.com, you can listen to a new song a month on their website. Once the month is over, the song is deleted and you can listen to a new one. It’s a nice little treat for fans and I’m sure they will do something with the material after the year and their 20th anniversary is over with. Here’s to 20 more years!
Bottom Line: A fun 20th anniversary music documentary about Norway’s The Greenland Whalefishers!
Running Time: 98 minutes