Allsang på Grensen

Sing along to your favorite songs this summer

sissel

Photo: Thomas Andersen / TV 2 / NTB
Norway’s superstar songbird Sissel Kyrkjebø performed at Allsang på Grensen in 2021, and, once again, she’ll be back again this summer.

LORI ANN REINHALL
Editor-in-chief
The Norwegian American

It’s been said that Scandinavians can sing like crazy, and if you look at the treasure chest of songs in Norway, it’s not hard to believe. One of the things I’ve most enjoyed at parties I’ve attended in Norway, is the singing that goes along with them. This runs the gamut from someone pulling out a guitar at a casual get-together to formal dinner parties to celebrate a special occasion.

And summer certainly is something to celebrate in Scandinavia. The long days of sunshine are back, with the light going well into the evening hours. This is a perfect time to get together and sing, informally and formally. And with pandemic restrictions lifted, vaccinations, and the possibility of outdoor venues that the summer weather affords, the dark cloud of COVID-19 no longer looms so heavily. Singers can once again unite and belt out their favorite songs.

And that is exactly what they will do at Allsang på Grensen—Sing-along at the Border—a summer musical program that has been taking place at Fredriksten Fortress, located on the border to Sweden in Halden, since 2007. The outdoor festival with Host Tone Damli takes place over seven Saturdays in June and July, attracting audiences from all over Norway, Sweden, and beyond. The performances are aired on TV 2, and they are watched by hundreds of thousands on both sides of the border.

The concept of Allsang på Grensen is actually an import from Sweden, which has been airing a similar show, Allsång på Skansen, for many decades. Started already in 1925 at Skansen, Stockholm’s open-air museum (an equivalent to Norsk Folkemuseum in Oslo), the idea was for the audience to sing along with musical guest stars to well-known Swedish songs. Since 1979, it has been broadcast on Swedish television and now attracts millions of viewers, both in Sweden and Norway. Over the years, some of the most famous names in Swedish music have appeared on the show, contributing to its enormous popularity.

All-star lineup

In terms of all-star lineups at Allsang på Grensen, the Norwegians are not going to be left behind. This year’s program kicked off on June 22, featuring the beloved folk artists Odd Nordstuga and Angelina Jordan, who won Norway’s Got Talent in 2014 at age 8. Jordan returned to Norway after having been in the United States for over two years. All grown up and more mature as a performing artist, it proved to be an exciting homecoming.

And as the summer progresses, the list of stars is no less impressive, culminating in a final performance by the Norwegian superstar-soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø, known to most simply as Sissel.

You can check out the 2022 program at allsangpagrensen.no/artister-allsang-pa-grensen.

And the good news is that it is not prohibitively expensive to experience Allsang på Grensen live. Tickets start at NOK 295 (about $30) and the cost is NOK 189 (about $19) for children between the ages of 3 and 10. If you can take along your own chairs and are willing to sit farther back, it will cost even less. You can order tickets online at ticketmaster.no/event/allsang-pa-grensen-billetter/683511, but if you are planning to attend, it is recommended that you purchase your tickets early, because these family-friendly concerts are every popular.

Visiting Halden

Halden is a beautiful small town located by the Iddefjord, Norway’s southernmost fjord, which separates Norway and Sweden. The Svinesund Bridge, which is part of the E6 highway, connects to Sweden. You can get to Halden by car, train, bus, or boat. Halden is about an hour and a half from Oslo by car, and a little over two hours from Gothenburg in Sweden, making it an easy day trip. Parking is available at the fortress concert arena for a reasonable fee, as well as in the center of the city, and it is easy to obtain taxi service to shuttle back and forth.

There are excellent opportunities for staying overnight in Halden if you should choose to make it a longer weekend excursion. There are hotels in several categories to choose from, as well as guest apartments and cabins, camping sites where you can park a trailer or RV, and guest moorage in the harbor. The city center offers a good selection of restaurants, cafés, bars, and pubs, many offering genuine Norwegian cuisine.

There is a lot to see and do in Halden, both indoors and outdoors. A guided tour of the fortress is a must for many, and there are several churches and museums to check out for those interested in cultural history. For those more interested in friluftsliv, there are trails for day hikes, canoe rentals, and bicycle trails. A boat trip in the fjord is recommend for all.

For more information about Halden, as a tourist destination, check out the official tourist portal at visitoestfold.com/no/halden.

Sing to your heart’s delight

Not traveling to Norway this summer? Why not check Allsang på Grensen on the internet? Just search for “Allsang på Grensen” on youtube.com, and you will be amazed at what comes up. You can sing along with them right at home.

Better yet, why not organize your own “Allsang” event in your community? There are so many Norwegian choral societies to engage, you can create song books and song sheets, and there is nothing wrong with including some of your favorite American songs. This concept is all about having fun, as you sing to your heart’s delight!

This article originally appeared in the July 8, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.

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