Just if we thought we did not have any more space in our life for twenty-first century Denmarkia, along comes another slice of Danish. This time, it is a singer: Lukas Graham.
The single by his eponymous band, “7 Years”, will not be released from the UK until March however it's already been a success all around. Across Scandinavia, many experts have a number one. In the Benelux region, it went top 10. It's pop hip-hop, with sighing strings plus an almost overwrought, consciously tremulous vocal. It's the sort of song that gets crowds waving hands in mid-air, swaying and singing along. Check Lukas Graham 7 Years sheet music here.
In the US, she has made one TV appearance, not too long ago, on Conan. When the late-night show unveiled its end-of-year viewers' poll, the band's performance of “7 Years” got a scarcely believable 98.86 per-cent share with the vote.
The track was made by a Danish backroom team referred to as Future Animals (certainly one of whom, naturally, also owns a modern restaurant in Copenhagen). The lyrics are from the singer himself, under his complete name, Lukas Graham Forchhammer – a sign of his cross-national heritage. It's a highly emotive song. The singer recalls his childhood, his hopes, his dreams – and smoking weed at 11. He looks to turning 60. It's personal. “I couldn't go any more than 60 because my dad died at 61,” Graham, who's 27, says.
It's already had a lot more than five million YouTube hits with two official videos. One is really a montage of family photos; additional was filmed partly in Los Angeles – the location where the singer was signed by Warner Bros in 2013 – and partly in Christiania, part of Copenhagen where Graham came to be and pointed out and is maybe the most intriguing aspect in the whole story.
A woody enclave by way of a lake, Christiania is merely down the road from both four-time “world's best restaurant” Noma as well as the parliament building we realize from Borgen. In, yet not part of, Copenhagen, Christiania may be the closest the modern world has got to an autonomous village-size utopian community, a spot where dogs run wild and dreamers – Graham's parents, by way of example – dream new options for life. No guns, no cars, no fireworks; many street murals; as well as a house made entirely outside of windows.
Its mission statement was provided by Jacob Ludvigsen, one among its many founders. For him, it had been “a self-governing society whereby every individual holds themselves responsible in the wellbeing from the entire community”. A sardonic US TV presenter called it the place “where people can just live free, man”.
It's been like that since 26 September 1971, when Ludvigsen helped to enjoy squatters into an abandoned military barracks that was built for the city's 17th century ramparts. (It was also where, following war, Denmark executed its Nazi collaborators.)
Christiania is really a tiny place, having a tiny population. One count yielded 600 adults, 200 children, 200 cats, 200 dogs, 17 horses and a couple parrots. Of the adults, a lot more than 150 are already there since start. Actress Britta Lillesoe is a. “It was fantastic to get young and do everything you wanted to,” she says. More about Lukas Graham 7 Years chords here.
The community possesses his own anthem, together with the opening line “People get full of shit about us”. It has a slogan: “Lev livet kunstnerisk! Kun dode fisk flyder med strommen” (Live life artistically! Only dead fish adhere to the current). And it has a flag: three yellow dots with a red background. It's said the dots represent the Os in “love love love”.
It has what is maybe the world's biggest open-air hash, weed and drug paraphernalia market, which can be one with the main reasons the district is among Copenhagen's popular tourist attractions. The market is at what the Christiania council calls the “green light district” – but all others knows as Pusher Street. There is really a Woodstock pub. Blocks of hash resin, wrote one visitor, are “lined up like cheeses with a delicatessen”, in addition to baggies of buds and ready-rolled joints in plastic tubes.
The market had its good and bad, sometimes tolerated with the authorities, sometimes be subject to regular police patrols. There are “no photos” signs – never to shield the privacy with the town's dreamers, but to defend its dealers from surveillance. Tourists having pictures will likely be chased. To film there, possibly Graham were forced to make a deal using the dealers.
Over many years, there happen to be days of riots, a machine-gunning (one death) along with a grenade attack. In one crackdown, the law dismantled the many drug stalls. One, Snyder ryg med hjem (Snyder's Smoke Takeaway), was preserved, however, and reassembled inside the Danish National Museum, such are Denmark's contradictions.
Drugs are big business in Christiania. Ten years ago, each dealer was estimated to become earning €325 (£246) sixty minutes. Both the government and independent academics give a once a year figure of $170m, which might give Christiana a GDP per capita around $2m.
But the drug money doesn't remain in town. As everywhere, the trade is controlled by criminals – in Christiania, by biker gangs. They don't live inside the area, but do cause serious parking problems within the surrounding streets and possess physically attacked traffic wardens attempting to issue tickets.
The area's free spirits as well as dealers are now living in uneasy truce. In the past, hard drugs have already been forced out because of the residents. For now, though, they cannot want to focus on the biker dealers. Silence is safest.
But that type of money is perhaps exactly what the anarchists of Christiania need greater than anything else at the moment. As with all modern city stories, whether idealistic or hard-nosed, that one ends up within the estate agent's window. With its location, Christiania is usually a super-prime little bit of property.
A several years ago, a great deal was struck together with the authorities whereby Christiania's residents would choose the land for $12.5m (£8.75m) – way below cost. The deal was supported with a loan from those very authorities – without the need of set payback date. The idea ended up being to sell shares to residents. They didn't seem that interested, as could possibly be expected on the anarchically inclined. Little a lot more than $1m continues to be raised.
Traditionally, a pop star would celebrate newfound success when you purchase their mum a residence. When “7 Days” has produced its millions , perhaps Lukas Graham may go one better and get his mother shares in their whole home town.