Curiously Polar

The Arctic and the Antarctic are privileged locations for observers interested in understanding how our world is shaped by the forces of nature and the workings of history. These areas have inspired countless humans to undertake epic expeditions of discovery and have witnessed both great triumphs and miserable defeats. As a planetary litmus paper it is at the poles we can detect the effects of natural oscillations and human activities on the global ecosystems.

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099 Voices of the North, pt. II - ULO, The World’s Most Successful Record Label


In a vast but sparsely populated country music is more than just entertainment. This is even more true in a place like Greenland, the largest island in the world. Where traditional Inuit music like drum dance is mainly performed to entertain tourists today it is even more important to find ways to include those over 4,000 year old traditional elements within modern-day pop culture. And when the record label ULO released the rock band Sumé's first album Sumut in 1973 it singlehandedly kickstarted the local rock scene by uniquely singing in the Greenlandic language and using elements of traditional drum dances in the music. The label, that could be legitimately the world's most successful record label, is today Greenland's only major music label. Their least successful releases sell the equivalent of four times platinum in Europe. Their biggest seller was purchased by an estimated twenty percent of Greenland's total population, in numbers over 10,000 units to a population of only 56,000 people. That equates to twenty-five million sold copies in the states! That only can work because the people in Greenland love listening to their local music. Releasing between 10 and 15 records per year, the music scene in Greenland couldn't be any more diverse. Stretching over half the length of Africa, the biggest island in the world spreads its tiny population along a 44,000 kilometers (27,000 miles) long coastline with no roads between the settlements, far away from each other. Music has become the link between people all over Greenland. And music is the new medium of poetry. Rock and pop present thoughts and ideas to Greenlanders. That makes the country probably the hottest music market in the world - if you compare the sales numbers with the numbers of inhabitants.

Check out the Sounds of Greenland on Spotify.


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 2020-05-12  28m