Review – Alt for Norge (All for Norway)

Editor’s note:  If you missed seeing episode 1, it will air again at Merlins Rest Pub on December 28th.

Last night I attended the Minneapolis premier of the Norwegian reality tv show Alt for Norge. The draw, for me, in attending was two-fold:  a) I’ll take any excuse to go to Merlins Rest Pub and b) local musician and  Völva, Kari Tauring, was a contestant in the show.


Kari Tauring at Merlins Rest Pub - photo credit, Jeff Wheeler of the Star Tribune

To read an interview with Kari Tauring about the TV show, see this article.

The show, a contest that pits 10 Americans of Norwegian heritage against one another for a prize of $50,000 and a chance to meet their Norwegian relatives, was charming.  Watching the show for the breathtaking views of Norway is worth it.  Add in the very diverse contestants and the quirky challenges they face and you have the makings of a very enjoyable and engaging program.  While watching the show the crowd of approximately 25 people of all ages cheered for Kari whenever she was on the screen.  Towards the end of the first episode we clapped and Kari, who was present at the Pub and going from table to table visiting with everyone who attended,  took a bow when she was awarded the Norwegian Spirit Award.

However, that isn’t what made the evening go from pleasantly interesting to riveting.    It was the Q & A session after the program, and possibly the two hard ciders I had, that made the experience not to be missed.  Kari told us that during the taping of the show she felt very isolated, despite making friends with some of the other contestants.  “It was a different experience for me than it was for anyone else there,” says Kari.  One of the examples she gave highlighted this difference.  “When we were at the Unification monument everyone else was lifting a glass to cheer King Harald, but for me it was a very profound moment.    This was a place of civil war, like Gettysburg.  This was where a monotheist High King won over the democratic Heathen petty Kings.  It wasn’t a ‘Yay, King Harald!’ moment for me.”

Other insights from Kari had little to do with religion, but were just as fascinating.  She gave the inside scoop on how ‘real’ the reality in the tv show was.  She dished on the other contestants and appreciated that the show’s producers generally showed the contestants at their best.  And she talked about the controversial meal they were served in the first episode – grilled whale.

Kari says she keeps up with the other contestants on facebook and had two of them over for Solstice dinner, Pastor Grant and actress Signe.  After the Q&A session was over, Kari and a small group then treated us all to a performance of Volva Staving – rhythmic pounding of staffs while singing Nordic-roots traditional ballads and folk songs.

The other three episodes that Kari was in will be shown at Merlins Rest Pub in the coming weeks.  Here is a schedule of the next episodes.  Mark your calendars, this is a fun evening for the entire family.

January 11 and 25 Episode Two – The First elimination
February 8 and 22 Episode Three – Rudigard!
March 8 and 22 Episode Four – Kari komme heim.

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