See: Choir of Young Believers – Hollow Talk

Very new to Backseat Mafia as I am I didn’t know which section to submit this to. Eventually I selected Track/Video but could equally have requested Film (although ‘TV’ would be more appropriate) or Not Forgotten. It belongs in all of them and none of them.

Aficionados of BBC4 and its Saturday night foreign drama programmes will be aware of the rerun of the Scandi-Noir masterpiece ‘The Bridge’ (Bron/Broen in Danish/Swedish). While massively hyped throughout its four series run I genuinely believe it to be the most satisfying ‘cop’ drama I’ve ever seen, with characters you could identify with even if the plot got a little convoluted at times and as it broke all records for audience numbers for dramas on BBC4 (and BBC2 for the final series) many must agree.

We are currently half way through Series 2 with the final four episodes scheduled for Saturday evening 12thSeptember.

The hook is the theme song, which appears at the beginning and end of each episode and occasionally within them. That song is Denmark’s Choir of Young Believer’s ‘Hollow Talk’ which has attracted several supporting YouTube videos.

The song is from Choir of Young Believers’ 2008 debut album (of three to date) ‘This is for the White in Your Eyes’ but it might not be known at all by many people were it not for the fact it became the theme tune to The Bridge, filmed in Copenhagen and Malmö, and on the now-famous and iconic Øresund bridge and tunnel which connects them, and which concluded its fourth and final series last year. Or did it conclude? We’ll never see Saga Norén’s olive green Porsche again – it was sold for charity. But Saga and her infamous leather trousers? Time will tell.

Legend has it that the song was commissioned for The Bridge but the three-year gap between the filming of the first series and the release of the album does not support the supposition. It is truer to say that while Choir of Young Believers is not a one-hit wonder by any means this is probably their best song and without doubt their most famous.

The band’s chief mover and shaker is Jannis Noya Makrigiannis who, despite his Greek-sounding name, is described as “from Copenhagen”. However, writing credits for ‘Hollow Talk’ are also given to Anders Rhedinwho is no longer with the band, in fact he left after the first albumMakrigiannis had moved to the Greek island of Samos after his previous band Lake Placid broke up in order to get his solo project going and formed the COYB on his return. It was, and is, a fluid entity, with many supporting players; there are currently eight.

From the off, Makrigiannis/COYB have been writing and performing what is often described as “haunting” music and ‘Hollow Talk’ is an excellent example. He uses strings (notably a dramatic cello on ‘Hollow Talk’), his own voice, multi-tracked, and percussion played on the off-beat to produce a chamber pop sound that is unique.  

Many have commented that they did not realise initially that the lyrics to this song are sung in English. Perhaps Makrigiannis does that deliberately to add a bit of mystery, along with the way he lets vocal notes hang in the air.

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