It’s finally happened, “How It Should Have Ended” finally tackled last year’s biggest animated hit, Frozen. If you haven’t seen their video yet, feel free to take a second and watch it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…
Now as humorous as their videos often are, their jab at the opening music in Frozen (titled Vuelie) really irked me. Why? Well I’ll tell you…
Vuelie, despite what HiSHE claims, most certainly fits the musical themes used in Frozen. While it’s true that most of the other songs featured in Frozen are your typical Disney/Musical numbers; both Vuelie and the coronation song (titled Heimr Árnadalr) are beautiful vocal tracks that emphasize the Sami and Old Norse vibes that Frozen does it’s best the channel. There’s a reason the movie’s goto mythological creatures are trolls. (I’ll give you a hint, it’s because trolls originate from Norse Mythology and Scandinavian Folklore!) Say what you will about the two songs; but Frozen’s composer, Chistophe Beck, did a wonderful job at infusing Frozen’s soundtrack with Norwegian and Sami culture.
Entertainingly enough, Heimr Árnadalr is actually an original song written by Christophe Beck in Old Norse. Translated, it ends up as…
Worthy Queen of greatness
The heart of gold shines
We crown thee with hope, love, and faith.
Beautiful, stony land, home Arendelle
Follow the Queen of light.
Beautiful; and very fitting Elsa’s coronation.
Now I’m not sure how many of you are aware of this, but the indigenous people of Africa aren’t the only indigenous people out there. There are, in fact, numerous indigenous cultures all over the world! The Sami people in particular have inhabited the northern reaches of the world for quite some time, existing in what is now the far northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.
So while I too love the opening scene/score of The Lion King, anyone who accuses Vuelie of being a copy of The Circle of Life needs to have their privilege (and ears!) checked. Yes, both movies open with vocal parts that draw from the same cultural heritage that the rest of movie also draws from; but that’s where the similarity ends. Heck, there isn’t even a spoken word in Vuelie! Unlike the rather English heavy Circle of Life.
Vuelie is actually a shortened version of the piece Eatnaman Vuelie, a Norwegian and Sami choral song that has nothing to do with lions or Africa. (Fun fact: The opening two lines of The Circle of Life are the phrases “Here comes a lion, Father” and “Oh yes, it’s a lion” in Zulu.) Both versions of Vuelie were composed by Frode Fjellheim, a Norwegian yoiker and musician of Southern Sámi origin. (For those who are wondering, yoiking is a form of traditional Sami folk music and by no means a made up word.)
Now I get it, I do. We live in a day and age where being politically correct is the way to be and everyone and their mother thinks they have a Sociology Degree with which to point out social injustices whenever they see them. Yet often times life just isn’t as simple as Upworthy, Facebook or any of those other people on the internet would claim it to be. Racism isn’t just something that white people do to non-white people. Racism goes beyond skin color, and is a problem pretty much everywhere in the world.
Is Frozen is a movie about two white princesses? Yes. But if the movie’s soundtrack, architecture and clothing choices are to be believed, those two white princesses are probably of Sami decent; or at the very least live in a kingdom influenced by Sami culture. Now were you aware that the Sami people have been discriminated against for centuries? Or that such discrimination exists even to this day? Indeed, three of the six Sami languages which are, or have been, spoken in Norway are now classified as extinct. You know, as in they don’t exist anymore. What’s more, it’s estimated that Sami individuals experience around ten times more discrimination than their ethnically Norwegian neighbors. Not cool.
My point is that people need to stop freaking out every single time their politically correct meter starts waving around. Is it fun to criticize and make fun of terrible (as well as great) movies? You bet it is! But please be sure to do so responsibly; and always make sure to do your homework.
People don’t typically wake up in the morning and ask themselves, “How can I be racist today?” So if you spot something that strikes you as discriminatory, it’s a good bet that somebody did it for a reason other than to be racist. Could they be in the wrong? You bet! People lead blissful lives in ignorance every day. But try to make sure you get their side of the story before you go jumping the gun and tossing prejudice their way; otherwise you just end up looking like the ass.
So be kind, rewind and just remember to be awesome to everybody! No matter what they look like or where they come from. After all, deep down we all just wanna live our lives and have a good time!