#COP21: The Most Important Two Weeks Of Our Lives #climatechange

Global Climate March, Oslo, 281115, Photo - Reuters
Global Climate March, Oslo, 281115, Photo – Reuters

Today sees 147 World Leaders descend upon Paris in a bid to come to an agreement on an universal climate change policy.  There is some, but not a huge amount of optimism, that a consensus will be reached.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN for one, says he is optimistic that an agreement will be successfully negotiated.  Speaking ahead of the conference he said, “We’ve been working very hard, very long – the time for action is now. I have seen growing political momentum among Member States. They know that they have to take action.”

COP21, or in layman’s terms, Conference of Paris 21, the 21st climate change summit being held in the French capital, has been hailed by many political leaders and environmentalists alike as, “the most important global meeting of our lifetime”.

Speaking to the Morning Ireland radio show earlier today, Jean-Pierre Thébault, French Ambassador to Ireland, confirmed that France was fully committed to securing a legally binding agreement and, that it would not desist negotiating until one had been reached. “There is no ‘Planet B’, so there is no ‘Plan B’,” he said.  He insisted that failure to reach an agreement over the course of the next two weeks would lead to “climate chaos”!

Thébault called for the active participation by NGOs as well as all corners of Civic Society.  He said France welcomed contributions from science, agriculture, environmentalists – groups of people who can be involved in the decision shaping, whilst at the same time leaving the decision making to the world’s politicians.

Ireland will be represented at the summit by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly.  Our own Agricultural emissions are indeed a huge sore point, as they account for 29% of Ireland’s overall emissions, a much larger % than that of most other EU countries.  The high level of agricultural emissions, the Minister said, has been proactively countered by continued expansion in areas such as forestation, something which is not as yet taken into consideration by the EU, but which Kelly will argue to have changed during negotiations this week.

Facing down criticism of Ireland’s “meagre” financial contribution of €2 million to climate control, the minister stated that the figure was only part of Ireland’s overall contribution and that our financial input was set to rise over coming years.

Like Ban Ki-Moon, Kelly has also insisted that the outcome of the summit needs to be a legally binding agreement to which all countries can work.  Significantly, this week will see Ireland become one of the first EU countries to legislate for climate control, with a new Controlling Climate Bill set to be passed through the Houses with ease.  It is also probably not insignificant that one of the key influencers behind Ireland’s ardent move towards climate control is none other than our former president, Mary Robinson, who currently holds the position of UN Special Envoy for Climate Change.

Appointed by Ban Ki-Moon to the role in 2014, Robinson, who set up the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice in 2010, has gone on record as saying that 2015 is the most crucial of years for climate change.  Robinson has been an active and positive voice for climate control across the world’s airwaves since taking up her latest UN position,  and recently spoke at length on the urgent need for a universally agreed policy with Brian Dobson, of RTE News, during a prime time feature ahead of the Paris summit.

Pairs of shoes are symbolically placed on the Place de la Republique, after the cancellation of a planned climate march following shootings in the French capital, ahead of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21), in Paris, France, November 29, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Pairs of shoes are symbolically placed on the Place de la Republique, after the cancellation of a planned climate march following shootings in the French capital, ahead of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21), in Paris, France, November 29, 2015. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Yesterday, 11,000 pairs of shoes were placed on the Place de la Republique in Paris, after a planned march had to be cancelled due to a ban on mass gatherings being imposed by the French government in the wake of the recent atrocities.

Environmental groups from around the world, as well as ordinary civilians, congregated in Paris to show the world’s politicians how united they were in their stand for protection of the environment.

Worldwide marches were held in unison with the relatively peaceful Parisian protest, including a climate rally in Dublin and a large global climate march in Oslo.  Significantly in Norway, several high profile musicians and artists, including chart topper Susanne Sundfor, have rowed in behind the Norwegian movement to help give it weight and raise its profile.  Sundfor publicly called for support for the Oslo march, in which she participated, via her social media channels.

“Climate change is something that has worried me since childhood and I think it’s time we start opening our eyes and try to find ways to take care of what we still have. The most efficient way to do this is to let politicians know we are not happy with their efforts and that we wont stop telling them until we are.” Susanne Sundfor

Not insignificantly, one of Norway’s largest music festivals, Øyafestivalen, has  given backing to climate protection, and produced its own environmentally responsible mission statement as part of the festivals objectives – read it here.

Currently a hot topic of environmental debate in Norway, is the subject of oil, and many musicians, artists and festivals are now rowing in behind groups like Nok oljesponsing!, in the call out against fossil fuel funding .  As part of their commitment to the anti fossil fuel extraction campaign, Nok oljesponsing and many others will congregate in Paris on 9th December for the Big Oil out of Culture @ the Paris Climate Summit, see details here.

How successful these groups and politicians will be in switching off this ticking time bomb remains to be seen.  What is remarkable though, is the weight that music and musicians can bring to bear on such occasions.  With heavyweights like Sundfor and Oya behind climate protection in Norway it’s voice is getting louder and stronger.  One would hope that similarly many other like minded musicians and artists would row in, not just in Norway, but across the world, to support the fight to protect our planet, during what must be, the most important global conference of all time.

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BBC6 MUSIC SHOW GOLD CELESTE #THEGLOW

untitled Farao

BBC6 Music, the UK’s top music radio station, have once again featured Norwegian band, Gold Celeste, on one of their prime time shows.

Seen by media, musicians and industry types alike, as the ultimate musical litmus test of how much of an impact an artist is making within the UK music market, BBC6 has long been the holy grail for emerging talent.

Already picked up by the ‘king of indie’, Steve Lamacq and alt rock muso, Marc Riley, Gold Celeste have now added another BBC6 notch onto their belt, in the form of the champion of new music artists, his “awesomeness” Tom Ravenscroft.

Ravenscroft regularly holds guest slots, and last night saw him play host to Scandinavian sonic sorceress, ‘Farao’ who was invited into the Beeb radio studio to curate a Nordic themed night in celebration of the return of  Danish/Swedish drama, ‘The Bridge’, to BBC4 TV.

Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock and have never had the pleasure of listening to Farao’s sublime electronic Nordic folk-pop, here’s ‘TIAF’ one of my Farao favourites!

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Farao’s Nordic Noir Guest Mix included such gems as, Imarhan’s ‘Tahabort’ and Venn’s ‘Real Blood’, but sandwiched between ‘Dreamcat’ by Indriði, and ‘Play’ by iamamiwhoami, came the goldest nugget of all,  the track ‘Is This What You Could Not Do’, the video for which is below.

Gold Celeste, a three piece Oslo based indie outfit, released their debut album, ‘The Glow’ earlier in the Autumn, and are currently playing dates across Europe. December will see them making their live London debut, details below.  ‘The Glow’ is available via Riot Factory.

You can listen to Tom Ravenscroft’s show and the Nordic Noir Guest Mix, here (for another 29 days).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06q70kz

Gold Celeste play The Sebright Arms, Bethnal Green on 7th December, followed by a second live date at the Old Blue Last, on the 9th.  See their Facebook page for further information.

Single Review : Bellman Returns With A Surprising New Sound!!

Bellman

Fadó fadó back in the 80s, there was a hugely successful, highly acclaimed singer songwriter, by the name of F.R. David. He was French.  He penned a song called, ‘Words Don’t Come Easy’.  It topped the charts in France, and subsequently reached over 11million views on YT.  No mean feat!

Fast-forward to 2015, and Norwegian singer-songwriter Bellman’s new drop, ‘We Are The Guns‘.  Listen to the voice.  Not the sound, not the lyrics, THE VOICE!

Okay it’s got a Norwegian inflection, and is pitted against a dynamic electronic backdrop, but that creamy dreamy, silky soft smoothness that was David’s trademark is there, 100%, in Bellman’s breathy, reverby evocative vocal.

Bellman, a.k.a. Arne-Johan Rauan, has been plying his musical trade for a few years now, and in that time has garnered a loyal following not just in Norway, but also internationally.  His debut album, ‘Mainly Mute’ was both critically and commercially well received, breaking the Top Ten and peaking at the #6 slot on the Norwegian album charts.  Impressively, he has opened for Irish indie-rock legends, Snow Patrol, as well as fellow Norwegians, alt-rockers Madrugada.

Although his sound has been slowly evolving over the years from the Coldplay oriented ‘Spaceship, Move Slow’ to the more acoustic folk-pop of ‘Celestine’, the vibe has always remained tranquil and tenderly mellifluous.  With his latest release, ‘We Are The Guns’, Bellman has turned his inherently “lighter” sound completely on its head by introducing an heavy electronic underlay, albeit one that retains his trademark vocal gentleness.

For his latest project, Bellman collaborated with long time friend, producer Jonas Rohde-Moe.  This experimental collaboration seems to have opened up new musical avenues down which he has travelled extensively, deeply exploring the expansive world of electronica.   This proactive change in direction has given his sound added depth and texture, as well as a more vibrant, rhythmic quality.

Built around a tight fusion of lashings of synth melodies and insistent percussive beats, ‘We Are The Guns’ is well produced, atmospheric, electronic pop.  With its catchy hook, come hither vocal and barely there guitar riffs, it’s quite the musical fishing rod that will slowly reel you in!

Blurry around the edges, Nordic at heart, with a magnetic electronic pulse, ‘We Are The Guns’ is like a wintry Norwegian sleigh ride through an electronic dreamland full of soft pastel fairylights, floating snowflakes and twinkling sonic stars.  Prepare to be swept away.

‘We Are The Guns’ is available now on all digital platforms (see links below) and via No Forevers Records.  Bellman’s new album is scheduled for release in 2016, date tbc.

You can follow Bellman on Facebook and Twitter, and his official website.

‘We Are The Guns’ can be purchased here,

iTUNES:

SPOTIFY:

TIDAL:

Norwegian Music News : Susanne Sundfor Announces Norwegian Tour Dates 2016

Photo Ja Ja Ja
Photo by Sofia Fredrick Sprung

Chandelier voiced Norwegian, Susanne Sundfor, has today announced a list of 2016 Norwegian tour dates.

Commencing a string of live music performances, with a headline slot at the Polar Jazz Fest in February, Sundfor kicks off her tour proper on 3rd March in Stavanger.  The tour which runs through to the middle of March, ends at the Studenthuset Rokken, Volda on St. Patrick’s Day (obviously not a national holiday in the Nordics! but we’ll raise a glass to her nonetheless!)

The only exception to the early Spring timeline is Oslo, which Susanne will play on 22nd June when she performs at the ‘Over Oslo’ festival.

2016 Norwegian Tour Dates – Pre-sale tickets are available below, now:

05 Feb Polarjazz, Svalbard – Tickets
03 Mar Stavanger, Stavanger – Tickets
04 Mar Bergen, USF Verftet – Tickets
05 Mar Ålesund, Terminalen Byscene – Tickets
11 Mar Trondheim, Studentersamfundet Storsalen – Tickets
13 Mar Bodø, Sinus – Tickets
15 Mar Tromsø, Driv – Tickets
17 Mar Volda, Studenthuset Rokken – Tickets
22 Jun Oslo, Over Oslo – Tickets

Watch the amazing video for ‘Accelerate’ Susanne’s latest release from her critically acclaimed 2015 top selling album, ‘Ten Love Songs’.

Dråpe ‘drop’ Round (& Around) With a New Music Video

Photo - Video Still - Dråpe
Photo – Video Still – Dråpe

Earlier today, Oslo based #gazindie band Dråpe ‘dropped’ (pun) the visual for their latest musical spinning top, ‘Round and Around‘.

The vid, directed, edited and co-scripted, by the bands lead guitarist, Even Hafnor, an accredited filmmaker in his own right, also had inputs from bassist and respected photographer, Lars Boquist, as well as Lisa Brooke Hansen,  with whom Hafnor has previously worked on other film projects.

Hafnor, who has a degree in film making from the globally recognised SAE Institute, used a 60s camera belonged to his grandfather to give the footage an authentic vintage, trippy look and feel.

Video Still Dråpe
Eirik Fidjeland Thinks He’s a Bird

“The idea behind the video was to try to recreate the style, and, well.. the weirdness of music videos from the 60´s.”  Mission accomplished dude!

This is the first Dråpe music video in which the band itself has featured, and I think the ‘storyline’ perfectly captures their off-centre, quirky creativity, not to mention a very obvious, self-deprecating and uninhibited sense of humour.

R&A2
What Scene From What Film Does This Remind You Of?

‘Round and Around’ is the third single from Dråpe’s second album, ‘Relax/Relapse’, which was released via Riot Factory at the start of October.  Soon after its release, the band kicked off a promotional tour of Norway, which wraps with three dates this week, finishing up in Stavanger this Saturday night 28th.

R&A3
Can You See Us Now?

Methinks that with an unlimited array of creative ideas and a diversity of endless talents at their disposal, as well as an album out in “the stratosphere” that’s as good as any I’ve heard this year, these guys will be ’round and around’ for quite some time to come.

Relax/Relapse is out now via Riot Factory.

Dråpe finish up their tour of Norway playing Energimolla with Broen tomorrow night in Kongsberg, rounding off with a gig in Stavanger on Saturday night at Tou Scene.

You can follow Dråpe on Facebook and Twitter.

Guest Review : Alex Clemence of Dayflower on Palace Winter’s ‘New Ghost’

Director: Cecilie McNair Director of Photography: Sine Brooker
Director: Cecilie McNair Director of Photography: Sine Brooker

Today, I am super delighted to welcome the charming, witty and immensely talented Alex Clemence, front man with English dream-indie-gaze band DayFlower, as guest reviewer on the blog.  Alex is reviewing, ‘New Ghost‘, the latest single from Danish duo, Palace Winter, whose star is in such a rapid ascendancy it’ll soon shoot out through the atmosphere!

Introducing Alex … In his own words,

“Alex is a human male from Norwich who moved to Leicester in 2003 with the sole aim of failing to complete a degree in Economics. He achieved this in some style by dropping out after his first year.

When he isn’t working on fusing the nursery rhymes in his head with his own average guitar playing, he enjoys scotch bonnet chilli peppers, Haribo, Seinfeld box sets, weapons grade Polish lager, Poptarts, hanging out with his 6 year old son, American 9 ball pool (he is above average at this), dreaming up sitcoms that never seem to happen and being in love.”

Medication Cover Photo

Review: ‘New Ghost’, Palace Winter by Alex Clemence

“According to Palace Winter front man, Carl Coleman, “we like a sound that waves around with its genres”. Well it shows.

What this Copenhagen based duo manage to do is meld classic, almost jangly folk melodies, with danceable rhythms reminiscent of New Order, and what sounds like an 80’s analogue synth with the crystal clear guitar chime of The Cure. All of which they do beautifully, by the way.

I’m not going to disagree with a previous reviewer’s assertion that there is just a hint of R.E.M in the mix. Beneath the melting pot of pure 80s pop, you have a lightly strummed acoustic guitar and a yearning vocal melody that apart from Michael Stipe, also evokes the beauty of Alex Chilton & Big Star.

‘New Ghost’ is jam packed with melody, a new one emerging with each and every listen. This is the trick that great songs manage to pull off time and time again.

What struck me though was how these lads use reverb. Nothing gratuitous; I hate it when musicians do that. There is nothing worse than reverb being used to make up for the shortcomings of a song or musician. Palace Winter use it perfectly, adding just the right amount.

This song feels panoramic. It has space everywhere. There’s so much going on at once that you would be doing it a disservice if you listened to it for less than 8 times in a row. ‘New Ghost’ quite literally is the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m a particular fan of how this song ends. All euphoria fades away, leaving a single acoustic guitar. Underneath everything and by that I mean the pulse, the driving guitars, the reverb and the synth, is a simple heartfelt song that will always stand up as just vocals and guitar. Wonderful.

So?

Well I love the track. For me, it is the perfect fusion of classic pop, the best bits of the 80s, carried along with a gorgeous soulful vocal, nesting on top of the music like a lost bird whistling into your ear whilst you’re being driven into the unknown.

‘New Ghost’ is my kind of journey.”  Alex

GUYS

Big up for Alex for giving ‘New Ghost’ some spin & ink; more kudos for those Palace Winter boys who seem to be doing everything just right these days!!

Just to put the cherry on the musical cake, Palace Winter has premiered the hauntingly beautiful, Cecilie Mc Nair directed visual for ‘New Ghost’.  The video, shot in black and white, was produced by Matilda Appelin, with Sine Brooker in charge of photography.  Discussing her approach to the brief, Cecilie told me,

“My intention with the video was to try to capture the cinematic feeling that the music invites. I tried to catch a sense of hidden memories and moments in one’s head that haunts yet comforts you. It’s unsettling but you don’t want it to leave.”

Cecilie has perfectly captured the essence of the song with a stunning film that conveys all the stark yet dreamy other worldliness of ‘New Ghost’.  Watch it here.

Palace Winter play London’s Old Blue Last on 15th December, details here.

The debut EP, ‘Medication’ is out now via Tambhourinoceros.

Palace Winter will play the renowned by:Larm festival next year (where you also find a certain Derv!) – details here – (Mar 2-5, 2016 – By:Larm, Oslo)

You can follow Palace Winter’s antics on Twitter.

You can follow DayFlower on Facebook

Dayflower are curating a club night on 10th December in Leicester’s THE COOKIE – details here.

CTM Debuts Visual For Lead Track ‘Cezanne’

CTM

Astonishingly talented Danish multi-instrumentalist, Cæcilie Trier, recently debuted a new solo project under the CTM moniker, the lead track from which, ‘Cezanne’, was reviewed by myself for Ja Ja Ja Nordic earlier this month – read the full review here.

Electronically driven, ‘Cezanne’ is dark-experimental at its most intriguing extreme. Speaking of the track, CTM is quoted as saying:-

“‘Cézanne’ is a mysterious car ride through a grey mist, with a dramatic scenography of midi strings, piano outbursts and a silent fellow passenger. It comes from a suite of songs altogether forming a dramatic play on a backdrop of sound collages. On top of this, a narrator leads you through the story [of Suite For A Young Girl], also with references to different works, for example Nabokov and Gertrude Stein.”

With references to Nabokov it is no surprise to find oneself looking at a Lolita-esque like video, shot in demi-monochrome, with intermittent pops of colour.  The video, as beguiling and curious as the track itself, features a ballet class of ‘knowing’ ingenues, brief images of a ‘removed’ male pianist, and black & white shots of a stark yet beautifully dramatic coil of staircase.  This visual tells as hauntingly mesmeric a storyline as the song itself.

Shot in Cophenhagen, and directed by Directed by Sara Laub + Kamilla Bruus, you can watch the video here,

‘Cezanne’ is the lead track from CTM’s upcoming 8-track Mini Album, ‘Suite for a Young Girl’ set for release 22nd January, 2016 via Tambourhinoceros records, which is available for pre-order here.

Naytronix Video Dreamily Takes Us ‘Back in Time’

Naytronix

Last month American Nate Brenner, of tUnE-yArDs fame, dropped solo album ‘Mister Divine’ (CitySlang) under the Naytronix moniker.  Now he has released the Jeffrey A Tang/Andrew Truong directed video for lead track, ‘Back in Time’.  As if that wasn’t enough to satiate your musical appetite, he has also shared a remix of the track from Money Mark, known for his collaborative work with the Beastie Boys, listen here.

Naytronix kicked off his promotional European tour in Hamburg earlier in the month, and this week sees him bring his ‘lushville’ music to  the UK where he will play five dates before heading back Stateside.

The gigs start with Birmingham’s Rainbow Cellar tomorrow night 25th, wrapping in Brighton on Sunday with a slot at the Mutations Festival.  Naytronix will play London on Saturday 28th.  See below for full details.

‘Back in Time’ is more dude than Beck, with as much soulful psych-pop groove as any Flaming Lips menagerie.  Introspective and nostalgic, it is a reflection on the aging process; a wander back in time to a youthful past, rummaging through life’s memory box unearthing archived images from the past.  The video perfectly captures the sentiment of this endearing and enticing sonic retrospective – you can watch it here.

‘Mister Divine’ is out now via City Slang records.

You can socialise with Naytronix on Facebook and Twitter

Tour Details UK & USA – Tickets & info: www.naytronix.com

Nov. 25: Birmingham, UK – Rainbow Cellar
Nov. 26: Bristol, UK – The Old Bookshop
Nov. 27: Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club**
Nov. 28: London, UK – The Shacklewell Arms
Nov. 29: Brighton, UK – Mutations Festival

Dec. 19: Carmel, CA – Barmel
Dec. 20: Los Angeles, CA – Non Plus Ultra ^
Dec. 21: San Diego, CA – Soda Bar ^
Jan. 16: Boston, MA – Great Scott
Jan. 17: Philadelphia, PA – Ortlieb’s #

*w/ Deradoorian
** w/ Ought
^ w/ Creepers
# supporting Superhuman Happiness

SIGUR ROS ANNOUNCE 2016 FESTIVAL TOUR & “IT’S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT”

Sigur Ros

Icelandic band Sigur Ros have just announced details of an upcoming festival tour for Summer 2016.  Excitingly, the band have confirmed that they will be playing some new, unreleased songs, sparking fevered speculation amongst fans that the release of a new album is imminent.

The tour will include Summer festivals across Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands and the UK.

Making the announcement on their FB page, the band said:-

“We are pleased to announce that we are playing festivals next summer in the spirit of adventure.  All we can say right now is it’s going to be different, with new unreleased songs, a new show and maybe some other *new* things. beyond that, we can only ask you to trust us on this one.”

“Festival dates announced today for Norway, Denmark, Russia, Slovakia, Austria, Belgium, United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands ‪#‎sigurroslive “

Of particular interest is the announcement that they will play Bergenfest on 16th June, details here, as well as London’s Citadel Festival in mid July, see here.

You can check out details of the full festival tour schedule here.

The last release from Sigur Ros came in November 2013 with Rafstraumur, the fourth single from their album Kveikur.

You can listen to Rafstaumur here.


Slutface Want You To Think About Women

Oya

“We want you to think about female sexuality and what it means to be a ‘slut’, the way we portray women in music and in popular culture. We’re really not dicks – we just want you to think about women more than you do.”

There’s nothing average about indie-rock group “Slutface” particularly their name, right? But I’m guessing that’s already becoming yawnsville so let’s move on!

‘Slutface’ are an uptempo Norwegian Sleater Kinney, with a whiff of Elasica, 2015 stylee …  The de rigeur  noise and attitude are all there, but their music is alive, vibrant, exciting, and a lotta fun.

Despite all the “rocking out sounds”, there are subtle touches of pop sensibilities thrown into the musical mix which make their debut single, ‘Shave my Head’, simply irresistible.   Part protest song, part wake up call it has a super catchy chorus and compelling pop punk melodies.   Front woman Haley Shea’s vocals are somewhat evocative of Gwen Stefani.  She’s a girl that  can hold her notes well, no matter how raucous the vocal gets.

With its seriously frenetic and high energy guitar riffs and drum beats, ‘Shave my Head’ is indie-pop-punk at its punchy, addictive best. Intelligent, articulate and outspoken, Shea’s feistiness, courage of her convictions and determination to stand her ground are both admirable and inspirational. “I was thinking a lot about the expectation we have for women to act in a hysterical way. Why women are portrayed negatively as hysterical and emotional, whereas crazy men are portrayed as tortured geniuses.”

The video sees clips of the band taking us on the Slutface tourist trail of their hometown Bergen, chopped up with footage of them playing live to a buoyantly enthusiastic crowd. The film, regularly interrupted with flashing images of static interference, is as frenetic and frantic as the song.

When you listen to ‘Shave My Head’, it’s actually very hard to believe that the group’s members are still full time University students. There aren’t many full time bands that could swing a track like this, never mind full-time undergrads! About to start working on their debut album, Slutface have indicated that they want their sound to evolve into something ‘more intense, quicker, harder and darker’, so we have that to look forward to in 2016!

‘Shave my Head’ is taken from Slutface’s A/B-side with ‘Get My Own’, out now via 0E0E (Propeller Records)

It is also available to Stream and to buy via iTunes.    Check it out here.

For more information on Slutface, you can socialise with them on:  Facebook   Twitter   Instagram   Soundcloud

**Note, the original edited version of this piece was first published in Ja Ja Ja Nordic on 13th November, 2015