Kaizers Orchestra is a Norwegian alternative rock group formed on January 1, 2000. The two leading members, vocalist Janove Ottesen and guitarist Geir Zahl, had known each other for years, and first played together in a band called Blod, Snått & Juling (Blood, Snot & Beating) in 1989.
Kaizers Orchestra are notable for being among the first non-black metal Norwegian bands or artists singing in their native language to become popular beyond Scandinavia. To other Norwegians, the band is instantly recognizable both because of their unique, unpredictable style, and because of vocalist Ottesen’s distinctive Jæren dialect, shared by four of the other band members. Kaizers Orchestra are managed by Vox Artist manager Eivind Brydoy.
Photos Johnny Leo Johansen(c) Concert in Gamlebyen Fredrikstad 2013 for FB.
Musically, Kaizers Orchestra have explored many different genres of music, the most prominent being fast-paced gypsy rock and “Balkan brass”. They are regarded as one of Europe’s best live acts, with their 2002 Performance at Roskilde earning them several “Concert of the Year” awards, as well as “Concert of Roskilde 2002”.
For the most part, lyrics and music is written by Janove Ottesen, although Geir Zahl has also contributed many compositions. By the release of Violeta Violeta Volume 2 Geir has written 18 songs, of which three of them are co-written with Janove. He performs the vocal on seven of his songs on both the albums and live recordings.
The lyrics vary from album to album, and many of the songs’ storylines are intertwined, with recurring characters being explored during the course of several songs. This led to the upcoming musical Sonny, expected November 2011, which is based on their first 3 albums. The lyrics of Ompa til du dør consist of stories of a handful of characters involving war, the resistance, and the mafia. Their second album, Evig Pint consists of fewer characters and more focused, darker themes: life, death, betrayal, drugs, and once again, the mafia. Their third album, Maestro focuses on things happening in a mental institution and the corruption involved.
For their fourth album, Maskineri, they attempted to break their tradition and made none of the songs connected, they also stopped using characters. The songs were still stories, but they had no connection with each other or their other albums. After the release of this album they decided to release their compilation album Våre demoner, which consisted of many older songs that were cleaned up, so the lyrical content of that was similar to their first 3 albums.
Recently they have completed the Violeta Violeta trilogy. The lyrics of which are based around 5 characters, a crazy mother, Beatrice; her daughter, Violeta; her father, Kenneth, Kenneth’s brother and the girlfriend of Kenneth’s brother (an old friend of Beatrice and the maid of honor at Kenneth’s/Beatrice’s wedding); Cecilia. Violeta was taken from her mother, by her father, and the only way they can see each other is in their dreams. Janove has explained the lyrics are magic realism and they are similar to a Tim Burton film.