American Singer Challenges Denmark With Pop Song
Song says "integration, schmintegration". Denmark really just wants you to love it - and leave it
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Oct. 9, 2012 /CNW/ - It is undoubtedly the catchiest immigration policy protest you've ever heard. The debate around Denmark's foreigner-unfriendly disposition has recently resurfaced with some new faces, and now there's a new sound. Faced with the possibility of being kicked out of the country at the end of the year, American citizen/singer-songwriter Rapha Bergdís has released the aptly titled "My Visa's Running Out" with a video on YouTube. The pop tune cheekily challenges the hopelessly high barriers to both integration and immigration, and leaves the question "who exactly is welcome here, besides tourists?" hanging in the air.
Denmark, especially Copenhagen, has been getting a lot of notoriety of late as a happening place to be, with recent international hits in cuisine, TV dramas, happiness indexes and fashion. But foreigners looking to settle in H.C. Andersen's home country beware, the fairy tale quickly turns dystopian. In comparison to its European neighbors, Denmark presents some of the toughest obstacles for immigrants to overcome such as social integration barriers, strict, ever-changing immigration laws, ill-informed bureaucratic immigration service and a sense of feeling unwelcome. The sharp contrast between foreign visitor versus resident experience in the image-conscious country has been kept out of the international spotlight.
"This song is me reflecting on the possibility of my own mortality as a Danish resident", Rapha Bergdís explains, "I'm flaunting my 'immigrant résumé' to Denmark, saying 'Here is home now. I've become the poster child for your ideal alien. It really will never be good enough, will it?' It's a song for the thousands of foreigners here whose stories and circumstances are worse than mine, as further consolation. Even looking the part doesn't help - on the whole society, these laws make me feel unwelcome too."
Rapha weaves in examples of her personal cultural integration throughout the song and video. Take the lyrics "Fik tolv i Prøve i Dansk 3 / Sing along to 'Nik og Jay'", the first part of which translates to "I aced the official Danish language test". This refers to meeting the societal demand of speaking with almost no accent, and singing along with Denmark's glam-rap/pop superstar duo Nik & Jay, whose songs are favorite party tunes for natives, to boot. The video showcases Rapha psyching herself up for a Copenhagen night out, proving her Danish-ness to locals.
"'My Visa' is a new, above all entertaining way to reach many with, what is here at any rate, an old message. Denmark's a party, and you're not invited. Why not have an upbeat anthem to go along with that notion? Danes can also appreciate the humor there. Who knows, maybe it will even get stuck in the right people's heads."
Born in a suburb of Buffalo, NY, twenty-something Rapha has lived abroad for the past ten years and in Denmark for the last four. This isn't the first time she's made a splash with music overseas: she wrote a song in Brazil for a popular soap opera that became the female lead's theme. As "My Visa's" opening line states, she legally changed her name to Raphaëlle. The moonlighting singer-songwriter has reluctantly been relying on corporate jobs to secure her European residence permits. Getting downsized recently put Denmark's foreigner-aversion, as well as her own priorities, in sharp focus.
Follow-up videos will be coming soon.
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