Danish Music

Aqua is the best-selling Danish music group ever. Aqua is especially known for their worldwide hit Barbie Girl.
Aqua is the best-selling Danish music group ever. Aqua is especially known for their worldwide hit Barbie Girl.

The Danish music scene consists of many talented musicians and singers. Danish music is dominated by pop and rock bands. However you will find many other Danish artists, singers and musicians singing and playing jazz, hard rock, metal, techno, classical music or other music.

Aqua and other Danish pop and rock bands and solo artists

Internationally Denmark is best known for bands like Aqua, Safri Duo, Michael Learns to Rock, Nephew, Carpark North, D-A-D, Saybia, Swan Lee, The Raveonettes, Malk de Koijn, Volbeat, Kashmir, Mew, Cartoons, Infernal, Alphabeat and Trentemøller.

Aqua is the most successful pop group in Danish history. Aqua is a Danish-Norwegian pop group which enjoyed huge success in the late 90s. They are especially known for their hit song Barbie Girl. After a 6 year break the Aqua group members reunited in 2007 to record new songs.

Some of the internationally best known Danish solo artists include Medina, Aura Dione, Tina Dickow, Brian Rice, Tomas N'evergreen, Lukas Graham, Anita Lerche, Maria Montell, Fallulah, Mø, Agnes Obel, Oh Land, Ida Gard, Whigfield, Kenneth Bager, Ida Corr and Emmelie de Forest.

Danish artists singing in Danish

Many Danish bands and singers have chosen to perform in Danish. Therefore their local appeal is stronger than their international opportunities.

The best-selling and most loved Danish singers and bands include Kim Larsen, Lis Sørensen, Sanne Salomonsen, Anne Linnet, Nick & Jay, Sebastian, Shu-Bi-Dua, TV2, Gnags, Thomas Helmig, Søs Fenger, Rasmus Seebach, MC Einer, Burhan G, Sys Bjerre, Szhirley and  Zindy Laursen.

The best known songs by Danish bands and artists

Internationally Danish bands and singers have had a lot of hits. Some of the best known songs and the largest hits Danish artists have had include:

  • Barbie Girl by Aqua - Barbie Girl was a great international hit in 1997 with over 8 million sold copies. Barbie Girl is the best-selling single in Danish music history.
  • Sleeping My Day Away by D-A-D - Sleeping My Day Away was large rock hit single in 1989. Sleeping My Day Away was the International breakthrough for D-A-D. 
  • Alley Cat by Bent Fabricius-Bjerre - Alley Cat is an instrumental art which originally is from 1960. Alley Cat is still hugely popular today.
  • Saturday Night by Whigfield - Saturday Night is dance track from 1992. It was no. 1 on the UK chart for 4 weeks. This is an impressive achievement considering that Saturday Night was Whigfield's debut single.
  • Sunshine Reggae by Laid Back - Sunshine Reggae is a feel good track which enjoyed huge success in 1983. Sunshine Reggae is still played frequently today. Different DJ's have also remixed Sunshine Reggae.
  • From Paris to Berlin by Infernal - From Paris to Berlin is a techno track from 2005. Infernal's song reached high chart positions all over Europe and in Australia.
  • The Spell by Alfabeat - The Spell is a up-beat dance track from 2009. If was hugely popular around Europe and sparked Alfabeat's international success.
  • Fly on the Wings of Love by Olsen Brothers - Fly on the Wings of Love convincingly won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000. The Olsen Brothers secured the second victory for Denmark in the song contest.
  • Only Teardrops by Emmelie de Forest - Emmelie de Forest won the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest with her melodic pop song Only Teardrops. This was the second time in a row that Denmark won the contest when hosted in Sweden. 

Many other songs performed by Danish artists or written by Danish song writers have enjoyed international success.

Classical music by Danish composers

Carl Nielsen is the best known Danish classical music composer. Carl Nielsen is known for his six symphonies, music composing for the Mascarade Opera and the Helios Overture.

Niels W. Gade is another popular Danish composer which music is still played around the world today. The Elf King's Daughter (Elverskud) by Niels W. Gade is one of the best known classical Danish music pieces.

H.C. Lumbye is as great Danish composer and music conductor. H.C. Lumbye is especially known for the sparkling composition of the Champagne Gallop (Champagnegaloppen).

Cool jazz in Denmark

The brothers Niels Lan Doky and Chris Minh Doky are the best known Danish jazz musicians. Caroline Henderson and Cæcilie Norby are among the best known Danish jazz singers.

Jazz is very popular in Denmark. Each year the Copenhagen Jazz Festival attracts the largest jazz stars in the world. The Copenhagen Jazz Festival makes is possible for jazz lovers to enjoy cool jazz music in different locations all around Copenhagen.

Danish hard rock

You will find a lot of hard rock bands in Denmark. The internationally most successful Danish hard rock band is probably D-A-D. Most Danish rock bands play smaller concerts at local clubs or at private parties.

The Danish drummer Lars Ulrich is known worldwide. He is the co-founder of and drummer in the hugely successful American thrash metal band Metallica. Lars Ulrich is considered to be the most successful Danish musician and one of the best drummers in the world.

Roskilde Festival and other music events in Denmark

Each year the Roskilde Festival attracts huge crowds. At the festival you will find famous international rock stars and rock bands performing. At the Roskilde Festival many other less famous bands are playing concerts for the many festival guests.

In general music festivals are hugely popular in Denmark. In the summertime you will find many out-door festivals taking place. All kinds of concerts with different music genres are taking place in Denmark all year round. Here you can enjoy great Danish musicians as well as international stars.

Becoming a music star

Just as in many other countries many young people in Denmark hope and dream of becoming a music star. Many attend the hugely popular TV-shows in order to be discovered by the public. However most successful music stars in Denmark have taken a different way to stardom.

It takes time, effort, talent and luck to become a music star. Sometimes this is not even enough. Music stars often use their looks, dance acts and costumes to attract attention to themselves and their music.

Studying music in Denmark

In Denmark many children attend piano, music or singing lessons from an early age. Many of the most passionate music lovers then choose to attend music schools. Only a few and the most talented will then be able to attend The Royal Danish Academy of Music.

The Royal Danish Academy of Music offers a broad range of music study programs. The Academy of Music educates musicians, singers, composers, recording directors, church musicians and music teachers. Many foreign students follow the hugely popular education at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Updated: 19 May 2013

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Denmark's Eurovision Song Contest Winner

Emmelie de Forest - Only Teardrops

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