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Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts

Norwegian pop duo Nico & Vinz have jumped to fourth place on the US's Billboard hit list, with their song Am I Wrong? putting them within reach of following A-ha to the second-ever Norwegian US number one.

Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Nico Sereba (left) and Vincent Dery (right). Photo: Official website
Nicolay Sereba and Vincent Dery have now beaten the incredible achievement of comedy duo Ylvis, who last year reached sixth place with their viral YouTube hit The Fox. 
 
"This feels great! Words can not describe how lucky we feel and how grateful we are for the support we receive from fans around the world!" the duo wrote in an email to VG after learning of their new position. 
 
"No. 4 on BILLBOOOARD! This is so big for us! Just Whaaat??? now FOUR! Pinch me!" the duo tweeted. 
 
Norwegian brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker in November became the second Norwegian artist to make the Billboard top 100 since A-ha's 1985 number one. So to have their record followed up so quickly by another act is an enormous achievement for Norway's pop industry. 
 
"A-ha will always be the ones who were first, but Nico & Vinz may be greatest," VG's music critic Thomas Talseth said. "Norwegian pop history as written as we speak". 
 
The duo, who were previously called Envy, are deliberately retro, describing their sound as somewhere between Paul Simon's Graceland and The Police.T hey changed the name when they were signed to Warner Brothers in January. 
 
Although both were brought up in Norway, Sereba's  parents are from the Cote d'Ivoire and Vincent Dery's from Ghana. 
 
The duo wrote the song when they were still called Envy along with Norwegian producer William "Nasty Kutt" Wiik Larsen, who also works with the Norwegian rap group Karpe Diem. 
 
Here's the song, with the official video filmed in Botswana by Kavar Singh. 

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MUSIC

GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway

How many artists have serenaded Norway in song? Richard Orange scours YouTube and Spotify to find ten great tracks, one of which is little more than an angry stream of obscenities.

GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Norway popster Maya Vik from the video Oslo Knows. Photo: Screen grab/YouTube
Bruce Springsteen's longtime guitarist Steve Van Zandt, or 'Little Steven', is so captivated by Norway's music scene that he set up a record label just to sign up Norwegian bands.   So far he's signed up four, the most famous being the all-girl punk outfit Cocktail Slippers. 
 
"Who knows why but Scandinavia is the rock ’n’ roll capital of the modern world," he maintains. 
 
This month saw Oslo pop duo Nico & Vinz reach number four on the US charts, the second year in a row a Norwegian act has hit the Billboard top ten.  Last year, Ylvis's YouTube smash The Fox peaked at number six. 
 
But how has Norway gone down among international rock acts. Not always so well, judging by Half Man Half Biscuit's sweary diatribe, Stavanger Töestub (with its confusing Swedish accent), or by Velvet Underground founder John Cale's song about escaping the country, or indeed by Of Montreal's description of sleepless summer nights.
 
Norwegian bands, on the other hand, tend to dismiss Oslo as a small-town backwater.  Somehow, though, it all adds up to some pretty good music. 

LOOK AND LISTEN: Ten Great Songs about Norway

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