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The Team Me couple moved home and created a cultural adventure

Four years after Elida Inman Tjørve and Uno Møller moved "home" to Åsnes, the cultural life in the municipality has reached new heights. - In many ways, it is easier to create something in the Kongsvinger region than in Oslo, says the Team Me couple.

Name: Elida Inman Tjørve and Uno Møller

When it was decided that the cultural school in Åsnes, for which Elida Inman Tjørve was acting principal at the time, would take over the Youth's cultural parade in the autumn of 2016, there were so few registered participants that the event was canceled. The contrast to the 2019 implementation is enormous, as out of a population of about 7.500 inhabitants, there were over 80 young people who participated with elements such as dance, rock and theater. The recipe for success is good leadership and comprehensive participation of children and young people.

- UKM is a free event, and I only saw opportunities when the cultural school took over the responsibility. We gathered a number of young people with us and let them help shape what the cultural pattern of the future should look like. A separate youth board was also set up, which is still involved and is planning from August the year in advance. Together we found out what we wanted and what we could achieve, explains Tjørve, who today is unit leader for culture and volunteering in Åsnes municipality.

Band debut on the BBC

However, it is not as "the brain behind the UKM success", as Elida Inman Tjørve is described by colleagues, is best known as. Tjørve is in fact one of eight band members in Team Me who already in 2011 won Spellemann for "To the Treetops", among other things together with cohabitant Uno Møller. Four years later, the group decided to set a playing point, but this year they have again been found on Norwegian stages.

- It all started in 2010. Marius Hagen and I lived in Oslo and released self-produced songs on Untouched, when suddenly one of our songs was picked out. The first edition of the band had seven members, but today only Marius and I are left of the original cast, Uno Møller explains.

Tjørve came into the picture in 2012 after growing up in Gausdal, playing the transverse flute in the corps, singing and playing in bands, going rock line at Trøndertun and being a student teacher in music. Team Me was looking for a new member, and she was invited to audition with the band at the same time as she had another band project underway.

- We met in an attic apartment in Torshov, and a few days later we performed together on BBC2 with songs I had to urgently learn, smiles Tjørve, who today can look back on several critically acclaimed albums and concerts across Europe as a Team Me member.

Found the freedom and more boltreplass

When Team Me was to record their second album, one of the group members had moved home to Elverum. The musicians began to get a little tired of Oslo, partly due to a lot of travel and a stressful everyday life in the capital, and it ended up that Elverum was chosen as the base for the recordings. Tjørve and Møller, who had then become a couple, wanted to find peace and were looking for a new place to live near the recording base.

- It was a coincidence that we moved to Åsnes, even though my mother is from here and I grew up here since I was eight years old. Here we found freedom, more fun and a more inspiring and carefree everyday life, explains Uno Møller.

After finding a random house, the couple had to start looking for a job. Among other things, Elida submitted an open application to the cultural school in Åsnes and Våler, and was quickly informed that she could get a temporary position. Thus, there was teaching at the beginning of the week and band trips on the weekends.

- Eventually we had to move, and bought a small, detached small farm on the West Side in Åsnesåsa. We have a yard, house and barn, and plenty of room to make noise, the couple says.

The basement is furnished as a studio and in the barn you can record drums. And the whole small farm is big enough to accommodate all the Team me members.

Young people being seen

Since Tjørve and Møller took root in the Kongsvinger region, they have been involved in cultural life in a number of arenas. In addition to Tjørve's contribution to the UKM success and the work as unit leader for culture and volunteering, Møller is currently working on a new solo album and is a bass and guitar teacher at the cultural school. He is eager to create interactions between young musicians, and sees that the band culture that largely died out is about to be revived.

- It is rewarding to see that young people who have been inside with something suddenly open up and show that they can do it. We work actively to get more students, and experience a very happy growth. Today, there are 127 students at the cultural school in Åsnes alone, says Uno.

- There are also very many talented teachers at the cultural school now. It's very, very good, Elida adds.

The couple notices a general increased cultural interest in Åsnes, and believes that the focus on making the offers visible has been an important factor in their success.

- The result is that we get young people who practice culture who feel that they are seen, who cheer on each other, and who understand that what they are interested in actually means something. Culture helps one to express emotions, but also creates networks and social environments. Early intervention is what helps, explains Elida Inman Tjørve.

Easier to make a difference here

A varied and active cultural life is one of the strengths of the Kongsvinger region. It is not only about children and young people, but also about larger events such as Solørmart'n, Sankthans at Kirkenær, Byfest in Kongsvinger, Morodalsfestival in Nord-Odal and Brufest and Audunbakkenfestivalen in Sør-Odal.

- A lot happens all the time, and we are lucky to have good arenas to practice culture in, say Møller and Tjørve, who could still wish for more current youth events, open stages and rehearsal places.

The couple believes that it is easier to make a difference in the Kongsvinger region than in larger cities, and believes that the UKM success is a good example of this.

- Here there are fewer offers and easier to get visibility. At the same time, it must be emphasized that there is a lot of positivity about the cultural life in the region, and that people are good at showing up, says Møller, and assures that the future of the Team Me couple is in the Kongsvinger region.

- We will stay here, and also promise more Team Me music, says Tjørve.