Danish dance hit "Calabria" by Enur has lived many lives since it was first created as an all-instrumental club track in 2002.Danish dance hit "Calabria" by Enur has lived many lives since it was first created as an all-instrumental club track in 2002.
Copenhagen DJ/producer Rune Reilly Kolsch (aka Rune) quickly scored an Ibiza hit with the bouncy sax-driven hip shaker in 2003. In 2006, Rune's half-brother Johannes Torpe, with whom he forms the electronic duo Artifical Funk, thought to add vocals by half-Jamaican, half-Danish dancehall singer Natasja Saad. The producers licensed the new version to London label Ministry of Sound under the name Enur (Rune's name spelled backwards).
Though MOS also released a remake of the song (by DJ Alex Gaudino featuring Crystal Waters), Enur's "Calabria 2007" went to No. 29 on the European Hot 100 singles chart and, most recently, made it American shores via New York dance label Ultra Records. "Calabria 2008," as it is now known, stands at No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, and has gained support from mainstream and rhythmic top 40, dance and Latin radio. (Indie rapper Pitbull's current charting single, "The Anthem," also samples "Calabria.")
"The whole rhythm aspect has always been the thing that fascinated me the most about producing records," Rune tells Billboard.com from Denmark. "The reggaeton feel came quite naturally because it's such a universal rhythm - also with what has been coming out of Jamaica lately, dancehall is moving faster and faster, and it is so easy to incorporate in music." The one-time hip-hop producer's MySpace page also reveals he got into electronic work when he was "fed up with blunt smoking lazy rappers that never showed up on time for sessions."
In a sad twist, featured singer Natasja -- whose understatedly sexy patois was gaining recognition on both sides of the Atlantic -- died in a car accident in Jamaica last summer.
"She had been working for so many years to try and break through," says Rune. "It's even more horrible to think [that] her music has become such a hit now, and she didn't get to experience that."
But the song's house- and dancehall-blending beat goes on, most recently with a re-mix released by Ultra Records featuring New York rapper Mims.
"Apparently it was a big hit in hip-hop clubs in New York for quite a while, which is also kind of weird because it's kind of uptempo for a hip-hop record," says Rune.
The Caribbean and soul influences will be prominently featured on the next Enur album. Another album from Artifical Funk is due in 2008; the duo was also handpicked as judges for Scandinavian turntable competition "MTV Selected."
Rune and Torpe also have their own electronic and house label, Arti Farti, and spend time designing everything from furniture to tableware and accessories in their "spare" time.
As for the success of "Calabria," "it's had a quite a lifespan," Rune says. "It was never planned. That's the beauty of it. Making hits is easy. Making something truly interesting, that is my goal with all this."