The death metal band “Nothnegal” is one of the newest exports of The Maldives having just returned from a hugely successful European tour involving 14 countries and 24 cities. They admit that their style of music is not everyone’s cup of tea but the facts are they have an enormous fan base, they have signed a major record contract with “Season of Mist / EMI” (one of the largest in the business) and they even have their own entry in Wikipedia!
“As young Maldivians travelling abroad, we believe that it is the duty and responsibility to be an ambassador for your country. It is not just the role of our tourism board, businessmen and President to promote our country abroad, we should unite and all play our part” said lead singer Avo. “Whether we are addressing our concert audience, a team of businessmen in a management meeting or socilaising with fans in a café we never missed an opportunity to educate people about The Maldives” added Hilarl the lead guitarist.
Q? How did Nothnegal get to be invited on such a major European tour?
Nothnegal = “Our music and performances had been eagerly followed on the internet gaining a significant following on sites such as YouTube and MySpace since 2009. This allowed us to be invited to participate but more importantly the media platform allowed us to be viewed and heard by organizers in advance”.
Q? What was the reaction when you told people you came from The Maldives?
Nothnegal = “This varied from country to country. In the core traditional markets such as France, UK, Germany, Italy and Switzerland they were aware of The Maldives and were pleasantly surprised that we had come so far to perform. In emerging markets such as Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Holland and Austria they were totally unaware of The Maldives”.
Q? How did you react to this?
Nothnegal = “We wasted no time to hand out brochures and promotional material. This was gratefully received. Unquestionably our memory will be their reaction when they saw photos of our beaches, water, islands and facilities for the first time. Most commented that they thought the photos had been artificially enhanced such was the beauty – of course we explained this was not the case. Amusingly, we had hundreds of offers for seasonal house swapping – literally every-one we met said they were determined to visit The Maldives as soon as possible”.
Q What did you learn about The Maldives as a tourism destination whilst on tour?
Nothnegal = “That we live in a fantastic country and we are very lucky to call it home. To Europeans, any tropical paradise destination is always appealing. However, what we realized is that The Maldives is no ordinary tropical destination. It has an unrivalled unique natural pristine beauty and has to be one of the most sort after destinations to visit in the world”.
Q Was there any other aspects of The Maldives you shared with the people you met?
Nothnegal = “Yes, explained that we were not just a beach and relaxation destination. The Maldives is a country of distinct culture, history and identity. The people too are like no other and we even have our own sense of humour (although we discovered that it was very close to that of the Irish). We also explained that we are a nation of great fisherman and we have also pledged to be carbon neutral by 2020. This was very warmly received”.
Q What next for Nothnegal?
Nothnegal = We are currently working on finishing our next international album, “Decadence” which is due out in the early part of this year. This has been the culmination of a lot of hard work and also keen support from fellow Maldivian sponsors such as Le Cute and Dhiraagu. Again, an example that when Maldivians unite and support each other, any-thing is possible.