Engine for Gabriel is an African-inflected pop ballad recorded by Ylvis and released 1 March 2016. The song was inspired by a Kenyan man named Gabriel who wanted to build his own plane.
Ylvis began the 9 February 2016 broadcast of I Kveld Med Ylvis talking about a Kenyan IT engineer named Gabriel Nderitu, who has had a lifelong dream to build his own aircraft. They showed a news clip about Gabriel which included clips of his various planes attempting to take off. He had built 14 so far but none had successfully flown.
Their guest that night was Bjørn Kjos, the CEO of Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. Ylvis showed him the videos of Gabriel's airplanes and asked his opinion. Mr. Kjos was very impressed with Gabriel's ingenuity, and said he thought the problem was that Gabriel didn't have a powerful enough engine, noting that one of the planes appeared to be powered by a sewing machine.
I Kveld Med Ylvis, 9 Feb 2016:
Engine For Gabriel: The Campaign
On the following week's show, Ylvis mentioned the huge response they got from viewers about Gabriel's story and announced that they would be recording a song to raise money to buy a plane engine. They also invited viewers to record video clips of themselves holding a sign with the hashtag #engineforgabriel and upload them to the Engine For Gabriel website for possible inclusion in the music video.
Recording the ending of Engine for Gabriel (23 February 2016)
Engine for Gabriel: The Music Video
The music video debuted on the 1 March 2016 broadcast of I Kveld Med Ylvis. The song opened with an a cappella verse sung in Swahili, leading into a soaring ballad with African percussion and harmonies.
The video also featured Bjørn Kjos playing himself, and being rudely dismissed in the lyrics: "That's enough old man/Let's get back to our plan!"Vegard Ylvisåker sings the lead vocal on the song, backed up by Bård, Calle Hellevang-Larsen and Magnus Devold, who all appear in the video together. Parts of the video were shot in a hangar owned by Norwegian. A montage of fan clips is featured during the musical bridge before the final chorus of the song.
Giving Gabriel the news
On the final broadcast of the season, Ylvis announced that Engine for Gabriel had raised enough money to buy the plane engine and that TVNorge would pay for Gabriel to get a pilot's certificate. They talked about the difficulty they had trying to get a hold of Gabriel to tell him, and played a video of them speaking to him on Skype.