New Savoy album: ‘See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown’

New publicity photo by Jason Brandenberg

The new Savoy album is called See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown and is scheduled for release on 12 January. First single “Night Watch” is coming on 24 November. See the single and album covers on the Savoy Facebook page.

Savoy have signed with Oslo-based Drabant Music for this album, the same record label that released the Waaktaar & Zoe album earlier this year.

In a new interview with Dagbladet today, Paul and Lauren reveal that Augie moved to California this summer to study, which means they now have more time to focus on the band.

“We have time to fill. We were “football parents” for 15 years, with lots to do all the time. Now there’s a void”, Paul says.

“I don’t want to be moping about an “empty nest”. It feels like a kick in the butt when your kid leaves home. Suddenly you have more capacity to do the things you want”, Lauren says.

According to Dagbladet there’s a clearer connection between Savoy and a-ha on the new album. Lauren says that’s partly because of the massive Moog-synth in their home studio:

“While Paul has a dark dimension as a composer, he is also good at making dance music. I call it “dark dance”, which I think is something new for us. Just like the album title we’re mixing ugliness with beauty, darkness with light.”

The interview also mentions the fact that since Savoy last released music, a new Brooklyn-based band with the same name has garnered some attention in the US:

“I couldn’t believe it. We take a little break, and these guys show up. But she’s the real Savoy”, Paul says with a laugh and nods towards his wife.

He admits that it’s annoying, but says there’s no use in suing them.

As for the album title See The Beauty In Your Drab Hometown, Paul says that it doesn’t refer to Oslo, New York or Bergen, but something more abstract:

“Maybe it’s Manglerud – he he. No, I think it’s more about the grass always being greener on the other side. The point is that you have to be actively looking for beauty. It’s easy to dismiss it – and sometimes you don’t even have the chance to go somewhere else.”

Savoy are now also on Twitter. You can follow the band here.

Twelve new dates announced for a-ha’s ‘Electric Summer’ tour 2018

Another batch of ‘Electric Summer’ 2018 tour dates have been announced today, including a stadium tour in England, their first concerts in Sweden and Estonia since 2002, and their first ever concert in Israel.

07 June: The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury, UK
09 June: Huish Park, Yeovil, UK
10 June: Cambs Glass Stadium, Cambridge, UK
14 June: Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, UK
16 June: Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, UK
17 June: Mowden Park, Darlington, UK
21 June: Exhibition Gardens, Tel Aviv, Israel

04 July: Dalhalla, Rättvik, Sweden
16 July: Trakai Castle, Trakai, Lithuania
17 July: Sigulda Castle, Sigulda, Latvia
19 July: Tartu Song Festival Grounds, Tartu, Estonia
25 July: Theatre Antique de Vienne, Vienne, France

Support acts in the UK will be OMD and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey. One exception is the concert in Yeovil, where Marc Almond will appear instead of OMD.

For more details and ticket info, visit the official a-ha site.

The Voice: Fifth live show

Martin Bjercke and Morten on The Voice, November 10th

Here are the eight performances from the The Voice on November 10th:

1. Andrea Santiago Stønjum: “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande
2. Sebastian James Hekneby: “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan
3. Elise Nærø: “Send My Love” by Adele
4. August Dahl: “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
5. Ingeborg Walther: “Hide Away” by Daya
6. Agnes Stock: “Some Die Young” by Laleh
7. Malin Joneid Ellefsen: “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato
8. Thomas Løseth: “Let Me Hold You” by Josh Krajcik

Funnily enough, two of the songs have previously been covered by Morten; “Forever Young” and “A Change is Gonna Come”.

The one who ended up with the least votes from the viewers turned out to be Ingeborg. So this means that Sebastian is the only talent remaining on Team Morten.

“This feels wrong, and I disagree with the viewers”, Morten told TV2 with a smile after the show. “There’s a lot of potential in Ingeborg, but this is how the game works.”

Magne Furuholmen appointed honorary doctor at the University of Agder

Now also an honorary doctor

In connection with its 10th anniversary, the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway, has appointed Magne Furuholmen as one of five new honorary doctors. The recipients are given the honorary doctorates for their “significant scientific or artistic efforts”.

An article on the university website states:

“Magne Furuholmen is one of Norway’s most recognized and versatile artists. He is an innovative and genre-defying artist, and a person that both our staff members and students are inspired by.

With his large international and national network, his wide experience and artistic qualities within several fields of art, he will be a valuable asset for both the University of Agder and our Faculty of Fine Arts.”

When collaborating with the university, Magne will probably be working closely with Karl Oluf Wennerberg, who – in addition to being the drummer for Magne, Apparatjik and a-ha – is an Associate Professor at the Department of Popular Music.

The five honorary doctors will attend the University of Agder’s 10th anniversary celebration at Kilden concert house in Kristiansand on 28 November.

Magne has previously been a guest professor at the The College of Fine Arts in Shanghai, China and is an honorary mentor at the Gutenberg Academy in Germany. He has also hosted workshops at the Hanoi University of Fine Art in Vietnam, at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Germany and at the Trondheim Academy of Fine Art in Norway.

In other news, Magne and Queen Sonja were in Aarhus, Denmark on Thursday this week, for the opening of another of their joint Texture exhibitions.

The exhibition at Galerie MøllerWitt in Aarhus received quite a bit of coverage in the Danish press, and here are some links:

DR: Dronning Sonja udstiller med norsk popstjerne
Horsens Folkeblad: Dronningen og popkongen åbnede udstilling i Aarhus
Jyllands-Posten: Norges dronning i fælles kunstprojekt med popmusiker
Lokalavisen Aarhus: Dronningen og A-ha-stjerne viser kunst i Aarhus
Århus Stiftstidende: Rift om Dronning Sonjas kunst
Kongehuset.no: “Texture” i Århus

The Voice: Fourth live show

Morten on The Voice, 3 November

This Friday’s episode of The Voice was another live show where two talents from each team competed against each other in duels:

Team Lene
Olaves Fiskum: “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails
Agnes Stock: “Selmas sang” by Eva Weel Skram

Team Yosef
Andrea Santiago Stønjum: “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac
Jeremaya John: “Love Me” by Wide Awake

Team Morten
Knut Kippersrud Nesdal: “Believe” by Cher
Ingeborg Walther: “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

Team Martin
Magnus Bokn: “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
Elise Nærø: “When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta

“They both have such control and musicality, and really deserve to be standing on this stage. And they have every chance to continue onto other stages, if that’s something they want to pursue”, Morten said after Knut and Ingeborg had performed.

The four talents that received the most votes from the viewers ended up being Agnes, Andrea, Ingeborg and Elise. Instagram photos from after the show include Morten and Ingeborg and the mentors and Friday’s winners.

Magne: “The tour keeps growing”

Magne promises an “electric summer”

When tickets for the a-ha concert in Hamar were released on Tuesday, 8,000 out of 10,000 available tickets were sold within a short time.

“It’s good to hear the tickets are selling well. And it’s nice to be playing somewhere we haven’t been before. Hamar has built a good reputation as a city for concerts, and has had visits from both Sting and Elton John lately. It’s really fun to be a part of establishing and building new, solid venues for people to experience live music”, Magne says in an interview with Hamar Arbeiderblad (paywall).

Although only five summer concerts in Norway have been announced so far, a lot more shows will be added in other countries:

“We’re doing a small unplugged tour in Europe early next year, which has lead to a lot of requests for a summer tour. So we decided to set aside the summer for touring, which has since been extended in both ends. The tour keeps changing and growing from day to day.”

But, as we know, the summer tour will not be unplugged:

“The two concerts [at Giske] formed the basis for the [MTV Unplugged] recording and TV-special, but we’re not sure if we’ll keep touring with that concept. Those are vulnerable instruments that are difficult to bring on tour. It’s a somewhat more demanding format, and with less energy than a fully electric show. We did some pondering if we should continue unplugged, or if we’d celebrate the summer with full power. We’ll be playing a number of football stadium concerts in the UK next summer, which naturally means we’re doing a full ‘electric summer’.”

“We have expanded our backing band for the unplugged tour, and we’ll keep going with a larger band. There will be full power at Hamar. We’re coming to create a good vibe, as best we can”, Magne says.

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