Archive for 2009

Stavanger video clip + German TV-ad

Morten performing at EVS 24

Morten performing at EVS 24

Stavanger Aftenblad has a video clip where you can see Morten performing “A Change Is Gonna Come” as part of EVS 24 at Stavanger Forum earlier today.

Among the audience were Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and Prince Albert of Monaco.

Morten recorded his own version of this Sam Cooke-classic back in 1995, and has performed it live a few times since then.

From the TV-ad

From the TV-ad

A new TV-ad for “Foot Of The Mountain” is being shown on German TV at the moment. There isn’t any new footage in the ad, but it’s good to see some promotion going on. The TV-ad can be seen here.

Universal Germany has also set up a new official site in connection with the new album:
www.footofthemountain.de

Morten at EVS 24 in Stavanger + video news

"I'm interested in all kinds of new environmental technology", Morten says. Here with Harald Røstvik at StatoilHydro's stand.

“I’m interested in all kinds of new environmental technology”,
Morten says. Here with Harald Røstvik at StatoilHydro’s stand.

Morten is currently at EVS 24 (a world congress and exhibition for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles), which is being held in Stavanger, Norway this year.

As previously reported, he is scheduled to do a short live performance tomorrow morning. But he will also do a longer set tonight, according to Stavanger Aftenblad.

VG talked to Morten earlier today, as he was given a private tour of the exhibition area to see new environmental technology.

Our society is so slow. The environmental problems that we’re concerned about today are more or less the same things we already knew about 25 years ago. We could have taken the necessary measures back then“, Morten told VG.

In 1989, Morten together with Magne Furuholmen, Harald Røstvik and the environmental foundation Bellona, brought the first electric car to Norway.

But he feels that there hasn’t been enough development happening since then.

Things are still not sufficiently facilitated [for electric cars]. What matters is what the rest of the world and Norway does. There needs to be a pressure from the government which can lead to better environmental technology in cars.

 
In other news, some of you have been wondering if there will be a music video for “Foot Of The Mountain”. It has now been confirmed that they will be shooting the video next week in Germany.

Watch Morten and Pia

Morten and Pia Tjelta on stage, May 7th

Morten and Pia Tjelta on stage, May 7th

Morten and actress Pia Tjelta, accompanied by Kjetil Bjerkestrand on piano, performed the Everly Brothers song “Let It Be Me” at the opening of Eger shopping center in Oslo tonight.

Morten told Dagbladet that they had recently performed the song together at a private party, and when Pia later sent him a text message and asked if he wanted to perform it again at tonight’s opening he was impressed by her initiative.

Morten and Pia

Morten and Pia

Pia is easy to work with and eager to accomplish things. She is curious in a good way“, Morten said of his duet partner.

Morten has performed “Let It Be Me” alone and together with others many times before.

When asked today why this particular tune was chosen, Morten said:
The guitar I’m playing was a gift from Phil Everly. I sometimes use that as an explanation [for playing “Let It Be Me”]. And this is an Everly Brothers classic. It’s actually an even older French song. But they made it famous. And it’s always been a good song.

Videos of the performance and video interviews with Morten and Pia can be seen at VG.no and Dagbladet.no.

Morten to sing with Pia Tjelta

Morten and Pia Tjelta

Morten and Pia Tjelta

VG reports that Morten Harket and Pia Tjelta will appear on stage together for the first time on Thursday night (May 7th).

They will perform a duet at the opening of Eger shopping center at Egertorget in Oslo

It’s correct that Morten and Pia will be singing together. But what they’ll be singing is still a secret“, organizer Runar Vatne tells VG.

31-year-old Pia Tjelta is one of Norway’s most popular actresses, known from numerous roles in films and on stage. But like Morten, she started out in a Ten Sing choir and has also been singing with various bands. Tjelta is currently doing the musical Les Miserables in Oslo.

Morten to perform in Stavanger

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Morten is set to appear at EVS 24 – The 24th International Battery, Hybrid & Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition, which is being held in Stavanger from 13 – 16 May.

He will be performing a few songs live at the Stavanger Forum conference centre on May 14th. According to the program on the event’s website, a ten-minute performance has been scheduled between 10:30-10:40.

EVS 24 is a world congress and exhibition for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, with participants from 40 countries. Among the celebrities attending are Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and Prince Albert of Monaco.

Harald Røstvik, who is the chairman of the organising committee, is a good friend of Morten and they have worked together on renewable energy projects in the past.

In other news, it has been confirmed that Morten and his girlfriend Inez will be contestants on the UK game show All Star Mr & Mrs, which airs on ITV1.

The show was taped on 25 April, but the exact air date is not yet known.

Concert dates, album title and more

Magne and Morten in Chiswick, London last night

Magne and Morten in Chiswick, London last night

The upcoming concert dates in Germany and Norway are revealed in an interview with Magne and Morten in today’s paper edition of VG.

And the album title will be the same as the single: Foot Of The Mountain.

Read all the details plus Magne and Morten’s refreshing take on Norwegian journalists in a translation of the interview here.

Harald Wiik on “Foot of the Mountain” and concerts in Norway

a-ha manager Harald Wiik talks to Dagsavisen in another interview today. Here’s parts of it translated:

—————–
It only took a few hours from a-ha had finished their new single, until it had been sent to radio stations across Europe. The band is now planning a new album and a big concert in Oslo.

On Thursday night a-ha were satisfied with a version of the new song “Foot Of The Mountain”. On Friday morning Harald Wiik brought the song to the Universal office – who liked the song so much that they decided to send it out as a single immediately. On Friday afternoon the song premiered on Norwegian radio – and was at the same time sent out to radio stations across the whole of Europe.

This is the right way of doing it in 2009. There was demand for a new a-ha single from radio stations all over Europe. That’s why we decided to distribute it immediately“, a-ha manager Harald Wiik says.

The quick release came as a surprise to many people, including Wiik himself, who didn’t have more details about the new album ready for publication when the song was distributed yesterday.

The name of the album has not been decided yet, but we’re assuming that it will be released on 19 June“, Wiik says.

The album will be released simultaneously in more than 20 European countries.

(…)

During the autumn, they are planning several big concerts in Norway.

We have had many offers to do concerts in Norway, and they will be confirmed within the next week. There will be concerts in Oslo sometime in October/November“, Harald Wiik says.
—————–

New a-ha single – “Foot Of The Mountain”

Single cover

Single cover

In a surprising move, a-ha and Universal Music decided to release the first single from the new album to radio stations in Norway today.

They are currently in the studio, and the single was finished last night“, a-ha manager Harald Wiik tells Dagbladet. “We have to turn around quickly, that’s how it’s become in this business“.

We took a decision very quickly, and saw no reason to wait“, he adds to Bergens Tidende.

“Foot Of The Mountain” was written by Magne and Paul, and is basically Magne’s solo song “The Longest Night” from 2008 with a new chorus.
It’s been produced by Roland Spremberg, who co-produced Minor Earth | Major Sky back in 2000. The mixing was done by Steve Osborne at Real World Studios and it was mastered at Metropolis in London.

The single will be available to buy on either 4 May or 11 May, I think. And the new album is set to be released on 22 June“, Wiik says.

a-ha will continue to work on the new album, using studios in Oslo, Stockholm og New York.

The press release is available on a-ha.com, and “Foot Of The Mountain” can be heard here.

 
In other news, a-ha will appear on a few German TV-shows next month – presumably performing the new single:

22 May: “The Dome”, RTL2 (taped in Munich)
30 May: “Germany’s next Topmodel” – final, Pro7 (taped in Cologne)

Single and tour update

Jenn on the German forum provided a few updates today (loosely translated):

– The first single is not one of the three songs that have been performed live.
But the song title is yet to be confirmed. Info about the radio premiere will hopefully follow soon.

-The German tour dates for October have now been set, and will be announced at the beginning of May.

Santiago concert

a-ha in Santiago (Picture by Carlos Muller)

a-ha in Santiago
(Picture by Carlos Muller)

a-ha played the last concert of their South American mini-tour yesterday, when they headlined the fifth day of the Pepsi Music Festival in Santiago, Chile, playing for an audience of more than 14.000 people at the Movistar Arena.

After Blondie and Rick Astley had finished their sets, a-ha came on stage after midnight.

A short video clip of “Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale” can be seen on the website of Terra TV. And here is a HD clip of “I’ve Been Losing You”.

More pictures from the concert are available on Flickr, here and here.

And another video report from Brazil earlier in the week is now up on YouTube.

Rio concert

Paul on stage in Rio

Paul on stage in Rio

a-ha played at the Citibank Hall in Rio de Janeiro last night. The setlist was the same as in Sao Paulo.

A Twitter message from the band after the show said: “Great audience tonight! Helped us to get over technical problems! Hope you njoyd anyway.. Night night!“.

Large parts of the concerts can now be found on YouTube. A user called “cybertechno” has uploaded many video clips here.

Links to Rio reviews and pictures:
A-HA relembra sucessos e baladas em show no Rio
A-Ha faz show pasteurizado para seis mil pessoas no Rio
A-ha se apresenta para publico carioca

A HD-quality video clip of the elusive new song “What There Is” is now finally up on YouTube. The song uses the melody from Timbersound’s “Ti Kniver i Hjertet” movie theme from 1994.

TV Norge had a small report from the Rio concert in the Friday edition of “Spotlight”, which can be seen here (starts after 4.25 minutes).

And a Sao Paulo interview with a-ha (in English) from TV Amaury is available here (starts after 2.30 minutes).

From Sao Paulo to Rio

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The Brazilian press has been following the band closely in the last few days. Here they are meeting fans outside their hotel in Sao Paulo yesterday:
Integrantes da banda A-Ha sao cercados por fas na saida do hotel

And arriving at the airport in Rio earlier today:
Integrantes do grupo A-Ha ja estao no Rio de Janeiro

Sao Paulo concert

Morten on stage at the Credicard Hall

Morten on stage at the Credicard Hall

a-ha performed 22 songs at last night’s concert at the Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, before an audience of 7500 people.

Of particular interest; “I Dream Myself Alive” was played live for the first time since 1987, last year’s two new songs “Riding The Crest” and “Shadowside” were played again, and another new song called “What There Is” was performed live for the first time.

“Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale”, with Edvard Grieg’s “Morgenstemning” as an intro, was also an unusual opener. This is how a-ha entered the stage:

The complete setlist can be found here.

Many other videos have already been uploaded to YouTube. Here are links to some of them:
The Blood That Moves The Body
I’ve Been Losing You
Riding The Crest/Shadowside
I Dream Myself Alive
Hunting High And Low
Train Of Thought
Stay On These Roads
Forever Not Yours
Crying In The Rain
Take On Me

TV report

More TV interviews

Taking a break from rehearsals

Taking a break from rehearsals

a-ha are interviewed by Globo TV during rehearsals in Sao Paulo. Watch the video clip here.

Another interview from TV Cultura can be seen here. Paul again talks about the new album, and says that September is “the official release date”.

Tonight’s concert at the Credicard Hall is sold out. Check back here tomorrow for the setlist and other info.

The band will also be providing updates on Twitter this week. Here is the link.

Pictures from Sao Paulo

Morten signs autographs outside their hotel in Sao Paulo, while leaving the others to wait in the car. What else is new? 🙂

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Larger pictures can be found here, here, here and here.

Interview in Brazil

a-ha have arrived in Brazil, and are interviewed by Terra TV. Watch the interview here. Paul reveals that the new album won’t be out until September, but that’s to be expected in a-ha-land.

a-ha in São Paulo

a-ha in São Paulo

Brazilian fan Kemeniel has kindly written down a rough translation of the interview:

—————–
The Norwegian band a-ha is here for the fourth time. The gigs will take place on Wednesday in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Morten, Paul and Mags are already in our country and they were interviewed by Terra in a hotel here in São Paulo.

Q: And… About your return to Brazil, what can the Brazilian audience expect at these gigs?

Mags: New version of the songs. We tested some new electronic support and we are really excited because it will be something really different from what we used to do for years. We have a different backing band with us.

Q: Tell us about your memories related to Brazil.

Mags: Only good memories. Fantastic memories. Gigs in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are part of a-ha’s history, which made it easier to say “yes” when we were invited to come to Brazil.

Q: Now we are talking right to an internet audience. What does the internet represent to you all on a day-by-day basis?

Morten: It’s just a major arena. You have to work with it, like it or not because it’s an excellent way to reach the fans. And besides that, it helped to change the way you work with music.

Q: After all these years, is there any place where you would like to play?

Morten: We have never played in China. We have never played in Mexico. Not in India. There are actually many places where we haven’t played. There’s not a good reason why we haven’t, it’s just happened that way.

The guitarman Paul Savoy revealed something that the audience is really looking forward to.

Paul: We are in the end of the process for our new CD. It will be done probably in September, after some years working on it.

Q: Do you prefer to play the old or the new songs?

Paul: You know, the fans want to hear one thing, and we have an idea of what we would like them to hear. You just have to find a balance

A balance liked by the Brazilian fans and which made all tickets for São Paulo Gig being sold out much sooner than expected. If you want to watch the immortalized 80’s idols, don’t waste your time, there are still some tickets for Rio de Janeiro concert.
—————–

UK tour dates announced

a-ha.com has announced the first dates of the 2009 European Tour. They are as follows:

2 November: National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, UK
3 November: MEN Arena, Manchester, UK
4 November: O2 Arena, London, UK

The a-ha.com presale starts on Wednesday, March 25th. More details can be found here.

The names of a-ha’s new backing musicians have also been revealed today. Erik Ljunggren (Seigmen, Zeromancer) on keyboards, bass and programming, and Karl Oluf Wennerberg (Dreampilots, Magne F) on drums.

More concert dates, including a German tour in October, are expected soon.

Tour announcement coming soon

Info from a-ha.com:

We’ll be making an announcement next week regarding some new dates for a-ha. We’ll also be letting you know about our a-ha.com members’ best seat presales. Make sure you get the news as soon as it’s announced by signing up to the mailing list.

a-ha sign new promotional contract

The German broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 has signed a new contract with a-ha and their record company Universal to co-operate on concerts and TV-appearances in European countries where ProSiebenSat.1 is represented. This is in connection with the upcoming a-ha album, which is expected to be released in June.

German TV stations owned by ProSiebenSat.1 include SAT.1, Kabel 1, N24, and 9Live.
In Norway, ProSiebenSat.1 owns the TV and radio stations TVNorge, FEM, The Voice, Radio Norge, Radio 1 and The Voice Radio.

They also own TV and radio stations in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and Hungary.

This is the first European-wide music deal of this type between ProSiebenSat.1 and Universal. Last year they formed a new label called “We love Music”.

An article in German can be found here.

Big changes in a-ha’s live concept

Left to right: Sven Lindvall, Per Lindvall and Christer Karlsson.

Left to right: Sven Lindvall, Per Lindvall and Christer Karlsson.

The Swedish musicians Per Lindvall (drums), Sven Lindvall (bass) and Christer Karlsson (keyboard) have been a-ha’s regular backing band since 2000.

But in different e-mails to Brazilian fans, the Lindvall brothers reveal that they won’t be playing with a-ha in 2009.

Per writes:
No, the Swedes are not backing A-HA anymore. A-HA are trying a new concept. Less live playing and more programmed stuff. So – unfortunatly we are not coming to Brasil. Maybe with another band sometimes!

His brother Sven also writes:
I’m sorry, Per, me and Christer are not playing with A-ha this year. They’re heading for a different sound and production. We’re all good friends and the swedish backing band wishes them all the best and lots of success. Maybe we will play together later, but not this year.

It is not known whether a-ha will bring in some new musicians, or rely mostly on pre-programmed rhythms instead of bass and drums – as the Lindvall brothers seem to indicate.

Apparatjik recording new album

From the Apparatjik website

From the Apparatjik website

Apparatjik – Magne’s side project comprised of himself, Guy Berryman (Coldplay), Jonas Bjerre (Mew) and Martin Terefe (Kensaltown producer) – recorded the song “Ferreting” for the Songs for Survival charity album in connection with Bruce Parry’s Amazon BBC TV-series last year.

Now they are currently working on a full Apparatjik album. The clothing designers in Moods Of Norway recently visited the members at a cabin somewhere in Norway, where they were busy recording the new album. A few pictures from the visit can be seen on the Moods Of Norway blog:

Magne from Aha is showing us the studio (16 Jan. 09)
Moods is hitting the studio (16 Jan. 09)
Emailing: DSC00373 (16 Jan. 09)

No release date or any further details about the new album have been announced so far. And it remains to be seen if the Apparatjik album will be released before or after the new a-ha album.

But the official Apparatjik website was updated this week, with a bunch of heavily pixelated images, a sound clip and some random quotes. There are also official Apparatjik pages on Facebook and Twitter.

BTW, the Moods Of Norway blog also includes a few older items of interest:

Martin, Magne and Jonas with Elton John:
Magne from Aha looking sharp (17 Dec. 08)

The Moods guys hanging out with Magne and Morten in New York last fall:
Morten and Sim at Indochine (6 Oct. 08)
Aha in Soho (6 Oct. 08)

a-ha return to South America

a-ha have announced that they will be performing three concerts in Brazil and Chile in March. These are the first concerts in Brazil since 2002, while they last visited Chile in 2006. Here are the confirmed dates and venues:

25 March: Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil
26 March: Citibank Hall, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
28 March: Pepsi Music Festival, Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile

a-ha in Porto Alegre, Brazil (August 2002)

a-ha in Porto Alegre, Brazil (August 2002)

“South America and a-ha have had a long-lasting love affair, but it hasn’t always been the right time to go there. This is the right time”, a-ha manager Harald Wiik says about the upcoming concerts in a VG interview.

He also says that this will be an early start of the next a-ha period, which also includes tours in other parts of the world and not least a new album.

“The album is now scheduled for release on 19 June, but that may be subject to change”, Wiik reveals. He also confirms that several producers are involved on the new a-ha album, but it’s too early to mention any names.

“There is lots of material in different versions, but the final selections have not yet been made”, he says of the song material.

Update: In another interview with Dagbladet, Wiik offers a few hints about the sound on the new album: “It will be more synth-based than the last few albums. They are going back to their roots – to the 80s.”

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