Archive for September, 2011

Magne ready for talent show “The Voice”

Sondre Lerche, Magne, Hanne Sørvaag and Yosef Wolde-Mariam. (Picture by TV2)

Magne will be one of the mentors on the Norwegian version of the talent show “The Voice”, TV2 revealed at a press conference in Oslo today.

Joining him as mentors are Sondre Lerche, songwriter Hanne Sørvaag and Yosef Wolde-Mariam from Madcon.

“I agreed to do it because the show is about backing someone that you believe in and trying to give them the best possible conditions. I want to support the talents I believe in and give them an opportunity to shine. This is a big difference from other talent shows, because in “The Voice” we’ll follow the talents and try to further develop their own style”, Magne says.

Magne was aware of the American version of the show, which aired on NBC earlier this year, before he was approached by TV2 in Norway:

“I was offered to write a song for the guy who won “The Voice” in the US, so I already had some experience with the show before TV2 asked me. That meant that I was more open to be a part of it”, he tells VG.

He has said no to several other talent shows in the past, but feels that “The Voice” is a different concept:

“In the past I have said no to everyone that’s asked. I don’t like the type of talent shows that have been shown on Norwegian TV before. But this time all the focus will be on the voice and the talent. There won’t be any ridicule of people who think they can sing, without really having any talent. The selection process is done in advance, so our job is simply to choose the ones we really believe in.”

Sondre Lerche also has a good impression of the concept:

“I agreed to do “The Voice” because I have seen the show in the US and I really like it because it’s a constructive talent show. It’s about the music and the process. I think it’s cool to be involved in other people’s projects, I know the value of giving people a chance”, Lerche says.

More articles and pictures about Magne and other mentors have been posted at and Dagbladet.

“The Voice” will air on TV2 in Norway sometime next spring, while the pre-auditions are starting on October 12th. The winner gets a record deal with Universal.

The Word interview

While at the Smart Urban Stage exhibition in Frankfurt on September 13th, Magne was interviewed by Belgian website The Word.

The interview has now been posted here.

(Thanks to Carmen for the link)

Morten’s report from Jamaica


From “Humorkveld” on TV Norge, September 25th.
Click on the “CC” button for English subtitles.

To learn more about how you can support UNICEF, visit

Morten on “God Kveld Norge”

Morten on "God Kveld Norge"

Morten appeared on TV2’s gossip programme “God Kveld Norge” last night, to promote the UNICEF show.

“When UNICEF asked me, my first thought was that I really wanted to participate. Jamaica was one of the countries UNICEF had in mind, and that’s where we ended up going.

The humanitarian aspect is a natural reason to support the work UNICEF is doing, but there’s also a political aspect; what kind of world do you believe in?”, Morten told host Dorthe Skappel.

He also mentioned that he’s working on some new music:

“I am currently working on some exciting stuff, within music. It’s stimulating and fun.”

Update: The interview is now up on YouTube

Morten performing in Guatemala, 1997

There is also an extra clip from the interview on the “God Kveld Norge” website, where Morten talks about the peace concert he did with Oslo Gospel Choir in San Martin, Guatemala in December 1997.

Attended by both Guatemalan and Norwegian officials, including the Norwegian foreign minister, the outdoor concert was supposed to be a celebration of the peace agreement signed in Oslo a year earlier, to end the country’s long-running civil war.

But things took a dramatic turn when three men, heavily armed with machine guns and hand grenades were captured by security personell during the concert. They had been paid a few thousand dollars to kill both local leaders and the Norwegian guests. Luckily, their plan failed.

In the interview, Morten says that he had brought his two sons Jakob and Jonathan with him to Guatemala and that he also remembers a bomb exploding in the area when the terrorists were captured.

“It was very unexpected. I’m used to consider all eventualities, not least because of my children, but those things took me by surprise”, Morten says.

Royal birthday celebration

Heidi and Magne arriving


Princess Märtha Louise celebrated her 40th birthday at the Royal Palace in Oslo tonight.

Magne and Heidi were among the celebrity guests attending the party, along with people such as director Harald Zwart and singer Lene Marlin.

Pictures of some of the guests arriving can be seen at and


Morten talks about Jamaica visit

Morten's sunglasses were popular among the girls in Kingston, Jamaica (Picture by Just Loomis)

Morten is interviewed in today’s VG, in connection with tomorrow’s comedy show on TV Norge to benefit UNICEF. The show will feature a report from Morten’s visit to Kingston, Jamaica this summer.

“We visited a community with much violence and difficult social conditions, quite a common type of area in Jamaica. Some of those we met, around 20 years old, were clearly on drugs and already heavily involved in crime. That’s how they’ve chosen to take control of their own life”, Morten tells the newspaper.

Among those he met was a 14 year old girl who was eager to get married.

“It’s normal for all girls that age to be thinking about boyfriends, but when they get pregnant at such a young age, it really puts them back in relation to their own future.”

– Do you feel privileged to have your children grow up in Norway?, VG asks.

“Yes, of course we’re privileged – we have such a high level of safety and security here that it’s almost incomprehensible for other people.”

– In that respect, the Utøya attack this summer was a big exception?

“It definitely was.”

In Jamaica, Morten apparently received a lot of attention. Not because he’s famous, but because he’s white and had expensive sunglasses.

“The children we met had no idea who I was. Jamaica is very isolated in that regard, as they only listen to local music. They don’t know who U2 are, or Coldplay, REM and Madonna. And certainly not a-ha! But that’s also what makes it an interesting place to visit”, Morten says.

“Humorkveld” to benefit UNICEF airs live on TV Norge tomorrow night. Part 1 between 19:00 and 20:00, and part 2 between 21:30 and 23:00.

Stolper + Friends launch “Shed 13” project

Magne in front of Shed 13, with Kate Smith (Daily Manager of Stolper + Friends) and Arnt Gøran Hartvig. (Picture from VG)

Stolper + Friends will unveil a new project in Oslo today. As an extension of the current “The Souls” exhibition, a large warehouse at Tjuvholmen called Shed 13 will be covered on two of its sides by six huge butterflies made by Damien Hirst.

“Everyone have been talking about Norway this summer, so this art project with the enormous butterflies can be seen as a nice gesture from Damien Hirst to Norway. (…) I think he felt that having his butterflies on display in super-format, out in the public for everyone to see, was an exciting and different project”, Magne tells VG.

The six butterflies, which measure a total of 1200 square meters, will stay on the walls for one month.

“Shed 13 is the perfect space to make temporary statements of different kinds on a grand scale. We hope this Hirst project is the first of many, from exciting artists from around the world and the other galleries in the area”, Magne said in a press release posted on Stolper + Friends’ Facebook page.


There is also a 2-page interview with Magne in the current issue of art magazine KUNST.

Asked if he now sees himself as a gallerist, he says:

“No. I’m involved as an owner, and I will of course make use of my network of contacts. But I’ll leave the daily operations to Hugo and the gallery workers. I’ll primarily focus on my own art projects, but I do live close by and will step in if there’s a need for it.”

Magne also says that he’s planning a new solo exhibition in December. But he’s not sure what the theme will be yet.


Update: After the lights had been switched on at Shed 13, Magne appeared on NRK’s evening news. The video clip can be seen here.

He was also interviewed by Dagbladet.

1987 concert dates rediscovered

I have now added a bunch of concert dates from 1987 that I was previously unaware of.

On and almost everywhere else, the 1987 Japanese tour in June/July has always been listed with only 7 dates (and several missing venues). But as can be seen on the Japanese a-ha fansite, it turns out that the band actually played 17 concerts.

Megumi, webmaster of the Japanese site, can confirm that all the dates are correct and that none of the shows were cancelled.

And Selina in the UK, who first brought this to my attention, points out that the dates are all listed in the 1987 Japanese tour programme.

So, translated from Japanese, these are the correct tour dates (notice that the Nagoya concert should be June 21st instead of July 21st):

21 June: International Exhibition Hall, Nagoya, Japan
22 June: Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
23 June: Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
25 June: Makomanai Indoor Stadium, Sapporo, Japan
27 June: Sendai City Gymnasium, Sendai, Japan
29 June: Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka, Japan
30 June: Kobe World Hall, Kobe, Japan

1 July: Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan
2 July: Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan
3 July: Shizuoka City Culture Hall, Shizuoka, Japan
5 July: Kosei-Nenkin Hall, Hiroshima, Japan
6 July: Fukuoka Convention Center, Fukuoka, Japan
7 July: Matsuyama City Hall, Matsuyama, Japan
9 July: Nagano City Culture Hall, Nagano, Japan
10 July: Citizen’s Culture Hall, Yamanashi, Japan
11 July: Niigata Prefectural Civic Center, Niigata, Japan
12 July: Ishikawa Kosei-Nenkin Hall, Ishikawa, Japan

This brings the number of concerts on the 1986/87 world tour up to 169, and the total number of all regular a-ha concerts between 1986 and 2010 is now 564.

(Thanks to Selina, Megumi and Suzie)

Apparatjik and a-ha comics in the making

A page from the Apparatjik comic book

Award-winning British comic book artist Mike Perkins has created a new comic about Apparatjik, which will be used in connection with upcoming Apparatjik concerts.

“It’s in black and white and fairly short, but I’ve shown it to Magne Furuholmen, who liked it. It will be published in concert folders in connection with upcoming Apparatjik concerts. Later on, it will be available in other media as well”, Perkins says.

Perkins, known for his work on Captain America and Stephen King’s The Stand, was in Bergen at the Raptus Comics Festival last weekend. In an interview with Aftenposten he says that he’s also planning a comic about a-ha’s Scoundrel Days album:

“For a long time I’ve wanted to turn Scoundrel Days into a comic book. It’s the darkest and most melancholic of a-ha’s albums, and I was a big fan of it when it was released in the fall of 1986.

The title track immediately caught my imagination, and gives me hints to manipulative politicians and things like that. There’s a certain film noir feeling to it, which can also be seen in the music videos, for example in “I’ve Been Losing You” which includes the line “The gun on the bedside table”.

I’m hoping to do Scoundrel Days in noir-style with limited use of colours. I would also want to use several of the music videos as inspiration, plus songs from other a-ha albums like Hunting High and Low and more recent songs like “Butterfly, Butterfly”. In the “Hunting High and Low” music video, Morten Harket transforms into a whale, a dolphin and finally a wolf [sic]. This is also something I’d want to incorporate into the comic book.

The main characters will be humans with the ability to transform into animals and jump to parallel worlds.”

Magne Furuholmen says that he’s all positive to a-ha songs being turned into a comic book:

“I think this is really exciting, and I can’t imagine the others in the band being negative to it. I have never been a comic book nerd myself, but I did read comics as a kid, like everyone else, and I have seen some of his previous work. He is very skilled and it will be interesting to see what he can come up with.”

– What do you think about an album living on in other art forms?

“This will be like a reinterpretation of something we’ve done. Having one expression living on in a different form is exciting. There’s something good about having created something that triggers someone else’s imagination in ways we couldn’t have originally envisioned”, Magne tells Aftenposten.

Morten visits Jamaica for UNICEF

Morten in Jamaica (Picture from UNICEF)

Morten has recently visited Jamaica, to learn more about a project run by UNICEF.

A report from his visit to the country will be shown during TV Norge’s third annual comedy show to support UNICEF.

The comedy show is held at Oslo Konserthus and airs live on TV Norge next Sunday, September 25th, at 19:00.

Whether Morten will also be performing during the show is not known.

In April 2005, Morten performed the official UNICEF song “Children First” together with Hayley Westenra at an event in Copenhagen.

Magne visits Germany

Magne with fellow jury member Graham Hill
(Picture from

Magne has been in Germany this week, to attend a few different events.

On Tuesday, September 13th, he was at the Smart Urban Stage exhibition in Frankfurt, the last in a series of twelve exhibitions held by car manufacturer Smart in various cities across Europe.

As part of a three-member jury with Lidewij Edelkoort and Graham Hill, Magne had the honour of announcing the winners of the Smart Future Minds Award – the most innovative of 110 projects based around the “future of the city”

The two winning projects were The People’s Supermarket (UK) and Calle de Diversion (Italy).


On Wednesday, September 14th, Magne was in Berlin at the release party of the third issue of SOME Magazine.

This issue of the art magazine documents the workshop held by Magne and fellow Apparatjik member Jonas Bjerre at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle earlier this year (see May 25th news update).

A video clip from the release party can be seen here.

Paul turns 50

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy – the incredible songwriter and guitarist in a-ha, Savoy and now Weathervane, the live performer, vocalist, instrument collector, producer and visual artist – can celebrate his 50th birthday today, September 6th.

Happy Birthday, Paul!

(You can post your own birthday greetings to Paul on and on’s Facebook page)

a-ha to be inducted into Norwegian “Hall of Fame”

The Rockheim museum 
(Picture by Jakob)

Rockheim – the Norwegian museum of popular music in Trondheim – today announced the first five bands/artists to be inducted into the museum’s new “Hall of Fame”.

They are: a-ha, Alf Prøysen, Jokke & Valentinerne, Wenche Myhre and Åge Aleksandersen.

A jury consisting of 88 people from the music business and media held a vote to determine the final five from the inital list of fifteen nominees.

“These five are worthy members [of the Hall of Fame]. They are all equally worthy”, Petter Myhr – the director at Rockheim – said in a comment.

The induction ceremony will be held at the Rockheim museum on November 6th. (Rescheduled from August 21st due to the recent terror attacks).

Stolper + Friends opens in Oslo

Paul Stolper, Magne and Hugo Opdal in front of Damien Hirst's butterfly paintings 
(Picture from Dagsavisen)

The new gallery Stolper + Friends, which is owned by Paul Stolper, Magne Furuholmen and Hugo Opdal, opens at Tjuvholmen in Oslo tonight with the exhibition “The Souls” by Damien Hirst.

“The reason why I wanted to establish the gallery here, is that Tjuvholmen is a new district still in the making and in constant development. And with the Astrup Fearnley museum opening [next year] and the other galleries already here, I think we’ll get a nice dynamic which will attract many art fans to the area”, Magne told Aftenposten in an interview last week.

Magne’s own exhibition “Futura Plus”, which was supposed to open the gallery but was cancelled after the July 22nd tragedy, will instead be shown in Sweden sometime in November, he tells newspaper Dagsavisen today.

In an article at yesterday, Magne said “Futura Plus” features “words including ‘death’ and ‘accident’, painted on blood-stained sheets collected from hospital autopsy-rooms and similar.”

At Stolper + Friends, “The Souls” is on display until October 2nd and will be followed by an exhibition of sculptures.

More pictures from inside the gallery can be seen here.

Danish group samples TSASOTV

Single cover

The Danish electro-pop duo Electric Lady Lab released their new single “Touch Me” this week, which uses various samples from “The Sun Always Shines On TV” – including some of Morten’s original vocals.

There have been countless cover versions of a-ha songs over the years, but this is apparently the first time a-ha have officially allowed someone to sample one of their songs.

Danish music website reports that Electric Lady Lab members Martin Bøge Pedersen and Stine Hjelm Jacobsen wrote “Touch Me” together with Johan Wohlert (ex-Mew).

Only after recording it did they ask a-ha’s management for permission. And although he personally liked the song, a-ha manager Harald Wiik said it was almost 100 percent certain that they wouldn’t get permission to use the samples. But he would play it for the members of a-ha and get back to them.

After two weeks Wiik sent an e-mail saying that all three a-ha members had approved the song after all. “Touch Me” is available on iTunes now, at least in Scandinavia.

(Thanks to Christian)

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