Archive for 2017

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.

Savoy preparing to release new album

Savoy live in Tromsø, October 2004 (Picture by Suzie Dent)

Savoy are now finally preparing to release their much-awaited sixth studio album, the first release since 2007’s career retrospective Savoy Songbook Vol. 1 and the first new studio album since 2004’s self-titled Savoy album.

This week Frode Unneland has visited Paul and Lauren in New York, where they have done a photo session, been in the studio and worked on a music video with director Jason Brandenberg.

Last month Brandenberg was directing a music video for a new Savoy song called “Night Watch”, so this week’s shoot may be additional scenes for that video.

The “Night Watch” video is described as follows in an online casting call: “The lives of two teens and other insomniac inhabitants of a housing project turn surreal and disturbing on a sweltering summer night”.

But this is not the first music video shoot for the new album. Back in August, Paul and Lauren were in Los Angeles to do a music video for the song “January Thaw”, which was described as having “a mid-1940s avant-garde feel, in the style of Maya Deren films” in another casting call. The plot; “Two women playing cat’s cradle are spooked by the arrival of a mysterious cloaked figure”.

A couple of pictures from the “January Thaw” video shoot were posted by Lauren on Instagram:  Picture 1    Picture 2

The book Tårer fra en stein mentions two other songs on the new album; “Manmade Lake” – which Paul already released as a solo single in 2014 – and “Falls Park”.

“On the Savoy album we’re recording now there’s a song called “Falls Park”, which I found in one of my old notebooks a while ago and played for Lauren. She really liked it and thought it was a brand new song that I had written the day before. But I actually wrote it when I was 16″, Paul tells Ørjan Nilsson in the book.

The new album has been in the making for quite a while. Back in April 2014, Paul said they were going to finalize the album that summer, but that apparently didn’t happen. In November 2015, Frode joined the others for a recording session at the Clubhouse studio in Rhinebeck, New York. In October 2016, Paul said he was currently mixing the Savoy album with Steve Osborne and that he was “super excited” about it. In January 2017 he said the album had been mastered and would probably be released in September. Now it looks like it’s coming in early 2018.

“It’s been really fun returning to Savoy now, because the songs sound so fresh. One of the songs on the new album was written for a short film I directed (Scent of a Woman), so this time the songs have come from a variety of places. Many of the songs have been written by Paul in our house in Woodstock, and they are really beautiful”, Lauren says in the book.

Be sure to follow Paul, Lauren and Frode on Instagram for more Savoy updates.

BTW, a petition has been started to get Tårer fra en stein translated into English. You can add your support by signing the petition here.

The Voice: Third live show

Morten with Sebastian and Dina at rehearsals this week

Another Friday and another episode of The Voice, live from Fornebu.

This time two talents from each team were up against each other in duels, but the final result was all decided by viewers’ votes. At the end of the show, only four of tonight’s talents would remain in the contest.

“Everyone on stage tonight are talented and have fantastic possibilities. Setting them up in duels feels like somewhat of a joke, but that’s what we’re doing now”, Morten said at the beginning. “But it’s meant to be like this, and I’m totally OK with that”.

Team Martin
Maria Celin Strisland: “Stone Cold” by Demi Lovato
Malin Joneid Ellefsen: “Purple Rain” by Prince

Team Morten
Dina Sæle Ek: “Uprising” by Muse
Sebastian James Hekneby: “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys

Team Lene
Lillen Stenberg: “It Must Have Been Love” by Roxette
Thomas Løseth: “Heaven” by Bryan Adams

Team Yosef
August Dahl: “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo
Kaja Rode: “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan

“Tonight Dina did a good performance, but I feel that Sebastian maybe did his best performance so far”, Morten said after his own team members had been on stage.

The four talents that received the most votes from the viewers, and are now one step closer to the finals, were Malin, Sebastian James, Thomas and August. The other four are out of the contest.

Earlier this week, Morten made a quick trip to Cologne, Germany, to be a guest on the TV-show “Die 2 – Gottschalk & Jauch gegen ALLE”, which will air on RTL sometime in November.

a-ha concert in Hamar announced

From a-ha’s outdoor concert in Bergen, May 2016 (Picture by Jakob)

A fifth and final outdoor concert in Norway next summer has been announced today; a-ha will be playing in the city of Hamar on 14 August 2018.

The concert will be held at Stortorget (main square) in Hamar, which has a capacity of 10,000 people. Previous shows at Stortorget have included Sting and Elton John.

Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, 31 October, through Ticketmaster. There will also be a fan presale the day before.

This will be the first time a-ha perform in Hamar. Savoy played there in 2004.

Elsewhere, the a-ha concert in Trondheim on 15 August has sold out, and the concert at Kongsberg Jazz Festival on 6 July has sold 9000 out of 12000 tickets so far.

Articles:
A-Ha kommer til Stortorget
a-ha til Stortorget i Hamar – på en tirsdag

Apparatjik to perform in Poland

Magne on stage with Apparatjik in Bergen, 3 June 2016

Last month Magne paid a visit to Szczecin in Poland, which was mentioned by the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall on Facebook.

In an interview with Dagbladet (paywall) about his new Imprints book and the Summer Solstice album, Magne mentions the reason why he was in Poland:

“I recently visited Szczecin in Poland, to check out the concert hall where I’ll be performing with Apparatjik during the Music and Design Festival next year. That gave me an opportunity to hear Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsing a symphony by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, which sounded wonderful and was a nice discovery for me.”

The exact date is yet to be confirmed, but this will be Apparatjik’s first live performance since Day of the Dead feat. Buika and Void during Bergen International Festival in June 2016. Check out an extended video from Day of the Dead recently posted by Void here.

The Voice: Second live show

Martin Bjercke and Morten Harket on The Voice, October 20th

This Friday it was time for the ten remaining talents on Team Morten and Team Martin to perform on The Voice, live from H3 Arena.

A few moments in the beginning were spent talking about a-ha’s performance at Wembley the night before:

“We didn’t play a concert last night, we did one song live. “Take On Me” acoustically, with a pump organ. There’s a crowd of 8000 people, and it happens right there and then, in 3 minutes. ‘Now you’re on, Morten’ – out on stage, almost right back in and you’re done. And that’s what our talents will be experiencing tonight, it’s the same thing”, Morten said.

Here are video clips of the five talents on Team Morten:
Isabelle Eberdean Bjørneraas: “Crazy” by Seal
Dina Sæle Ek: “Darkness, Darkness” by The Youngbloods
Knut Kippersund Nesdal: “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode
Sebastian James Hekneby: “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel
Ingeborg Walther: “So Good” by Zara Larsson

Sebastian and Ingeborg received the most votes from the viewers, while Morten had to choose between Isabelle, Dina and Knut. He chose the last two, and Isabelle is out of the contest.

TV2 has posted a picture of Morten with his remaining four talents on Instagram. And as usual, videos of all 10 performances are up on on TV2’s YouTube channel.

a-ha at BBC Children in Need concert

The SSE Arena, Wembley, October 19th
(Screenshot from YouTube video)

a-ha performed one song, the acoustic version of “Take On Me”, at the “BBC Children in Need Rocks the 80s” charity concert at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London on Thursday night, October 19th.

They were joined on stage by Martin Terefe on pump organ, who has arranged and co-produced this new version of the song on MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice.

A video of the performance can be seen on YouTube (thanks to Chris).

Some pictures of a-ha on the red carpet have been posted on Getty Images.

The concert is set to air on TV sometime next month.

While in London, Paul posted a few pictures on Instagram and promised “lots of Savoy news coming soon”.

The Voice: First live show

Morten on The Voice, October 13th

Morten was back at Fornebu’s H3 Arena in Oslo on Friday, for this season’s first live show of The Voice.

As there were now 20 talents remaining in the contest, only the 10 talents on Team Lene and Team Yosef performed during Friday’s show. Morten and Martin’s 10 talents will perform next Friday, October 20th.

Among the best performances on Friday were Agnes and Thomas on Team Lene, and Kaja and Jeremaya on Team Yosef. Jeremaya was previously on Team Morten.

Two talents had to leave the contest; Ida on Team Lene and Mirjam on Team Yosef.

All 10 performances are available on TV2’s YouTube-channel.

Morten talked a bit about his role as a mentor on The Voice during the BBC Radio Devon interview last week:

“It is interesting and it makes sense to me to make use of all I know at this stage, with my experience after all this time and being sort of on the arena as much as I have been. There are lot of things that I instantly can say about a performance and about the psychological aspects of what goes on in the head or in the heart of whoever is on stage. What is holding them back, for instance. What is blocking their access to themselves. There are things I know that I can offer as insight.”

‘Tårer fra en stein’ to be published in German

Munich-based publishing company Riva has secured the rights to a German edition of Ørjan Nilsson’s book about Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, NTB reports via Gaffa.no.

The book is set to be published sometime in February/March 2018 and will be translated by Daniela Stilzebach, who has previously translated Norwegian books about Knut Hamsun and Edvard Munch into German.

“The German title of the book has not been decided yet”, Nilsson tells NTB.

The Norwegian first printing of 1500 copies sold out quickly, and there will be a second printing of 2000 books.

“There’s a big potential”, Norwegian publisher Christer Falck says.

Morten talks summer tour 2018

Picture by Jakob

Morten was a guest on Richard Green’s show on BBC Radio Devon today. The interview is available here (starts at 23 minutes).

Among the topics discussed was next year’s summer tour/world tour. As we learnt several months ago, a-ha is planning to go on the road again next summer with a full electric band, starting in the UK in June 2018 before continuing through mainland Europe, the USA and South America.

Although only four outdoor concerts in Norway have been announced so far, a-ha manager Harald Wiik said there will be 30-40 concerts in total. Later reports have mentioned as many as 60 concerts.

When asked about returning to the UK for more gigs next summer, Morten says:

“I believe, from where I stand now, that it will be more outdoor venue influenced. It’s not gonna be like the [Cast in Steel] tour, for instance. It will have elements of that, I think. I can’t promise that, but it’s what I think today. It will have elements, to an extent, from the Giske sessions, to create the dynamics that we would want. Certain songs might work in outdoor arenas, based on what we did in Giske, but only some of them would work that way. Then certain songs work by far best the way we have normally set it up with our full electronic stuff. And then certain songs will come to their form in a sort of analogue type of live playing. Sometimes we’ve played to synthesizers and computers, so it’s a mix of our live playing against the computers, that’s partly a-ha’s music. And some will be like that, some will be maybe all analogue and some will be stripped. I think it will be a mix.”

Planning such a major tour has raised questions if the band might be aiming to release a new studio album before next summer, but that will not be the case, according to Morten:

“Not an a-ha album, [that’s] not planned. But we have plans in that we’re now releasing this album from Giske, which leads on to the acoustic tour in January and February. And then we go into rehearsals and planning of the shows in the summer later on. So that will take us through most of next year. But the autumn is fairly open. And then there are other plans, there are a lot of offers for the band. But we have no concrete plans for a studio album.”

There are also no immediate plans for another solo album, he says:

“It would be wrong for me to make plans for my own stuff now, but there is a lot of stuff that is available and ready to be responded to, whenever it opens up for that.”

Earlier in the week, on Monday, Morten and Magne were guests on Becky Want’s show on BBC Radio Manchester. That interview is available here (starts at 1:45:30).

‘MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice’ enters album chart at #3 in Germany and #6 in the UK

MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice

a-ha’s new live album MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice has entered the German album chart at #3 in its first week. This is a-ha’s 13th top-10 album in Germany.

In the UK the album has entered the album chart at #6, making it their seventh UK top-10 album. A total of 6,982 copies were sold in the first week, this number includes physical sales, digital sales and streaming (1500 streams equals 1 album sale).

But if the UK album chart had been based on physical sales only, MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice would actually have been at #2, only beaten by Liam Gallagher’s new album, as can be seen on the physical albums chart.

In Norway the album enters VG-lista at #14 in its first week.

Elsewhere, the album enters at #35 in Belgium (Wallonia), #50 in Ireland, #93 in Belgium (Flanders), and #98 in The Netherlands, according to the UKMIX forum.

Additionally, the DVD/Blu-ray has entered the German Top-30 Music DVD chart at #4, the Belgian (Wallonia) Top-10 Music DVD chart at #4 and the Dutch Top-10 Music DVD chart at #8.

As for the UK, below is a list of all first-week entries and first-week sales on the UK album chart in the last twelve years, including solo albums:
2006 – Analogue: #24 (9,911 copies)
2009 – Foot of the Mountain: #5 (18,744 copies)
2010 – 25: #10 (10,835 copies)
2011 – Ending on a High Note: #43 (2,966 copies)
2012 – Out of My Hands: #37 (3,455 copies)
2014 – Brother: #56 (1,461 copies)
2015 – Cast in Steel: #8 (7,828 copies)
2016 – Time and Again: #75 (???? copies)
2017 – Summer Solstice: #6 (6,982 copies)

The Voice: battle rounds and knockout rounds

“I’m proud of the team I’m bringing with me to the live shows”, Morten says.

The Voice has continued on TV2 over the last few weeks, with 5 episodes of battle rounds and 3 episodes of knockout rounds, which were taped between 22 May – 2 June this year.

Here are the six battles on Team Morten, with YouTube-links:
1. Ingeborg vs Elias –> Morten chose Ingeborg
2. Maria Celin vs Anna –> Morten chose Anna, while Martin stole Maria Celin
3. Jeremaya vs Egil Sverre –> Morten chose Jeremaya
4. Sebastian vs Jorunn –> Morten chose Sebastian, while Yosef stole Jorunn
5. Dina vs Ninja –> Morten chose Dina
6. Lena vs Knut –> Morten chose Knut

In addition, Morten stole Alexandra from Team Martin and Synne from Team Lene.

Meanwhile, on Team Yosef, Morten’s niece Ragnhild Harket was up against two others, but went through to next round.

Rehearsals with Elias and Ingeborg

This meant Team Morten had 8 talents remaining before the knockout rounds, where the singers themselves decide what they want to perform.

Here are the four knockout duels on Team Morten, with YouTube-links:
1. Ingeborg vs Synne –> Morten chose Ingeborg
2. Alexandra vs Knut –> Morten chose Knut
3. Anna vs Dina –> Morten chose Dina
4. Jeramaya vs Sebastian –> Morten chose Sebastian

In addition, Morten stole Isabelle from Team Martin.

On Team Yosef, Ragnhild Harket was up against August, but wasn’t chosen this time.

Studio rehearsals with Dina and Ninja

The next stage of The Voice starts on TV2 tomorrow, October 13th, with the first of nine live shows from H3 Arena in Oslo. The live shows will continue every Friday until the finale on December 9th. So this will keep Morten busy for the next couple of months. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

The final five talents on Team Morten are:
– Ingeborg Walther (17)
– Knut Kippersund Nesdal (26)
– Dina Sæle Ek (32)
– Sebastian James Hekneby (27)
– Isabelle Eberdean Bjørneraas (20)

For a presentation of all 20 talents that are ready for the live shows, check out the video clips about each team on TV2.no.

After the press conference in Berlin last month, Magne was asked by TV2 what he thought of Morten following in his footsteps as a mentor on The Voice:

Magne: “Although I haven’t seen that much yet, I feel Morten is making a good impression, based on what I’ve seen. Absolutely.”
Morten: “That means he hasn’t seen it.”
Magne: “It could also mean they have done a great job in the editing room (laughs).”

‘MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice’ and ‘Tårer fra en stein’ now available

The new book and Blu-ray

A big release day on Friday, as a-ha’s new live album/video MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice was released in eight different versions and the Norwegian edition of Ørjan Nilsson’s book about Paul Waaktaar-Savoy was published.

If you haven’t yet ordered MTV Unplugged: Summer Solstice, here are the links:
Fanbox (amazon.de), Blu-ray (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), DVD (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), 2CD (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), 2CD+Blu-ray (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk), 2CD+DVD (amazon.de), 3LP (amazon.de / amazon.co.uk) and 1CD (amazon.co.uk). Plus download and streaming.

BBC Breakfast, October 5th

For those of you wondering about the Blu-ray and DVD, they have now both been officially confirmed to be region-free.

To promote the live album, Magne and Morten were guests on BBC Breakfast on Thursday, while Morten visited ITV’s Loose Women on Friday.

Morten also did radio interviews with BBC Radio Oxford (starts at 30:30), BBC Hereford & Worcester (starts at 1:17:00) and BBC Radio Devon (to be broadcast on October 14th).

Paul Waaktaar-Savoy and Ørjan Nilsson

In Norway there has been extensive media coverage of Tårer fra en stein and the first printing of the book is actually already sold out, with a second printing set to follow soon, according to BA (paywall).

I won’t reveal too much of the 300-page book here (stay tuned for possible translations into other languages), but it goes in-depth about Paul’s songwriting, inspirations and career in a way that has never been done before.

“We’re unlikely to ever get a more detailed portrait of Waaktaar Savoy”, VG says in its review of the book.

There was a book launch at Tronsmo bookstore in Oslo on Friday, where author Ørjan Nilsson was interviewed by Audun Vinger in front of an audience which included Paul’s mother Gerd. A video of the full conversation has been posted on Facebook.

The Norwegian edition of the book can be ordered from haugenbok.no, tanum.no, platekompaniet.no or bigdipper.no.

For more information about the book in English, read a new interview with Ørjan Nilsson at The Electricity Club.

Summer Solstice reviews:
VG (CD: 4/6, DVD: 5/6)    Aftenposten (4/6)    Dagsavisen (4/6) (paywall)
The Irish News (6/10)    Scandishop online

Articles/reviews on Tårer fra en stein:
VG: Paul Waaktaar-Savoy i a-ha med ny bok: Lammes av sosial angst
NRK: Vurderte å starte duo med Morten Harket
Gaffa: Nå vil han prøve å rette opp i navneforvirringen
Gaffa: Mener katastrofe-konserten på Øya ødela mye
Dagbladet: Pål Waaktaar Savoy røper konfliktene som har ødelagt for a-ha (paywall)
Dagsavisen: Et stille mysterium (paywall)
Morgenbladet: Sjenert Mussolini (paywall)

Magne’s new book ‘Imprints’

Book cover

Magne’s new art book Imprints will be published here in Norway tomorrow, October 4th. The publisher Forlaget Press has posted a picture of him holding the book on Facebook.

The 368-page lavishly illustrated coffee table book documents the process of creating the “Imprints” sculpture park at Fornebuporten and includes around 60 of the poems that formed the basis of the text fragments punched into the various sculptures, presented here in their original form for the first time. The book is priced at 799 kr (£75).

Some info from the publisher:

“Oslo’s Fornebuporten business and residential district boasts its own sculpture park, Imprints, featuring ceramic works by the Norwegian artist and musician Magne Furuholmen.

Furuholmen has created totemic sculptures of glazed and unglazed ceramic on an incredible scale – the largest is taller than 19 feet high – and arranged them around the site, placing some in freestanding positions and installing some in granite pools. Playing with and against the sleek modern architecture of the surrounding Fornebuporten complex, the artist chose self-consciously archaic forms (like amphorae, columns and sarcophagi) and traditional materials and techniques in developing “Imprints.” The sculptures are covered with words, letters and shapes punched or pushed directly into the material surfaces. Imprints documents this amazing project.”

Next Thursday, 12 October, there will be a Norwegian launch of Magne’s collection of limited edition carpets for Urban Fabric Rugs at Expo Nova in Oslo, where he’ll also present the new Imprints book.

The book will probably also be available at his upcoming sales exhibition Literary Constructs at Nes Kulturhus in Årnes later this month, from 21 October – 28 October.

Magne designs pink ribbon pin for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Magne wearing his pink ribbon design pin

This year Magne was asked by the Norwegian Cancer Society to create a design pin based on the international pink ribbon symbol, in connection with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. He follows Norwegian artists such as Nico Widerberg and Camilla Prytz, who have also made pink ribbon design pins in recent years.

Magne’s design pin

“I wanted to somehow remove it from the dolled up and feminine and create something that young guys and old men like me would also like to wear. It felt natural to base it on the woodcut technique, as it has an inherent roughness to it. Since I work a lot with letters and text, that was my starting point. And then I realized that the ‘f’ at the end of my signature is in some ways a ribbon. Only upside down”, Magne says in a new video clip about his design pin.

Magne’s design pin can be purchased from the Norwegian Cancer Society’s web shop (only ships within Norway). The price is 100 kroner, with all proceeds going to breast cancer research. The pin is also for sale at Lindex, Mester Grønn, Vitus Apotek and Kid Interiør. Magne has also recorded a radio ad in connection with this year’s campaign.

a-ha to headline BBC charity concert

a-ha will be headlining the charity concert “BBC Children in Need Rocks the 80s” at Wembley Arena (aka The SSE Arena) in London on October 19th.

Some of the other acts taking part include Bananarama, Boy George, Europe, Erasure and Jason Donovan.

The decision to perform seems somewhat puzzling, as a-ha have always been careful to avoid 80s-themed nostalgia events. Obviously, they are in a totally different league when it comes to continued success and credibility than any of these acts. But the promotional opportunities in the UK must have been limited at the moment.

According to independent.ie “the concert will be broadcast on BBC1 in the run-up to the annual BBC Children In Need appeal”.

More info and ticket links on bbc.co.uk.

Surprise a-ha performance in London

Morten and Paul on stage in London, 17 September

a-ha did a surprise live performance at the Tobacco Dock in London last night, to entertain guests at an Emporio Armani afterparty as part of London Fashion Week. But not unplugged this time.

Backed by Karl Oluf, Even and Erik, they played “The Sun Always Shines On TV” and “Take On Me”. Possibly more, but only video clips of those two songs have appeared online so far.

Update: According to an article on wwd.com, a-ha did a four-song set, including “Crying in the Rain”. Also performing at the party was Ellie Goulding.

Several video clips of a-ha’s performance have been posted on Instagram:

The Sun Always Shines On TV: Clip 1

Take On Me: Clip 1   Clip 2   Clip 3   Clip 4   Clip 5

Some pictures of a-ha with Giorgio Armani and Morten on stage have been posted by Emporio Armani on Facebook.

Pre-order ‘MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice’

Limited Edition Fanbox with 2CD, Blu-ray, DVD, hardcover book, poster, wristband, badge, button

The new a-ha live album/concert film MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice will apparently be released in eight different versions on October 6th, and can now be pre-ordered from various online stores.

Thankfully, all the 21 tracks performed at the Giske concerts in June will be included in all versions (except the 1CD Acoustic Hits edition). This is the first time an entire a-ha concert is released without songs missing. But if you want to buy the 3LP vinyl version, be aware that 11 of the 21 tracks have been edited for time.

Blu-ray and DVD bonus features are called “Friendship”, “Songs” and “Project”.

The version that many fans will be interested in getting is the Limited Edition Fanbox, which not only includes the 2CD, Blu-ray and DVD, but also a hardcover book about the recording process, a poster, wristband, badge and button. Currently only available from Germany, but at a good price. The book seems to be in English, based on the fanbox image on Amazon. Update: the book is confirmed by a-ha.com on Twitter to be in English.

Note: When ordering from amazon.de – if you don’t understand German, you can change the language to English at the bottom of the page.

Here are pre-order links through Amazon Germany and Amazon UK:

Limited Edition Fanbox: amazon.de

Blu-ray: amazon.de   amazon.co.uk

DVD: amazon.de   amazon.co.uk

2CD: amazon.de   amazon.co.uk

2CD+Blu-ray: amazon.de   amazon.co.uk

2CD+DVD: amazon.de

3LP vinyl: amazon.de

1CD (Acoustic Hits): amazon.co.uk

Press conference in Berlin

a-ha interviewed by NRK after the press conference in Berlin, 12 September

a-ha presented their new live release MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice at a press conference at the Nordic Embassies in Berlin on Tuesday, September 12th. A video of the whole event, hosted by Norwegian musician and author Jo Nesbø, is available on a-ha.com’s Facebook page.

After the press conference, the band did a number of interviews with German and Norwegian media, including TV2 and NRK. Another video report appeared on ARD’s Brisant.

On Wednesday, September 13th, a-ha did further promotion in Berlin. Twelve pictures from a DPA photocall can be seen at belgaimage.be.

The first single from MTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice is called “This is Our Home” and is now available on for purchase/streaming. Watch the video on YouTube.

‘Tårer fra en stein’ book pre-order

The front cover features a previously unseen photo from the early 80s, taken by Viggo Bondi

Ørjan Nilsson’s upcoming book about Paul’s life and career, Tårer fra en stein, will be published in Norway on 6 October and can now be pre-ordered from bidra.no (signed by the author).

The 302-page book (written in Norwegian) is based on extensive interview sessions with Paul over the last two years, where he has opened up more than ever before. The book goes into great detail about every aspect of his songwriting and musicianship, making it the definitive account on Paul’s creative output over the years.

Nilsson has also interviewed a number of Paul’s family members, friends and colleagues, including his wife Lauren, his parents Olav and Gerd, his sister Tonje, Alan Tarney, Viggo Bondi and Hågen Rørmark.

The book also features a number of previously unseen photos from the early days and lyric sketches from Paul’s personal notebooks.

In connection with the book release, a ltd. ed. 7″ vinyl featuring cover versions of “Whalebone” by the author’s own band Willow and “Manhattan Skyline” by Kings of Convenience will be included for those who pre-order through bidra.no.

On 6 October there will be a book launch at Tronsmo book store in Oslo, where Ørjan Nilsson will talk about Tårer fra en stein with music journalist Audun Vinger.

Tårer fra en stein can also be pre-ordered from haugenbok.no, tanum.no, platekompaniet.no or bigdipper.no.

The Voice: Team Morten is now complete

Martin, Morten and Lene on Senkveld, 8 September

The blind audition episodes of The Voice concluded this week, and now all four mentors have complete teams. Martin, Lene and Yosef bent the rules a little bit and ended up with 13 talents on their teams, while Morten has 12 talents on his.

Here is Team Morten, with YouTube-links to their performances:

1. Ingeborg Walther (17 years old)
2. Elias Grimstad Salbu (18)
3. Maria Celin Strisland (19)
4. Lena Haarberg (25)
5. Egil Sverre Langnes (20)
6. Jorunn Undheim (29)
7. Dina Sæle Ek (32)
8. Ninja Krystad (31)
9. Jeremaya John (32)
10. Anna Jæger (23)
11. Knut Kippersund Nesdal (26)
12. Sebastian James Hekneby (27)

All the 67 blind auditions can be seen in this YouTube playlist by TV2.

One special moment occured in the episode this Friday, when Morten’s niece Ragnhild Harket was one of the contestants. Morten had no idea she would be there, but he didn’t press the button as he instantly recognized her voice and felt it wouldn’t be appropriate. But both Yosef and Lene pressed their buttons, and Ragnhild ended up on Yosef’s team.

To promote The Voice, Morten appeared together with the other mentors at a TV2 press launch in Oslo on 22 August. “Norway is brimming with talent, and I feel I have something to contribute”, he told VG.

He was also a guest on TV2’s talkshow Senkveld this Friday, 8 September, together with Martin and Lene. The full episode is available for TV2 Sumo subscribers. But there is also a short bonus clip from the interview on Senkveld’s Facebook page.

The Voice continues this coming Wednesday and Friday with the first battle rounds.

a-ha to present ‘Summer Solstice’ in Berlin

a-ha at the Cast in Steel press launch in Berlin, 2015

a-ha will present their new MTV Unplugged live album and concert film Summer Solstice at the Nordic Embassies in Berlin on Tuesday, September 12th [date corrected] according to Berliner Morgenpost.

The press launch will include an interview with the band members, moderated by the Norwegian musician and author Jo Nesbø.

a-ha have previously used the Nordic Embassies in Berlin to launch three albums; Lifelines in 2002, Foot of the Mountain in 2009 and Cast in Steel in 2015.

It’s safe to assume the band will do lots of other promotion as well, while in Germany.

Still no confirmed tracklist for the Summer Solstice album/video coming on October 6th, but four different formats are up for pre-order on CDON.eu; Blu-ray // Deluxe 2CD+Blu-ray // Deluxe 2CD+DVD // Triple vinyl.

Trondheim concert announced for 2018

a-ha at Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim, 2010
(Picture by Jakob)

A fourth Norwegian outdoor concert has been announced for next year’s a-ha world tour, following dates in Kongsberg, Ålesund and Bodø:

15 August 2018: Sverresborg Museum, Trondheim, Norway

The Sverresborg Museum is one of Norway’s largest open air museums, and has a capacity of 10,000 people for concert events.

“We are really looking forward to returning to Trondheim. It’s been way too long, and Sverresborg is a fantastic concert venue”, the band said in a statement.

This will be the seventh concert a-ha have played in Trondheim. Their last concert in the city was held at Lerkendal Stadium during the Farewell Tour in 2010.

There will be a ticket presale this Thursday, 31 August (10:00 am), for followers of Trondheim Concerts on Facebook. The general sale starts on Friday, 1 September (09:00 am) through Ticketmaster.

According to press articles in connection with the Trondheim announcement, the 2018 tour has now been extended to 60 concerts in total. a-ha manager Harald Wiik has previously said the tour will begin in the UK in June, followed by concerts through Europe, USA and South America.

Adressa.no: Nå kommer A-ha tilbake til byen
NRK.no: Nytt storband kommer til Sverresborg i 2018

‘The Voice’ premieres on TV2

Morten in the first episode of The Voice

The fourth season of The Voice premiered on TV2 in Norway last night, with Morten as one of the four mentors.

Back in 2012, Magne and his fellow mentors performed Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” at the beginning of the first episode, but this year there was no performance by the mentors. Instead, the show went straight to the first blind audition.

Six talents performed tonight, and Morten pressed the red button on five of them. In the end, Martin ended up with two talents for his team, while Morten, Lene and Yosef got one each. 17-year-old Ingeborg is the first talent on Team Morten.

The full episode is only available for TV2 Sumo subscribers, but TV2 has also posted video clips of all the performances on YouTube:
Andrea   Isabelle   Olaves   Phillip   Alexandra   Ingeborg

Keep an eye on TV2’s YouTube channel and The Voice‘s Facebook page for more video clips in the coming days.

The Voice continues with new episodes each night this week until Friday. Starting next week, there will be new episodes only on Wednesday and Friday.

MTV Unplugged: Album cover and title

Summer Solstice album cover

The official site has now revealed the cover art of a-ha’s MTV Unplugged album and its title; Summer Solstice.

The album, which features cover photos by Just Loomis and artwork by Matthias Bäuerle, will be released on 6 October.

On that same day, MTV Germany will air the Summer Solstice concert on TV – but only a shortened 50-minute version.

No tracklist has been posted yet, but the regular album will probably only include a selection of the 21 songs performed at Giske.

Whether there will also be a 2CD-version with all the songs is unknown. But hopefully the Blu-ray/DVD will include the whole concert.

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