The Voice: Semi-final

Morten applauding Maria on The Voice, 24 May

Six talents remained in the contest before the semi-final of The Voice on Friday 24 May, including Maria and Edward on Team Morten.

Here are the live performances from H3 Arena on Friday night:

1. Oskar Øiestad (Team Lene) YouTube / TV2.no
2. Maria Engås Halsne (Team Morten) YouTube / TV2.no
3. Endre Gryting (Team Yosef) YouTube / TV2.no
4. Amanda Rusti (Team Martin) YouTube / TV2.no
5. Steffi Buie (Team Lene) YouTube / TV2.no
6. Edward Mustad (Team Morten) YouTube / TV2.no

“There’s a great musicality in your performance”, Morten told Maria after her version of Sia’s “Bird Set Free”, while he commended Edward on having “an incredible voice” after hearing his take on Madrugada’s “Majesty”.

Ultimately, the two performers who received the fewest votes from the viewers were Endre and Amanda, which means Yosef and Martin are left without any of their talents in next week’s season finale.

Maria and Edward on Team Morten will compete against Oskar and Steffi on Team Lene in the season finale, which airs live on TV2 next Friday, 31 May at 20:00. The winner gets a recording contract with Universal Music.

The Voice: Live show 3

Morten and Yosef on The Voice, 10 May 2019

The fifth season of The Voice continued with the third live show last night.

Here are all the eight performances, with video links to both YouTube and TV2.no (the YouTube clips are blocked in some areas outside of Norway, it seems):

1. Endre Gryting (Team Yosef) YouTube / TV2.no
2. Oskar Øiestad (Team Lene) YouTube / TV2.no
3. Amalie Hamborgstrøm (Team Martin) YouTube / TV2.no
4. Edward Mustad (Team Morten) YouTube TV2.no
5. Amanda Rusti (Team Martin) YouTube / TV2.no
6. Kristoffer Edvardsen (Team Yosef) YouTube / TV2.no
7. Steffi Buie (Team Lene) YouTube / TV2.no
8. Maria Engås Halsne (Team Morten) YouTube / TV2.no

“You have a fantastic tone and range in your voice”, Morten told Edward after his performance, while he described Maria as being “musically very sharp and steady”.

At the end, each mentor was able to choose one of their talents to go through to the semi-final in two weeks.

Morten decided to be tactical in his choice:

“Last Friday three of my talents disappeared from the show. It was brutal for all of us. We were already at a stage where it was very, very even. Today we’re one performance further on, and we’re approaching the craziest part of this show where anything can happen. All of you, Maria, Edward, and the rest of you, have come a long way. You have gained a lot of experience from this, and are definitely all winners. I don’t want to lose any more talents, I want both of you to continue. The only way I can make a choice now, is that I know that the viewers have voted for Edward in the previous two live shows. That’s what I’m counting on this time as well, which means I’m choosing Maria.”

After Morten had chosen Maria, Yosef chose Endre, Lene chose Oskar and Martin chose Amanda.

The last two semi-finalists were decided by viewer votes and turned out to be Edward and Steffi.

So both talents on Team Morten are ready for the semi-final on 24 May. See pictures of all the mentors and their remaining talents on the shows’s official Instagram.

Magne steps down as chairman for Bergen International Festival

Magne was announced as chairman in February 2016

Magne has decided to step down as chairman for Festspillene i Bergen (Bergen International Festival) later this year, Bergens Tidende reports.

Three years ago, the Norwegian Ministry of Culture appointed him chairman for the period 2016 – 2019.

Although he was recently asked to continue for another three-year period, Magne has decided not to continue because other projects – including a-ha – will take up much of his time going forward.

“It was very flattering being asked to continue as chairman, but it’s true that I won’t be running for re-election for the next period”, Magne tells Bergens Tidende.

There was some initial criticism when Magne first got the position, but that has since largely dissipated.

“The work I’ve done as chairman should be up to others to consider, but I feel we have managed to successfully work our way through a period that started out quite turbulently – and we’re delighted that there’s a positive development and increasing enthusiasm for the festival in general”, Magne says.

Bergens Tidende mentions that the success of “Take On Me” being used in a number of big Hollywood movies over the last few years, means that it’s in the cards that a-ha will be shifting their focus to the USA in 2020.

According to a recent Dagbladet article, the upcoming Hunting High and Low Tour has been extended into a world tour, and a-ha will be doing various legs of the tour throughout next year, up until Christmas 2020.

The Voice update

Morten on The Voice, 3 May 2019

After 11 blind audition episodes, 5 knockout episodes and 3 battle episodes, it was time for the first of 5 live shows on Friday 26 April, with Team Lene vs Team Yosef.

In the first two live shows, a total of 19 remaining talents would be reduced to 8 (it was supposed to be 20, but Mina Lund on Team Lene – one of the favorites – decided to withdraw from the competition to focus on her studies).

In the second live show this past Friday, 3 May, the focus shifted to Team Morten vs Team Martin.

Here are the performances of the five remaining talents on Team Morten on Friday:
Henrik Fuglem
Maria Engås Halsne
Edward Mustad
Sindre Steig
Hanna Solemdal

The two talents on Team Morten who ended up going through to the next live show were Edward (viewer votes) and Maria (Morten’s pick). Here’s a picture of Morten with Edward and Maria after the show.

They will compete against Steffi Buie and Oskar Øiestad (Team Lene), Kristoffer Edvardsen and Endre Gryting (Team Yosef) and Amalie Hamborgstrøm and Amanda Rusti (Team Martin).

The live shows continue at H3 Arena on 10 May, 24 May and 31 May (final). Tickets are available through eventim.no.

True August releases debut EP

Cover photo by Stian Andersen

Augie Waaktaar-Savoy released his self-titled debut EP last Friday, 26 April, using his birth name True August. Links to stream and purchase the EP can be found here.

According to a press release quoted by Gaffa, the five songs on the EP have been written during the last year and a half, after he started university in California.

“While working on these songs I have been inspired by bands like Justice, Blonde Redhead, DIIV, Aphex Twin and Slowdive. I was drawn to these bands because I wanted to create a specific mood, which was the ambition with this album, based on how they build their soundscapes and write their songs”, Augie says.

John O’Mahony (“Cast in Steel”, “Summer Solstice”) has mixed the EP, and Paul has naturally also been involved in the process.

“My father has been of great help, with both the recording and the production”, Augie says.

The EP was recorded in the Waaktaar-Savoys’ studios in Brooklyn and Oslo, as well as Augie’s student room in LA. Last summer, Paul posted several updates on Instagram of him and Augie working together.

Tracklist: 1. Mount Joy / 2. I Can See You Clearly / 3. Krones / 4. Rubber / 5. Leipzig

Paul and Lauren have been spending quite some time in California since Augie started university there, and on 21 March Los Angeles Times reported that they have bought a new $5.125 million home in Venice.

Back in November last year they sold their old loft apartment in SoHo for $9 million, which they had continued to rent out in the years since they moved to their current Brooklyn home in 2012. Now it seems they will divide their time between Venice, Brooklyn and Oslo.

New page: The early days 1977 – 1983

Magne, Morten and Paul in the 1970s

In recent years I have been looking through old archives, working on compiling a list of Paul, Magne and Morten’s early concerts/performances in the years between 1977 and 1983. From Spider Empire to Bridges and from Laelia Anceps to Souldier Blue.

The list, which currently includes 54 performances can now be seen on this page:
Early bands and concerts 1977-1983

If you have any corrections or additional dates, contact me here.

HHAL Tour to be extended into 2020

The tour continues…

The upcoming Hunting High and Low Tour will be extended into 2020, the official site announced today, with the first date being Trondheim, Norway on 7 February 2020:

Due to popular demand, a-ha’s ‘Hunting High and Low Live’ tour is extending into 2020!

Today we’re announcing the first show of 2020, taking place in Trondheim, Norway!

The show will be on 7 February 2020 at the brand new indoor stadium, Trondheim Spektrum, opening in October 2019. a-ha is the first band to be announced to play at the arena.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday 11th March at 9:00 am CEST, however there will be a fan pre sale on Saturday 9th March from noon CEST!

Pre Sale Link – Click here

General Sale Link – Click here

More dates in 2020 will be announced soon, including areas the band hasn’t visited since their 1986 world tour. Stay tuned and spread the word!

According to the organizers in Trondheim, this will be the only Norwegian concert on the HHAL Tour. But such statements should be taken with a pinch of salt, as we’ve seen numerous times in the past.

Article: A-ha fremfører sitt legendariske debutalbum i Trondheim Spektrum

“Hunting High And Low – The Early Alternate Mixes” vinyl release

Album cover

A special a-ha vinyl album, Hunting High And Low – The Early Alternate Mixes, will be released in connection with the upcoming Record Store Day 2019 on April 13th.

The 10-track album (1LP, black vinyl) will include the same alternate mixes first released on disc 4 of the 30th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of Hunting High And Low in 2015, and comes with an alternate cover image from the original album cover shoot by Just Loomis.

According to the Record Store Day website, the release will be limited to 6000 copies worldwide.

Tracklist:
1. Take On Me (Video Version) [2015 Remastered]
2. Train Of Thought (Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]
3. Hunting High And Low (Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]
4. The Blue Sky (Alternate Long Mix) [2015 Remastered]
5. Living A Boy’s Adventure Tale (Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]
6. The Sun Always Shines On T.V. (Alternate Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]
7. And You Tell Me (Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]
8. Love Is Reason (Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]
9. Dream Myself Alive (Early “NYC” Mix) [2015 Remastered]
10. Here I Stand And Face The Rain (Early Mix) [2015 Remastered]

This will be third a-ha release in connection with Record Store Day, following the “Take On Me” 7″ picture disc in 2015 and the a-ha hits South America 12″ live EP in 2016, which were limited to 3000 copies each.

See a list of participating record stores in your area here.

The Voice: week 2 and 3

Morten and Yosef in last Friday’s episode

Over the last couple of weeks, seven new talents have joined Team Morten. They are:

Marie Øvstebø
Sebastian Hågensen
Cecilie Haukland
Marta Hagen
June Salomonsen
Hanna Solemdal
Trina Coleman

Trina Coleman in particular, could turn out to be one of the favorites this season.

When discussing how the various song choices during the blind auditions could impact their decisions, Morten said that he had an advantage over the other mentors:

“My great advantage is that I rarely listen to music at all. So for me, all the songs are more or less unknown.”

To see video clips of all the performances so far, go to TV2’s YouTube channel.

The Voice: week 1

Back in the red chair

The fifth season of The Voice started airing on TV2 this week, with the first two blind audition episodes on Monday and Friday.

So far Morten has ended up with three talents for his team, Lene has five, while Yosef and Martin both have two.

As with the previous season, TV2 will be posting all the performances on YouTube. Here are the video clips of this week’s talents, backed by a band featuring a-ha’s Karl Oluf Wennerberg on drums:

Helene Seljehaug – Yosef
Silje Rubin – Lene
Carl-Christian Grimstad – Martin
Marius Brynjulfsen – Lene
Martine Kristofa Rygvold – none
Steffi Jo Buie – Morten

Kristin Husøy – Yosef
Martin Løvereide Lindtner – none
Ida Ganes – Lene
Edward Mustad – Morten
Oline Rørstad Bredeli – none
Charlotte Marie Hjelmeland – Lene
Ray Hardy Johansen – Morten
Amanda Rusti – Martin
Mina Lund – Lene

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