I started this blog studying the song Venn. It's a benefit song (like a Norwegian We Are The World), sung by many popular Norwegian singers. I thought that by researching artists in this video, I could find interesting music. I found interesting music, yes, but I also found interesting stories.
Here's the link to live version of Venn, which started it all, and here's my report.
Man, nothing like a blast of Kurt Nilsen to put me in a good mood.
The line he sings in Venn really stands out... this guy's voice is amazing. He's the guy with a gap in his teeth, and he's the first person I took note of the first time I saw the video, both because of his unusual looks and his incredible voice. Well, this guy was a plumber and he won the Norwegian Idol and went on to win World Idol. To top it off, he just radiates modesty and goodness. He's a Norwegian darling, all right.
It was fun to track down video clips on YouTube and watch him from his first interview to him winning bigger and bigger honors. Here he is at World Idol.
Of course you noticed the redhead who does the rap solo in Venn, he gets the longest block of words in the song. He goes by the name Ravi, and he's an amusing guy. Here's a video where he's a baby. The chorus begins with "Tjeriåu, tjeriåu, baibai" (pronounced: Cherrio, cherrio, bye-bye) and goes on with "Its tu leit tu krai."
Did you notice one of the singers staring right at the camera during her lines in Venn? She gives off a professional vibe, doesn't she? She should, she's perhaps the best soprano in the world. Her name is Sissel (no last name required). She sang at the opening of the Olympics in Lillehammer, sang on the soundtrack of Titanic, and was nominated for a grammy for her singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She's about my age, 40.
It was funny to find her singing "Sukiyaki". We were community friends for 3 Japanese students on a special 5-month college program at WWU, and they introduced us to this song (one of the most famous Japanese songs worldwide.) Sukiyaki means "to walk while looking up." Here's young Sissel, age 14, singing it in Norwegian. Nice voice.
Sissel sings Sukiyaki
But here's a beautiful song, Eg Ser. She's 20 here.
She's from Bergen, and pronounces many words quite differently... especially the endings of short words that are dropped in Trondersk. She pronounces half the words in "Jeg vil gå de med deg" differently, and yet it's entirely understandable. (It helps that she enunciates very well!) People in Norway talk all the time about all the different dialects, and I'm starting to see why.
Many Norwegian artists, I'm finding, record in English. I suppose that makes a lot sense – record in Norwegian and have an audience of 4.5 million, record in English and you have the world. Bertine is one such English-only pop singer. I did found this song which was notable because it was played in a commercial we heard often just before we left Norway last year, so it was funny to stumble upon.
There are many other stories and songs to find... stay tuned.