Mela opens during big festival weekend

No less than five music festivals are being held in Oslo this weekend, with the Norwegian capital’s most multi-cultural event of the year, the annual Mela Festival, already sprawling over the waterfront plaza in front of City Hall. It was opening on Friday for a three-day run that usually attracts big crowds of food- and music lovers, who […]

Tougher times for street musicians

Traveling street musicians who’ve played on the streets of Oslo for years have been having a tougher time earning any money this summer. They’re facing a host of new challenges, from changing customs to the introduction of regulations. “I first came here for the atmosphere,” Jim Pizza, an American musician who insists that’s his real […]

Jazz community mourns Kapstad

Norway’s jazz community has been paying tribute this past week to pianist and composer Egil Kapstad, who died on July 13 after what his family described as a brief illness. He was hailed for his contributions to music for more than 40 years. Kapstad played with jazz greats including Toots Thielemans and Chet Baker. He was […]

Show-biz ‘godfather’ mourned

Norway’s entertainment and music world was mourning the loss this week of composer and producer Egil Monn-Iversen, also known as the “godfather” and “sphinx” of Norwegian show business. Monn-Iversen died late last week at the age of 89 after a lengthy illness. His career started in the 1940s when he and his artistic partner and wife Sølvi […]

‘Intimate’ a-ha concert sold out quickly

Hard-core fans of the Norwegian pop group a-ha didn’t seem to mind paying NOK 4,000 for a ticket to sit in on what’s billed as an “exclusive, intimate concert” on an island off north-central Norway this summer. The 500 tickets available sold out in 30 minutes. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the three members of a-ha […]

New conflict hits the Norwegian Opera

Disharmony at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet has now risen to fever pitch, after its brand-new music director, Karl-Heinz Steffens, announced that he’s already decided to leave his post next year. Steffens was popular and had been viewed as a unifying force in an organization riddled with conflict, but he claims he simply hasn’t found a good tone […]

Stavanger band warms up for Metallica

As thousands of metal music fans stream back into Oslo this week for the annual Inferno festival, always held during the Easter holidays, one of Norway’s most popular metal bands has lit an even bigger fire of its own. It’s been asked to warm up for none other than Metallica, when that legendary band launches its “World-wired” […]

‘Bylarm’ festival comes of age

Norway’s annual Bylarm music festival and conference was getting underway on Thursday for the 20th time, now at its home base in Oslo. It’s evolved into a premier showcase for new talent, and attracts scouts and attention from around the world. More than 150 different and new names are on the program this year, set to […]

Crew serenaded Paul Simon on Hurtigruten voyage

Legendary US singer Paul Simon took a holiday voyage on board one of Norway’s famed Hurtigruten coastal vessels last week, the Trollfjord. The crew ended up serenading him on his last night on board on Friday. “It was an honour to have Paul Simon on board,” wrote Hurtigruten officials on the vessel’s own Facebook page. “We can […]

Marcus & Martinus win ‘artists of the year’ award

They did it again: The teenage duo from a small town in north-central Norway won the country’s annual Spellemann prize as artists of the year. Veteran violinist Arve Tellefsen won the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. Neither Marcus nor Martinus nor Tellefsen were on hand to receive their prizes at the annual gala in […]