Norwegians mourn legendary singer

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Gustav Lorentzen, better known as “Ludvigsen” in the pop duo “Knutsen & Ludvigsen,” died suddenly while taking part in an orienteering event outside Bergen Wednesday evening. He was 62.

Gustav Lorentzen (left), performing with his partner in "Knutsen & Ludvigsen," Øystein Dolmen. PHOTO: Philip Gabrielsen/Wikipedia Commons

The endearing musician was being mourned by colleagues and fans alike. “My friend, the great Gustav Lorentzen of legendary Norwegian psychedelic pop duo Knutsen & Ludvigsen, passed away today, way too soon,” wrote singer Sondre Lerche in a message on Twitter.

Other colleagues also had trouble accepting that the often childlike “Ludvigsen” was suddenly gone. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that he collapsed of heart failure during the orienteering event.

Emergency crews reported that they “received a call at 5:37pm that a participant had collapsed and his heart had stopped at Espedalen in Blomsterdalen,” Terje Hilland of the Hordaland Police District told website bt.no. “He was pronounced dead just after 6pm.”

Lorentzen was a vocalist, guitarist, composer, author and television host. He was best known for his funny, childish songs as part of “Knutsen & Ludvigsen” but NRK noted that he also was an ambassdor for UNICEF, the author of 12 books and a champion of cultural events for children.

He won Norway’s Spellemanprisen (the Norwegian equivalent of the Grammy Awards) six times, four as a solo artist. He and muscial partner Øystein Dolmen, who became known as “Knutsen,” created such classic Norwegian songs as Kansjke kommer Kongen, which tells a story about mounting a great feast fit for a king, and that perhaps the king will come, but if not, no matter: “Then there will be more for us!”

Other songs, with catchy tunes that became part of the national heritage, dealt with a wide range of everyday subjects and brought out the child in their listeners. As one mourner wrote in a condolence protocol on NRK’s web site, “He has meant so much for so many. The old songs are all classics, and the music is an important part of the Norwegian cultural heritage, not least for children.”

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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