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Norwegian Pop Culture

Royksopp at Fuji Rock, Naeba, Niigata, Japan, in the summer of 2005.

Popular music Today, Norwegian pop, rock, hip-hop, metal, R&B and electronica are more popular than ever. Bands and artists like Röyksopp, Turbonegro, Serena Maneesh, Sissel, Annie, Madrugada, Thunderbolt, and Jaga Jazzist are at the forefront of Norwegian popular music. Thanks to a multitude of other active bands and new record companies, more is going on in Norwegian popular music than ever before.

Spotlight on Röyksopp Röyksopp (shown in concert at right) is a Norwegian electronic music duo based in Tromsø composed of Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge. The group formed officially in 1998 and released their debut album Melody A.M. in 2001.

Geir Zahl, Janove Ottesen, and Terje Vinterstø of Kaizers Orchestra at the concert in Vega, Copenhagen, on the 6th of October, 2005.

Norway has a large and active rock scene. High volume bands, like Kaizers Orchestra, Bigbang, DEL, Madrugada, Amulet, Serena Maneesh, Motorpsycho, Animal Alpha and JR Ewing, have a solid position in Norway, and increase their popularity abroad with every successful tour.

Spotlight on Bigbang Bigbang (Shown in concert at left) is a Norwegian rock band led by frontman Øystein Greni. Bigbang has been described as "Norway's best live band", with their "Radio TV Sleep" holding the honor of being the best selling live album ever to be released in their home country.

Åsmund Åmli Band is a Norwegian country/rock band from Valle in Setesdalen, formed in 1996. They have sold more than 20,000 albums worldwide and are one of Norway's most successful country bands.

Prepple Houmb at Studenthuset in Halden (Photo: Bård Halvorsen)

Spotlight on DumDum Boys DumDum Boys is a Norwegian rock band from Trondheim, considered one of the most important Norwegian rock bands of all time. They started up in the late 1970s as a punk band under the name "Wannskrækk", and released a few singles under that name before they reinvented themselves with a new name and a somewhat new sound in 1985. Band member Prepple Houmb shown at right in concert at Studenthuset in Halden (Photo: Bård Halvorsen)

Artists with a quieter sound include St. Thomas, Thomas Dybdahl and Ane Brun, as well as groups such as Washington, Minor Majority, Salvatore and The White Birch, all of which have been praised by foreign music critics for their expressiveness.

Bertine Zetlitz at a concert in Stavanger the summer of 2004

Norwegian pop music boasts a number of gifted and distinctive songwriters and performers, including Bertine Zetlitz (shown in concert in Stavanger, Norway at left - See spotlight below), Sondre Lerche, Maria Mena and Ephemera.

Among the younger, promising artists is Marion Ravn, formerly half of the duo M2M, and now a solo artist with a major international contract. The other half of M2M, Marit Larsen (See Spotlight below), is also expected to develop a successful career. Meanwhile the veterans in a-ha are still going strong, almost 20 years after their massive international breakthrough, and enjoying major success in terms of both record sales and live performances. Another longstanding Norwegian favorite is Sissel, who is now concentrating on increasing her international audience, with particular focus on the USA.

Spotlight on Bertine Zetlitz Bertine Axeliane Robberstad Zetlitz aka Bertine Zetlitz (born April 9, 1975) is a Norwegian pop singer. She is one of Norway's most popular performers. Bertine started on her musical journey at a young age, penning her first numbers aged just 12. After emerging from a more Classical music route and music college, she began to concentrate on her long-term fantasy to become a singer-songwriter.

Marit Larsen, Norwegian musician

Spotlight on Marit Elisabeth Larsen (Shown at right) (born on July 1, 1983) is a Norwegian singer and songwriter. She gained international fame during her teenage years as a member of the pop duo M2M with childhood friend Marion Raven. More recently she pursued her own music career releasing her solo debut album, Under the Surface, in 2006. Her second album, The Chase, was released in Norway on October 13th, 2008.

The electronica scene is dominated by the biggest current name among Norwegian music exports: Röyksopp. However, the Tromsø/Bergen is not alone in producing melodic, warm, organic electronica. Artists like Jaga Jazzist, Xploding Plastix, Ralph Myerz and The Jack Herren Band, Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas, Datarock, Flunk, BermudaTriangle, Supersilent, Frost, Sternklang and Bjørn Torske have made a large number of recordings and give frequent live performances.

Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band during P3sessions in Oslo, Norway. Photo taken by Torstein Frogner May 27 2006.

Spotlight on Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band a Norwegian electronica group. The band was formed in 1997 when Erlend Sellevold asked for people to play percussion with him during a party in Bergen, Norway. Thomas Lønnheim and Tarjei Strøm showed up through a combination of mutual contacts and high-school friendship. Supposedly a one-time-event, they had so much fun playing together that they decided to form a band, and Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band was formed. The image above shows the band performing at P3sessions in Oslo May 27th 2006. Thomas Lønnheim standing on his drums.

Satyricon, Metaltown 2008

Norwegian hip-hop is characterized by a strong Norwegian-language scene, which includes such names as Tungtvann, Klovner i Kamp and Karpe Diem, as well as an up-and-coming scene taking its inspiration directly from the USA’s east coast, and which includes Equicez, Paperboys, Warlocks and Tee Productions.

Metal has traditionally been one of Norwegian music’s biggest music exports. Bands such as Satyricon (Shown at right performing at, Metaltown 2008), Red Harvest, Dimmu Borgir, Enslaved and Mayhem have many loyal fans in Norway and abroad, and the international music press ranks the Norwegian metal scene as among the best within the genre.

Norwegian roots/country/folk music is also thriving, with good revenues, popular festivals and loyal fans. Norwegian-language artists like Henning Kvitnes and Jonas Fjeld are some of this genre’s most successful artists in Norway, with excellent record sales and extensive concert tours. Other key artists within this broad genre include Home Groan, The International Tussler Society and HGH.

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