a-ha and Norway II

Thanks to the live broadcast on www.nrk.no, I was able to see the full Norwegian memorial service in the Oslo Spektrum arena. It was a sober, fitting tribute to the fallen victims. Most artists were completely unknown to non-Norwegians and sang in their native tongue, but that didn't matter because grief is a universal language.

I did recognize soprano Sissel Kyrkjebų, however, who scored a hit in 1997 when she collaborated with Warren G.

a-ha opted for a toned-down rendition of their 1988 song Stay On These Roads, a very fitting choice. The band was beautifully accompagnied by the Kringkastingsorkestret (the broadcaster's orchestra), which made me long for a full symphonic a-ha concert.

I was particularly fond of the band Sambandet, who played a laidback, guitar-driven song. I reckon they're Norway's equivalent to a band like Dire Straits.

The most touching part of the ceremony was the naming of all the victims, photo and name included. All those young lives, gone in the blink of an eye. Horrible, just horrible. Norway can be proud of the entire, two-hour tribute.

Julian De Backer, 22 August 2011