Alexander Rybak’s Day: Cover versions of his songs by HGVM artists

Touched Rybak to tears:  Alexander Rybak struggled to hold back the tears when Sigvart Dagsland performed a tremendous version of “13 Horses” in “Hver gang vi møtes. The women around the table on their side did nothing to hide her tears. Ref: Stein Østbø, VG

English translation by Venche M. and Hildebjorg H. English revision by Anni Jowett.

Samsaya – “Europe Skies” 

Samsaya starts

Samsaya opened the musical day with “Europe’s Skies” from Alexander’s album “No Boundaries” from 2010.
Alexander thinks Samsaya has done interesting things with his song.
– I have always believed that what makes my songs, is the usage of classic chords, but Samsaya took it away and it worked. And she makes an insane performance as well. She simplified the chords. I think it’s only her who could make the song believable that way,- says Alexander to TV 2.

VG 4 on the dice

Samsaya takes Alexander’s European dream out of the “Fairytale”-rhythm and makes totally urban with initial rap, heavy beat, dominant bass and intense jungle drums in the break. Samsaya’s version is playful without losing the song’s dream-element. Her best effort so far in the series.

Dagbladet Dice: 3

There has been some skepticism about Alexander Rybak’s participation. Does he have enough – and good enough – songs that might be interesting for that kind of show? He has made three regular solo albums during the last five years, but not many hits after “Fairytale”. If the songs are good enough you can do anything with them, but this one, from the album “No Boundaries” (2010), is not interesting enough for Samsaya to lift. She uses her voice well as always, but the arrangements are angular and staccato and lack flow.

Sigvart Dagsland – “13 horses” (“13 Horses”)

Most touching moment

Sigvart Dagsland chooses “13 horses” from the 2009 album “Fairytales” and has translated the text from English to Norwegian.
Alexander tells that this was his musical highlight that evening.
AR: – It was by far the highlight of the day. It was the one I liked best. He took care of the essence of the song and just did it in a different pace and translated it. Because of Sigvart, one of the songs that was overshadowed by the happy songs on that album will be more listened to. It was the most touching moment for me – perhaps during the entire stay.

VG  6 on the dice

An amazing vocal performance that brings tears to squirt around the table, almost by Alexander himself too. The original is a half pompous, orchestrated musical-like ballad where Sigvart retains the drama of the song, but does a much more naked and intimate version with a voice dynamic that can only come from an experienced singer. And the text – sniff ¿

Dagbladet Dice: 5

When you hear Rybak’s own version of this song from the album “Fairytales” (2009), you know immediately that this is food for Dagsland. It could have been written for him, and he does it better. He has translated it into Norwegian, with a very successful result. There does not happen that much, but the simple arrangement feels just right for a song that is lifted by Dagsland’s involvement and presence. It starts with a simple piano accompaniment, before the song builds up slowly to a small crescendo in well-known Dagsland style – and with a raw guitar section in contrast to his gentle song. Considerably more credible than his first two contributions in this show. And Rybak is touched.

Anneli Drecker – “5000 Letters”

A very credible experience
Anneli has picked “5000 Letters” from Alexander’s album, “No Boundaries” from 2010.
AR: – Very pleasant. It is motivating that she found a song that is her and which became a very credible experience.

VG  3 on the dice

A well-meant song, but with an anonymous melody that not even Anneli can do wonders with, despite some electrification IN the expression. She has not changed rhythm distinctly – it sounds almost like Sting at its laziest – and I’m sure Anneli could have characterised this song even more if she had used more denominations of her voice.

Dagbladet Dice: 3

Drecker has taken Rybak’s humble greeting to his fans even more down than his original version. The song does not fit Drecker, and I get a “Josh Groban-feeling.” Also this song is suffering because it is musically not so exciting in the first place, and Drecker cannot make much more out of it – even though there are a thin veil of synth over it. A conventional arrangement of a fairly ordinary song.

Simone Eriksrud – “Funny Little World” 

New “outfit”
Simone chooses “Funny Little World” from the album “Fairytales” and Alexander, who has ambitions to write more songs for other artists, likes to hear his own song in a different way.
AR: – I learned that my lyrics might work in a brand new style, and still it’s a cool song. She really made me believe more in myself as a songwriter for other artists.

VG 3 on the dice

Pure acid jazz, according to Simone herself, and she is completely right. Extremely d’sound-delicate, but the version moves so far from the original that the essence disappears. This is a song that is bursting with love, but Simone replaces this horny youthfulness with sensual light of experience. It unfortunately doesn’t hit home right here.

Dagbladet Dice 3

Simone interpreted Rybak’s second most famous song, an honest story written shortly after, and about, the “Fairytale” success, to be on everyone’s lips and to fall in love. She has put a basically cheerful and life-affirming song in D’Sounds a bit chilly and cool acid jazz / chill-landscape, far away from Rybak’s naive and warm approach. It’s only partially successful, although it picks up after a lingering start.

Lars Lillo-Stenberg – “Eventyr” (“Fairy Tale”) 

– It got a new spring in my heart
Lars Lillo-Stenberg gets the honour of performing Alexander’s biggest hit, “Fairytale”, with which he won the 2009 ESC finals.
Alexander appreciates Lars Lillo’s interpretation and translation from English to Norwegian.
AR: – It was lovely that it got a new spring in my heart. The translation was so lovely. He took the essence of the text and made it blossom in Norwegian. Although my text is simple, he managed to translate it like it is, but with much more beautiful words.

VG 5 on the dice

Lars has “NeilYoung-ified» Alexander’s personal national treasure, all right, but it is fully recognisable and – once again – with a beautiful new Norwegian text. Lars has an adventurous ability to own all the songs he gets between his hands, regardless of genre. Swaying delicious version with loads of warm acoustic guitars and melancholy chorus.

Dagbladet DICE: 6

A bold and surprising choice, since it is Rybak’s “theme song” and because the ESC winning song from 2009 has such a recognisable fiddle theme that in many ways defines the song. Therefore he has to do it completely different, and it works incredibly well. Lillo-Stenberg has masterfully given it Norwegian lyrics and converted it into a catchy pop song with deLillos’ naive style, with a Neil Young-inspired twist. The fiddle is replaced with acoustic guitars, and it works very well. A fairytale of a broken heart! Hooray! Rybak got a six on the dice when “Fairytale” was presented as the ESC track and here he gets another one.

Øivind “Elg” Elgenes – “Oah” 

Mysterious “Twin Peaks” world
Elg ends Alexander’s day with “Oah” from the “No Boundaries” album.
AR: – He took me into a mysterious “Twin Peaks” world with a song that really was basically very, very, very happy. That was fun. And it was a very nice ending to the whole thing.

VG 4 on the dice

Elg transforms this feisty insignificance to a shambling, life tired accumulation of tones somewhere between Chris Isaak and classic spaghetti western, complete with a Johnny Cash-sounding spoken word verses. The chorus is so dark and slow that it’s on the border of parody, but Elg’s rusty voice suits the transition from adolescence to mature adrenaline resignation.

Dagbladet Dice: 3

Elg has chosen one of Rybak’s most famous songs, an honest song about a girl he does not get – which it was some fuss around because of his almost ruthless self-disclosure. The song has been given a slightly spaghetti western feel, with shrill guitar, and it is darker than the original version – which is catchier than the serious topic would suggest. That has also made the track slow and sad and a little “spooky”, and I feel that it lacks a bit of progress. He does not pull out the best in the song, but instead takes it down. The chorus, which is so important in this song, could also have been more pronounced. Cool, but does not quite hit the mark.

Duet with Lars Lillo “Eventyr” (Fairytale)

At the end of the program Alexander chooses to take up the fiddle on Lars Lillo’s “Fairytale” version. Below you can see the unique duet which was not shown in full on TV.

Became inspired
Alexander thinks that by being honoured by artist colleagues he got a lot back.
– They made me feel both like an artist who has created many nice songs, but also inspired me to continue song writing for other artists. It was all in all an inspiring day,- says Alexander Rybak to TV 2

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