Article about Alexander Rybak from “Romerikes Blad”, 24.06.2011

Nostalgic summer breeze from the countryside

This is an article from “Romerikes Blad” (24.06.2011) – only in paper issue. Written by Kjersti Busterud and Ola Einbu.

Found by Kristen Marie Heia
Scanned and translated by Laila Solum Hansen

Alexander Rybak enters the summer with songs about the wind which is ruffling the curtains, Maria and the first kiss. All put together in Gjerdrum.


“Det går en vind over vindens ängar”. And there Alexander Rybak is sitting, suntanned in the Norwegian summer’s breeze, ready to sweep over the country with Swedish songs, written by 73 years old Mats Paulson.

– I wish that my album will be a present for everybody, even the adult audience. I am widening my audience a bit with this project, Rybak says about “Visa vid vindens ängar”

The album is fully recorded in the studio of Knut Bjørnar Asphol in Gjerdrum, with among other the Eidsvoll man Stian Carstensen as a musician. The critics have been mostly good, also in Romerikes Blad.

Kaja Schau Knatten gives it 5 on the dice, and writes: ”Traditional mark, with a young nerve, at the same time with mature lyrics and a sort of creaky vocal: Alexander Rybak’s traditional song project is a lovely mix” – “Summer-y, swinging, beautiful and wistful!”

Mutual admiration

But isn’t 25 year Rybak a little too young for cooperating with a 73 year old, on songs that had their heydays several decades before he was born?

– For me this is time-less music. It’s music that speaks to the heart, even without lyrics, he points out. But he admits that he is a nostalgia. We Belorussian are very nostalgic. I love to miss – and singing about missing.

Alexander Rybak has been singing “Visa vid vindens ängar” since he was a little boy.

– Me and my dad used to travel around and play on the streets when I was a little boy. We always got some extra money when we played that song. Paulson’s songs have always meant summer to me,- he says.

The album started by Mats Paulson watching a YouTube clip in 2009, where Rybak played his song “Visa vid vindens ängar”.

– He sent me a mail where he thanked me for singing his songs. I almost couldn’t believe it was true. Mats is a composer that I always have looked up to,- he tells.

Alexander Rybak started playing more of his songs on his own concerts.

– I didn’t care that it was actually a pop concert, with screaming girls in front of the stage. Me and Mats have a lot in common in that we wish that people should be listening to traditional songs,- he tells.

Turbulent years

After a tough period for Rybak it was natural to go for Swedish summer mood.

– It has been very turbulent the last years, and it was topped stress-wise by “Let’s Dance!” in Sweden, in the same time as I took part in “Let’s Sing” in Ukraine. Some of the joy of doing music disappeared.  Then I remembered: “Hey! I’ve got the mail address for Paulson!”  It has been therapy to spend time together with a balanced soul like him.

Found naughty lyrics

Alexander Rybak’s plan was actually to make an album of traditional songs from different composers. But when Paulson sent him 250 of his songs, he felt that he had more than enough to choose from.

– Six of the songs are completely his. Then I found the naughtiest of his lyrics that had no melodies, and made melodies for them,- Rybak tells. He describes Paulson as “a much bigger womanizer than me”.

One of the lyrics was written on request from Rybak.

– We needed a more radio friendly song. I first made the melody for “Resan till dig” before I asked Mats to make a lyrics about walking all the way forward to the one you like, a lyrics about unconditioned love. He understood the task at once,- Rybak says.

He himself declared his love for Maria Strøm Slyngstad during this year’s “Spellemann”, but the song that carries the name “Maria” is not about her.

– There are so many named Maria, so the song is about the bigamist who loves Maria, who can be a blonde Maria one day, a brunette the next,- he explains.


Picture 1:

Under the first photo: RYBAK WITH NEW “FAIRYTALE”: Alexander Rybak and girlfriend Maria Slyngstad

Under the second photo: RYBAK WITH A NEW MUSICIAN: Stian Carstensen is participating in the album.

Under main photo: RYBAK WITH A NEW PRODUCER: Alexander Rybak has brought with him the record he made by Knut Bjørnar Asphol, out to the Nordic countries. Rybak liked it in the countryside, and thought it was all right that the circumstances were a little different from Oslo. The piano was recorded at the ground floor, the violin at the first floor.

Picture 2:

OBTAINED HELP AT ROMERIKE. New album: Stian Carstensen and Bjørnar Asphol have been helping Alexander Rybak


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