Alexander Rybak in Greece 2009
Below you’ll find 2 interviews from Greek media, a Greek review of Alexander’s album “Fairytales” and 2 Vlog videos he made when he was there.
Review of the album “Fairytales”
The interview : The flying Norwegian
The interview: I will not be a pop idol at 45
Two Vlogs Alexander made when he was there.
Found and translated by Yannis Papadopoulos
Revision by Anni Jowett
Review of the album “Fairytales”
Republished by several newspapers and magazines, origin unknown, retrieved from: http://www.starnews.gr/?p=2480
Who is Alexander Rybak? Bright? Restless? Expressive? His face is a map where all the emotions can be expressed. He is torrential and gifted with a disarming truth and an even deeper musicality! Even all these are not enough to describe this 23-year musician, who won this year’s ESC with “Fairytales”.
With 387 votes, ‘‘Fairytale’’ has broken the record set by the Finnish Lordi in 2006. It captured the top position at download charts in Europe and Australia. It has entered the top-5 of the Radio charts of all European countries. It was proclaimed the most successful song since the era of Abba. But most of all, it reminded us that Eurovision is, above all, a musical contest! The young Norwegian with the Russian surname ‘‘Rybak’’, who was born on 13 May 1986 in Minsk, Belarus (only two weeks after the Chernobyl disaster) promises us more surprises. On 1 June 2009 his debut studio album, ‘‘Fairytales’’, is released.
What an incredible and fantastic debut! That’s how his album is acclaimed across Europe. It spawns a wild, Dionysian celebration, by alternating the Norwegian and Russian tradition with pop elements, imagination and humour in the first tracks, accompanied by his incredible violin solos and his amazing vocals. His innovative melodies remind us of the genius and the originality of Paul McCartney. The deep but musical background of this young Norwegian not (forgetting the skills of his parents) are revealed in the last four tracks of the album. In “If You Were Gone”, Alexander covers with mastery and originality a musical theme of Hennig Sommero, while “Abandoned”, a great piano ballad, encompasses influences ranging from Edvard Grieg to Elton John.
His dramatic intensity and his passion will leave you speechless, due to his vocal capabilities. “13 Horses” is a disarming track, that will make you to whisper: “pure magic”. But “Dolphin”, a revision of an old Russian melody for violin, will transfer you to the world of… Disney. The last instrumental track, “Song Of A Secret Garden”, is the ultimate anthem to the overwhelming beauty of this album. But the listener will hurry to return to “Fairytale”, which won the Eurovision. We will never get bored to listen to its ingenious chorus.
The Flying Norwegian
From “To Vima” newspaper, 26 July 2009, by Asterope Lazarides
Greek tabloid journalists used to call him bad names. But Alexander Rybak is just the opposite of what they said. He visited our country to promote his work, and he proved that all these people who were “digging a tomb” for him [idiomatic expression for defamation], are the ones who should be buried into this hole!
“You are too expressive. You shouldn’t smile so much”. That’s what the judge of a Norwegian talent show told him, after he rejected him. Alexander’s mistake then was that he didn’t bring his violin with him. His early musical training by his parents since the age of 5, made him realise that violin would be the extension of his arm.
So, in 2006, he returned to Norwegian TV and his time he made it! Then he offered to Norway a Eurovision triumph with 387 pts., although Norway is only his second homeland, since he was born in Belarus. His song, “Fairytale”, spoke about his fallen romance, about a girlfriend who dropped him for another guy. “Easy to guess why”, was the bitter comment from Betty Maggira, the Greek TV correspondent to Moscow. She was determined to degrade Alexander’s significance, just like all these ‘eurovisionologists’ of our local press. They all claimed he was jealous of “our Sakis”. Needless to remind that “Sakis” never made it into the first 5! As for Alexander Rybak, his likable behavior during his visit in Athens has taught them a lesson to remember!
Unfortunately, his ex-girl friend is no longer a romantic princess; she became a bad witch. «I knew she changed a lot since we broke up. I didn’t expect her to call me after the Eurovision. And she didn’t But in the next day, she gave our photos to the media. I don’t care, I have this song and thousands of heartbroken people, who thanked me for helping them to feel better».
Even before hearing him, you will be fond of Alexander Rybak. You can sense that he is a sweet creature, staring at everything with childish enthusiasm. You may thing that he smiles too much because he can’t phrase any word. Not at all! «I know that people can forget be in a couple of years, another one will take my place. But I don’t want o be a pop idol in my 40s, I want to compose for movies and big orchestras». His biography includes a duet with the famous violinist Pinchas Zukerman.
He doesn’t try to be politically correct, just like one-hit wonders, who usually claim they can save the world. «I am not an ecology specialist. Music is my only field. I am not smart enough to save the planet. I cannot think what could happen to the environment in 40 years from now. But I plan to visit a hospital and sing for the children. That maybe not change the world, but it will make some people feel better».
We didn’t see any hypocritical modesty from him either: «There are two kinds of people, these who want to be at the centre of the attention and these who want to remain obscure. I belong to the first class. I became famous across Europe in one night, and I like this! I am paid well enough just to do what amuses me. And this is a great privilege! I always loved entertaining people, therefore that’s my profession».
Regarding ‘our Sakis’: «A single “hi” is enough to make friends in the world of showbiz. So, yes, I am a friend with Sakis in this way. I like that he is mature, he doesn’t try to be Ricky Martin, he has a family».
Where did you see that, Alexander? When he wore a torn T-shirt or when he was poured with water? I am sure Alexander knew about the remarks of the French press on Sakis, but he didn’t want to make us sad. That’s what the French said: «Greece has send to the Eurovision an old showman who looks like a declined Enrique Iglesias».
Everything can be an inspiration for Alexander Rybak. Kitchen sounds, the nature, the animals’ voices. The exceptional melody of “Fairytale” came to him when he was standing on the top of a hill. He just played a tune with his violin there, and that tune became a huge hit in Europe. But Alexander is not deluded: «Norwegians are bored of it. It has been played for months». But he was delighted to learn that thanks to him, interest in classical music studies has been increased for about 50%.
«Folk music is the most pure. I always loved Theodorakis for this, he turned the Greek folk music into so many kinds, from instrumental up to popular». At the end of this autumn he will come to our country again for a concert. Meanwhile, he wants to promote his CD. «I always read fans letters and I reply. I dedicate 2 or 3 hours for autographs after my concerts. When my bodyguards try to stop me, I tell them that I want to listen to the stories of my fans, otherwise I will be unable to compose».
Alexander doesn’t hurry to grow up. «In the long run we may lose the child within us, but we may discover it again. Some do it at 19, others at 72. I had the chance to rediscover it on the Eurovision stage. I was surfing the wave and I managed to show this on TV. Everybody saw it, that’s why I was voted».
The Norwegian TV-judge was right. Alexander is too expressive. And he does smile more than the average. So this is our verdict: 12 points!
«I will not be a pop idol at 45»
From “Eleftherotypia” newspaper, 21 July 2009, By Helena Galanopoulos
«You may not be Alexander the Great, but you are still a great Alexander!» That’s what the ambassador of Norway in Greece, Sverre Stub, said to Alexander Rybak, winner of the Eurovision 2009. The ambassador added: «Norway has two ambassadors in Greece. In alphabetical order the first is you and the second is me».
No, the ambassador is not crazy! He knows that thanks to Alexander Rybak, his country will gain a global appeal. Therefore, he offered his house in Kolonaki [=Lycabettus hill] for the press conference.
What the 23-year old Norwegian has achieved is great. Not only he broke the Eurovision votes record, but he also manage to author the most popular song to win this contest, since the Abba era, which became a top hit in download and airplay charts of Europe and Australia. He restored high quality standards for this contest, and he caused an increase of about 30-40% to the number of Norwegians taking violin and traditional dance lessons.
His debut album contains the winning song, but also 8 more songs he has composed [not all]. He managed to combine traditional elements from the Norwegian and the Russian culture, with pop, humor, imagination and uplifting violin solos and vocals. His disk is available in 22 countries [by Universal in Greece].
He had a deep musical training, since his parents are exceptional musicians. That has equipped him with reason and self-knowledge. «I know that I will be less famous in 4 years. A new talented person will appear in Norway, and I wish that I will be the first to support». That’s why he enjoys the fame, and he claims that victory didn’t change him. «I managed to come to a ‘‘deal’’ with myself before the contest. I think that became evident on TV. I am happy for being paid to do what I adore», he said.
He didn’t refuge to answer more personal questions. «I can’t understand these celebrities who are troubled by media’s attention. I have always been an outgoing individual. And I always want to address as many people as possible. Therefore, I am not concerned about leakages from my privacy. It’s part of the game too».
He continued his confessions: «I will not be a pop idol until 45. Therefore, I plan to start composing, that’s what I have studied. When I will be a family man, I don’t want to have to tour the world for concerts. I want to be able to compose in my home, preferably away from the city». He was also asked about Sakis Rouvas. «Sakis is a source of inspiration for younger artists. Although famous, he remains accessible».
He didn’t deny the possibility of a common concert. «He is the only Greek I know, and he is important. Moreover, we have many in common, we share the same energy. I would like to meet Greek violinists, especially from folk music, which is the purest thing any country has to offer. That’s why I love Theodorakis, because he understood the essence of folk music and he conceived its evolution into new genre varieties».
4) Related videos
Alexander performing “Fairytale” at an Athens radio station:
Alexander’s video log from Athens, July 20 2009: