Meet the landlady and room-mate of ESC-winner Alexander Rybak.
Link to original article by Ivar Brynhildsen: http://www.noblad.no/kultur/mot-samboerne-til-mgp-vinneren-alexander-rybak-1.5139980
Translation by Marianne Saietz, revision by TessaLa and Anni Jowett
In the living room of Karin Madsen at Ljan, stays the piano where Alexander Rybak conjured “Fairytale”. Megan Sørlie (20) has followed the process from the first tone.
Not everyone knows that Alexander Rybak has rented a room in Karin Madsen’s house in Birgitte Hammersvei for several years. Here he lives like a son in the house, along with the other flatmate Megan Sørlie.
Megan and Alexander use the kitchen, bathroom, living room and the rest of the house as if they were raised here. Karin sets standards for her tenants. Everyone must keep it tidy, wash, organise and contribute to the community. In return follows much coziness.
In this house everyone talks about everything, and Alexander Rybak’s music has absolutely made a mark on their lives.
Loves the piano
– I remember when he came here the first time and saw my piano. He needed a quiet place to live, closer to the Barratt Due Institute than what Nesodden is. He often has lessons in the evenings and is unable to catch the last ferry, says Karin.
-He immediately saw my piano, and asked me if he was allowed to play on it. This is a Carl Mand piano. A beautiful instrument I inherited from my grandmother. Alexander loves the sound of it. Here he has played hour after hour. We have heard many songs take form here. “Fairytale” we have followed and discussed with him, since the first time he got the idea, says Karin.
The world’s nicest.
Megan moved in later than Alexander. She is not particularly concerned with music. She studies to be a doctor and feels that she has much in common with her flatmate.
– We are both very dedicated within our fields. Sometimes he asks me to come over and listen to something new he has made, and I say I don’t have time because I have to study. But I have great pleasure from listening to him playing and to discuss his ideas, even though I’m not an expert.
– He is an incredibly down to earth guy, says Megan.
She believes Alexander Rybak is exactly as you see him on TV: Honest and straight forward. She thinks it is weird that girls all over the world now are so concerned about the guy she shares the house with. At the same time she is not surprised by the amount of letters that dumps through the door, or of the enthusiasm he raises wherever he goes.
– He is very special. That I can see, even though we live here as siblings,- says the girl, who is studying at Sjømannskolen right down the street.
Celebrated with jellymen
– In the house we are living a sober life. It suits both me and the tenants well, says Karin. Admittedly, Alexander has now been given the disposal of an extra room for all the new clothes he has received in connection with the styling and shows. But the clothes have not been used, if we are to believe Megan.
– I’ve probably seen him use two of the sweaters, otherwise it is all in stacks with the price tags on. He is the same as before this took completely off. I texted with him no later than yesterday, and I look forward to see him again, says the girl calm.
When she and Karin watched the Grand Prix final together they had plans to celebrate with a bottle of champagne, contrary to Alexanders sober line. But they forgot the sparkling droplets in victory euphoria. Instead they ended up celebrating with five jellymen each.
Forgot the violin.
Megan and Karin sit in front of the window with a view over the fjord, right by the piano. Here they have spent countless hours talking with Alexander.
– He might be slightly absent-minded, says Karin. She recalls the time a few months ago, when he came home without the violin. He had left it behind on the train. He hurried back to Ljan station, where he was indeed handed over his beloved instrument again.
– People are so fond of him, says Karin. She admits that she has talked a lot with Alexander Rybak about the time that is coming now.
I know a bit about life’s many pages, also about economics. I am financial so to speak, and he is not, though he is very careful with money and not a big spender. I know he listening to what I say, says Karin.
Not tired of the song
Although Karin and Megan have heard “Fairytale” in many versions, and followed how Alexander Rybak worked on variations and performing techniques, none of them are tired of the winning song. They think it is great. And they believe we have much more to expect from his hands. They know his versatility.
– When Alexander had finished his exams, he celebrate by giving me a concert as a gift. I could invite whom I wanted. I invited my sewing clubs, and of course Megan and some other friends and relatives. Alexander held a wonderful concert, and he was even the presenter. Everyone thought it was a great experience and were impressed, says Karin Madsen. In gratitude Alexander got a wonderful large towel with his name engraved.
– We are cautious, you understand, she smiles.
A lot of grain
She reveals that Alexander in his everyday eats very healthy. She knows, because thay share the kitchen and meals. And everyone must help to keep it neat around them. Megan has taught Alexander to clean the bathroom. I am careful about who I rent to. Not everyone fits in here. These two, who live here now thrive together, and they enjoy being with me, Karin points out.
Megan Sørlie confirms that they thrive together. The two of them watch movies and play Playstation and X-box and everything else he has in his room.
– He is very social. Typically, he calls out for me when he comes home from the train in the evening, and will convey a new song or something he has thought of. He always has a lot to tell, particularly in recent months, says Karin.
Megan adds: – He can play the violin in the living room for eight hours. We all like to listen, it’s super nice. I’m glad he doesn’t play the drums!
She can not praise the tenant’s. He is as clever as Megan to do their duty and participate in everyday life, he complies with all rules and contribute in every way.
– He we can safely send out into the world, laughing the two ladies.
Feet on the ground
– It’s almost frightening to see how great this down to earth boy I know from quiet weekdays, has become. At the same time I’m impressed with how he is able to stay himself. I think anyone would have changed, but not him. I have talked with him on the phone after the victory, and he is the same, says Megan.
Alexander Rybak moved out for a short period to live together with a buddy in the city centre of Oslo. But it did not work .
– Suddenly he called a night, after bedtime. He was on Ljan station and wondered whether it was possible to get the room back. Then it went only minutes before he was back again in his old bed, says Karin.
She can not praise her tenant enough. He is just as clever as Megan in doing the duties and participates in everyday life. He adheres to all rules, and contribute in every way.
– Him we can safely send out in the world, the two ladies laugh.