Bourgeois Deviant

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Norwegian Cultural Contributions

Reading The Independent this morning, I stumbled upon a bit of nostalgia. A-Ha, the Norwegian band of "Take On Me" fame has released a new album and, as the article notes: "the fans are still screaming." This alone is not earth-shattering. At the column's end came something peculiar:

Other Norwegian contributions to world culture

* HENRIK IBSEN 1828-1906

Ibsen is believed to be the most frequently performed playwright in the world after Shakespeare. His plays, which include A Doll's House, Ghosts and Hedda Gabler, were considered scandalous to many of his era.

* EDVARD GRIEG 1843-1907

The composer and pianist is best-known for his incidental music to Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, but other works, such as the Piano Concerto in A minor, and the Lyric Suite, are still popular. At the age of 15, Grieg began studying at the Leipzig Conservatory and became music director of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra from 1880-1882. The Edvard Grieg Museum in Troldhaugen celebrates his life.

* EDVARD MUNCH 1863-1944

The artist who painted The Scream had a major influence on the development of German Expressionism in the early 20th century. His parents, brother and sister died when he was young, which may explain his preoccupation with misery. One of four paintings of The Scream was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo in 2004.

* BJØRGE LILLELIEN 1927-1987

The sports journalist and commentator won international fame after Norway's 2-1 victory against England in a World Cup qualifier in Oslo in 1981. At the end of the match, he proclaimed: "We are best in the world! We have beaten England! England, birthplace of giants. Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Attlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana, we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all. Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher, your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!"

* LIV ULLMANN 1938-

The actress, author and film director played the lead roles in nine films directed by Ingmar Bergman, with whom she has a daughter. Born in Tokyo, she grew up in Trondheim in Norway. She was nominated twice for Academy Awards, for The Emigrants and Face to Face, and published two books of her memoirs, Changing and Choices. Ullmann, who is multilingual, lives in New York and is a Unicef goodwill ambassador.

* ANNI-FRID SYNNI-LYNGSTAD, 1945-

Anni-Frid, better known as Frida, is the only Norwegian member of the Swedish band Abba. Born in Ballangen during the German occupation, her father was the German sergeant Alfred Haase. At the end of the war, her family fled to Sweden, and Anni-Frid got her first job as a jazz singer at 13. After winning a television talent contest, she recorded a couple of albums for EMI, and became part of Abba, dominating worldwide charts through the Seventies. She is now 60 and lives in Switzerland.

Geneviève Roberts


The inference that I take from it is that A-Ha are of similar or like cultural weight as these other contributions to world culture. REALLY??? A bold assertion, no doubt. Granted that this is coming from a British publication and it speaks from a European perspective. Also, America is hardly globally culturally aware. So, perhaps, color me enlightened.

If you haven't gleaned so yet, this is a shameless solicitation for comment. Are you as out of the loops as I was?

4 Comments:

  • Criminally ignoring the throngs of church-burning black metal bands they've shipped over here....

    By Anonymous dann brown superstar, at Wednesday, February 01, 2006 2:01:00 PM  

  • Methinks the author tends to play down his own a) Norweiganness and b) value to society. I'm just sayin'.

    By Blogger CheckyPantz, at Wednesday, February 01, 2006 3:03:00 PM  

  • I agree with Checky.
    Too much "Norwegian-ness" is not a good thing. I started feeling like I was on the maelstrom ride at Epcot just reading this. This guy is a few a-ha's short of a worst of the 80's list.
    But funny, nonetheless!!!

    By Blogger Martha Who?, at Wednesday, February 01, 2006 10:28:00 PM  

  • Thank you one and all. Just to play devil's advocate... Ibsen is Norway's greatest contribution to world society. Where A-Ha does show up as an undeniable superlative is that video for TAKE ON ME. That is darn near close to being the best video that the early 80s produced. That and Thriller. So, for world video culture, this is debatable. For world culture in general, I agree with you all. And for the culture of life, they don't know what the F*#@ we're talking about.

    By Blogger A. L. Deviant, at Thursday, February 02, 2006 9:13:00 AM  

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