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flag Norway - Full Moon 122 - 09/07/06

Lasse Mustafa Myrvold
1953 - September 3rd 2006

lasse Lasse died of prostate cancer only a few days ago at the time of writing. I first saw him playing with Johnny Banan Band in early 1980 and then several times throughout the 1980s. Johnny BB was different and interesting, but by then it was the next project The Aller Værste! (shortened TAV!, meaning The Very Worst) that mattered. TAV! was one of the two most vital forces of the Norwegian new wave underground movement for two short and hectic years. They were also among the first real rock bands of the new generation to sing in Norwegian. Some established musician at the time described TAV!'s music as a case filled with rabbits. I don't remember his name; he has probably faded away into the shades of oblivion a long time ago. TAV!'s music on the other hand has stood the test of time. And Lasse's orchestrated arrangement of the song "Bare Ikke Nok" performed live at a Norwegian music award show shocked and impressed. He was the only trained musician of TAV.

Though I rate Lasse's capabilities as a lyricist even higher (and of course the combination). I think he has been the greatest lyricist in Norwegian rock thus far. Period! He managed to combine the meaningful, personal and restless with a very cunning use of the Norwegian language, double meanings of words, alliteration, repetition and other playful tricks. His lyrics had several layers. Either he had a special gift for words, or he must have used a long time to write them. His first lyrics for TAV! seem somewhat coloured by impatient youth and a little naiveté by now. From TAV!'s second album Disniland I De Tusen Hjem and onwards they are just great. His best lyrics can be found on that album and later ones by other bands and projects; the early electronica experimental duo Göbbels A-Go-Go (who among other stunts used the prime minister's new year speech as rhythm), the rock with a twist and too many instruments to switch between band The Beste (meaning, surprise-surprise The Very Best) and in later years the underrated Kong Klang; I'll rate The Beste's first album En Sang For Åtte Kroner [A Song That Costs Eight (Norwegian) Kroner] among the finest Norwegian rock (sort of) albums there is. Of course it's impossible to translate Lasse's words into English. (And album titles as well; the one mentioned above is only one example.) Let's give it a go anyway:

Far henter mel og melk
Øksen ligger på bordet
Far henter smør og gjær
Øksen ligger på bordet
Far baker store brød
Øksen ligger på bordet

...(far baker videre)

God natt, god natt alle små barn
Øksen ligger på bordet
God natt, god natt, god natt...

Father fetches flour and milk
The axe lays on the table
Father fetches butter and yeast
The axe lays on the table
Father bakes huge loaves of bread
The axe lays on the table

...(father keeps on baking)

Good night, good night all small children
The axe lays on the table
Good night, good night, good night...

(From "Øksen Ligger På Bordet", En Sang For Åtte Kroner..., 1985)

Lasse Myrvold died much too early. He leaves his daughter and his songs behind. As one prolific Italian movie star once said (in Jim Jarmusch's film Down By Law, incidentally): It's a sad and beautiful world...

coverpic Ironically, only one day after Lasse's death, the album Dans Til Musikken (Dance To The Music), a musical homage to Lasse, was launched. It's filled to the rim with 23 versions of Lasse's songs by 23 Norwegian artists and bands, some very well known, some less so. Friends and admirers got the idea earlier this year after the news had broken that Lasse's illness was incurable. In addition there is a 24th track, one last song with Lasse and Kong Klang, partly rehearsed and recorded in the hospital bed. Not every day the principal character participates on his very own tribute album... I haven't had the chance to listen very thoroughly to the album yet. As is usual with albums of this kind, it includes some versions faithful to the original recordings, some surprisingly different and a few indifferent ones. It might serve as an album in its own right, an introduction to new artists and also as an entry into the original recordings. Those who buy Dans Til Musikken will contribute to a fund for Lasses 15-year-old orphan daughter Natalie, to improve her future. Check out the home page (in Norwegian only) for the album. RIP!

Copyright © 2006 JP e-mail address

Press photo of Lasse (at the top) from the Dans Til Musikken home page

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