When it gets dark on Christmas Eve: – Christmas is full of emotions, so there’s room for blue too

When it gets dark on Christmas Eve: – Christmas is full of emotions, so there’s room for blue too

Pal Flata sang “Christmas Eve Could Kill You” on his last Christmas recording. This time he has, among other things, a 16th-century Christmas carol written by Henry VIII, himself and all his wives – whom he beheaded before last.

It’s dark, wonderful and traditional on the album I Heard Christmas Bells in the Morning, where the average origin of the songs dates back to 1880 – the most recent being Willie Nelson’s ‘Pretty Paper’ from 1963.

Flaata notices that he turns almost blue no matter how loud he raises his voice.

-Christmas is full of all the emotions, so there’s room for blue too. This is how I sing. It’s completely normal. Even if we have uptempo, it becomes sad. And the blues look great.

Christmas tradition

Pal Flata reflects on how his grief began.

-I think it’s a form of blues song. As a boy, I was interested in blues music, blues beats, and eventually 1950s rock and blues, soul, rockabilly, and gospel. It blends with my instrument, the voice. When Chris Isaak came around in the 80s, I started doing a little bit of “punk stuff,” and then I started using my voice in that way. Kind of a cross between blues and country, a little ’50s, but also more in line with modern styles like ballads.

He himself doesn’t have much time to listen to Christmas music. Because for several years, Paal Flaata has had a busy program of Christmas parties in the run-up to Christmas. This year it holds about twenty concerts in just over a month, hosting the Vålerenga Church in its blue colours, among other things.

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But when an artist makes other people’s records, it’s a little Elvis Christmas and a little Bing Crosby, and when he’s not running into humorous issues like “Santa’s Drunk Again,” Flatta is happy to admit. Celebrating his birthday?

-Christmas in Rome is the best, after Christmas Eve. Then it is quiet and peaceful with friends and family. This year there is a Christmas tree here at home.

Dark blue

One of the darker Christmas songs that will be heard this Christmas is “I Remember December.” By songwriter, singer and guitarist John Arne Ø.Sweetheart’s somewhat self-deprecating Gundersen calls himself a “lone pony.”

-We’re almost playing on only one type of emotion. There are some bright spots, but the rest is blue darkness. Although the lyrics are not all sad, the mood is sad and depressing.

Sweetheart’s music has been called “both haunting and beautiful”, and they are “Norway’s most skilled balladeers”. Not surprisingly, Gundersen is also against sad, muted Christmas carols — not so many jingle bells.

-I don’t know why you feel so gloomy in December and Christmas. You probably spent a good portion of your life as a child looking forward to Christmas. As an adult, you don’t feel the same anymore. The packaging is getting soft and that puts a damper on the whole thing.

Not alone

– But there is generally a lot of sad content in Christmas carols, such as “Time will pass, and the family will follow its course.” I feel sad every time I hear that line, Gunderson points out:

-And my father always played “O helga natt” at full volume on the kitchen radio, and it wasn’t very cheerful either. “People, drop now,” kind of thing. “So we’re not unique there,” he says of Sweetheart’s new Christmas song.

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– It’s a Christmas song and not actually a Christmas song, says the beloved Boss about the single “I Remember December” which was released in the first week of December and here it is taken from the September album “I’ll Love You When the Morning Comes” – the second record that A Spelman Award-winning debut followed as of 2020.

The band, made up of Gunderson and Anne Mette Hardness, reveals a divided vision of Christmas.

-She has great joy in Christmas and has already started talking about Christmas in June!

Searching for depression

Even those who listen unconsciously fall for Christmas carols, because they rarely sing them to themselves. If he had to pick any, it would be specifically “O helga natt,” “Fairytale in New York” — and Elvis’s Christmas special.

When Jon Arne Gundersen was asked where this penchant for melancholy comes from, he admitted that when he was younger, they played Leonard Cohen at Forspiel before going to town.

– This is the kind of music that amazes me. I look for melancholy because it gives me the most, and it’s what resonates when I write songs. Because when I sit down to write a song, the little chords come out.

Sweetheart was recently on her first Norwegian tour with 16 concerts from Tromsø to Skien. From his spot on stage, Gundersen noted that they seemed to be doing something with their concerts.

– Sometimes people start laughing, I can’t look at that – Then I have to look another way. But that’s a huge compliment. We have some funny segments where we talk between songs and make people laugh – we lift them up before we tear them apart. But people say they are affected. Songs like this demand a lot, even from the audience.

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Dark staircase

Some things in the songs are taken from his own life, but he stresses that it is not an autobiographical project, although everything is presented sympathetically.

– I’m actually quite happy with a terraced house, two kids and a carriage, and I’m a very happy man, even if I have a dark drawer to look through – as we all have. I haven’t experienced these tangible things, so it doesn’t cost much to display them.

“I Remember December” is a description of the journey he usually takes – out of the terraced house, under the train tracks, and up to Meredalsvanet.

– I noticed that after we moved here, I mentioned Akerselva and the train and the pine trees along Akerselva in several songs – until I realized that there were no pine trees there. But now I’m not very good at trees either.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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