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Canterbury: a-ha perform at the Spitfire Ground 30 years after storming the 80s charts

By Angela Cole

They were the 80s supergroup who brought us hit songs and one of the music world's most famous videos.

More than 30 years after Norwegian trio a-ha stormed the charts, they are back, performing some of their greatest hits in a new light. As the band prepare to play the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury, on Thursday, June 7, keyboardist Magne Furuholmen talks about 30 years together and their most famous video, Take On Me.

a-ha will play the St Lawrence Ground
a-ha will play the St Lawrence Ground

The Take On Me video is still watched around the world. How does that make you feel?

I don't remember the last time I watched that video, but you'll catch it when you're flicking around the TV channels. I have a lot of love for that song - it has been out there for 30 years on our behalf.

The MTV version of the song is quite different - was that good to do?

What has been interesting with the MTV acoustic renditions, is we have reclaimed the old songs that have been performed for 30 years. We write songs to connect ourselves to the world. That is our language; we are trying to get into that moment. We are trying to feel something and we hope that feeling transfers to the recipient. We try to make something that moves you. We want something that connects with people. The words fit the music and convey that feeling. Take On Me wasn't an easy song to write in terms of lyrics.

Your songs are associated with memories for many people - what songs have memories for you?

Everyone has a different view on songs, don't they? For me, sad songs make me happy and the happy songs make me sad.

As a band you have had ups and downs over the years. How has working together again been for you?

It is difficult to have a 30-year relationship - I challenge anyone to get through that unscathed! It has been very fruitful and at other times it has been very damaging. There is an underlying respect for eachother. We all do other things separately too - I am a visual artist. Ultimately it is about those two hours when we are on stage together. We are there to connect with an audience and play their songs back to them.

How does it make you feel that people still want to see you perform more than 30 years on?

I think one of the reasons for our longevity we have danced to our own tune. We have always been driven by a need to make meaningful music. We have been very privileged to have a huge, loyal fan base who feel that our songs have been very meaningful in their lives.

THE BAND

Their video for Take On Me was voted in the Top 10 best music videos year on year by MTV fans, and the pioneers of music and video technology are still best known for the song which was No.1 internationally, and The Sun Always Shines on TV, both of which were from their bestselling 1985 debut album Hunting High and Low.

The band - singer Morten Harket, guitarist Pal Waaktaar-Savoy and keyboardist Magne Furuholmen - have gone on to release 10 studio and two live albums plus their latest MTV Unplugged album. Their 2018 Summer Electric Tour, which sees them come to Canterbury next week, will see them perform their greatest hits and acoustic album, plus new material and will be joined by a full new band with string section.

Morten said: "We do feel a close affinity to the UK and our fans there. It’s exciting to play outdoors and take our music to locations which are not traditional arena touring places. As ever we always want to do things in a new way, to keep things exciting for our fans. We are very much looking forward to playing in Kent."

OMD are supporting a-ha
OMD are supporting a-ha

SUPPORT

a-ha will be supported by OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) and Tom Bailey from the Thompson Twins. Synth-pop group OMD were founded almost 40 years ago by two teenage Kraftwerk fans from the Wirral Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys. They released their debut single, Electricity, in 1979, and gained popularity with the 1980 anti-war song Enola Gay. The last decade has seen them return with three new studio albums, including this year’s The Punishment of Luxury.

Formed in 1977, the Thompson Twins line-up was slimmed down to three - Tom, Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway - in 1982 and their hits included Hold Me Now, Doctor Doctor and You Take Me Up.

DETAILS

They play the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury, home of Kent County Cricket Club, on Thursday, June 7.Tickets to the gig at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence cost £45 and £65 for Golden Circle tickets. To book visit ticketmaster.co.uk, a-ha.com or lhgtickets.com

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