a-ha’s “Take On Me”, played by North Korean accordion group

Incoming from Jacques:

In case you’ve never encountered this.
I’m told by a friend-of-a-friend on FB that: “Apparently a member of a-ha went there (cant remember why) and took a CD. Within three days the group came up with this arrangement. They had no sheet music or anything other than the CD to work off.”

Obviously, I haven’t encountered this. If I had encountered this, it would have been all over the blog the day that I encountered  it. Just like it is today, which is the first day I have encountered it.


Brilliant. It’s on accordions, it’s in North Korea, there’s an austere painting and some fake sunflowers behind them and the guy on the right (as we’re looking) can’t stop swaying. And then it ends, abruptly. And there’s no applause.

In my mind, there can be no better example of an 1980’s hit played by a quintet on instruments of the bellows-driven, free-reed aerophone family in a politically-closed Asian country. And I’ve seen a few: who could forget that cover of Club Tropicana, played on pitch pipes by that 5-piece from Myanmar, for example?

What I can’t understand is why it only has 5,000 views in the three days that it has been on YouTube. This has every single element of  the perfect viral video: we’re obviously just in the incubation phase right now. All of us now have the duty to spread the disease as widely as possible. Admit it, another piece of your life’s jigsaw clicked into place the moment you watched this – what gives you the right to deny others that experience? Who made you god?

Go – click the share button. Spread the wealth.

Thanks Jacques

UPDATE: (via @ColinMac7 on twitter) 

alas, not every Norwegian is a member of AHA, and there has been more than a million YT hits tinyurl.com/73yfjuh

So it’s a Morten Traavik (and not Morten Harket) that took the CD to North Korea. And there’s the full story (and an epic photo of him) on the BBC page via that link.

Morten Harket 1959-2009

…and beyond, I hope. But at least I got your attention.

Yes, Morten Harket, lead singer of Norwegian synth-pop supergroup a-ha turns 50 today. And what better way to mark the occasion on 6000 miles… that the ground-breakingly brilliant video for their 1985 hit, Take on Me:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EXxMlIExpo 650 390]

Amazing to think that this was 24 years ago and that a-ha are still going strong, having just released their ninth studio album.  I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been a huge fan from those early days and still love their music today.

Happy Birthday, Morten.