Midsummer and St. Hans with Hans-Erik Husby as Cornelis in Oslo

Summer Solstice, St John’s or St. Hans or St Mark’s Eve, Cornelis Vreeswijk and Jesus Christ Superstar in a long Norwegian summer night, is a perfect combination for a midsummer celebration. In Oslo (60° North) we have 19 hours daylight and placed as close to the Arctic Circle, it doesn’t actually get dark at all. This calls of course for a joyously celebration, in Norway. St Hans Eve (Sant Hans aften) is normally celebrated around a bonfire; done to bring prosperity and luck as well as protect the home on what was believed to be the longest day of the year. My wife and I celebrated in a more cultural way this year – at a concert at Akershus Fortress called:

In the Light of Cornelis:
Akershus Fortress in Oslo Norway #1Cornelis Vreswijk (1937 – ’87) is undoubtedly one of Scandinavia’s greatest musical artists of all time and has become relevant again from the movie “Cornelis“. Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby played the role of the legendary Swedish troubadour in the film, and at Midsummer night Husby together with Vreswijk’s son Jack, held a concert using the music from the movie and interpret some of his songs in their own way. It took place in a historical and geographical landmark on Oslo harbor, at Akershus Fortress (see pic to the left) built in the 1600s. The location, surroundings, architecture and atmosphere on a long summer night in Oslo, were perfect. This panoramic photo, taken with my Nokia N8, is from about 10PM:
H-E D. Husby singing In the light of Cornelis #1
There were beautiful arrangements with acoustic guitars, strings and subdued production and I could not resist trying to capture some of this magic moment with my Nokia – with photos and even some movies – to share with you. I hope you enjoy the scenery and music in the edited movie – even if the language is Swedish – although since Husby is in fact Norwegian, some Swedes may object to that last statement ;- )

From Jesus to Cornelis:
Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby has gone from hell to heaven and back again. From the time he was front figure and singer of Turboneger, under the name Hank von Helvete, singing hard rock and struggling with drug addiction, until he went clean and checked himself into a rehab clinic in Sweden. He then made a strong come back in the role of Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. Now he meets again another kind of underground when he debuted in the film role as the beloved, Swedish-Dutch troubadour Cornelis Vreeswijk:
H-E D. Husby singing In the light of Cornelis #5 H-E D. Husby in Jesus Christ Superstar #1
Left: Husby after the concert – Right: Husby in Jesus Christ Superstar

Cornelis came from Holland to Sweden at the age of 12 years. He bought his first guitar in 1954 and released his first album – Ballader och Oförskämdheter – in 1964, including the famous Ballad of Frederick Åkare and Cecilia Lind. His life was influenced by alcoholism, drug use, multiple marriages, imprisonment and economic problems, as well as a brilliant musical career. He is considered one of Sweden’s greatest poets and artists, in line with Carl Michael Bellmann and Evert Taube.
H-E D. Husby singing In the light of Cornelis #4 H-E D. Husby singing In the light of Cornelis #8
Left: Hans.Erik and Jack – Right: Capture from my movie
Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby’s interpretation of Cornealis’ music was an interesting combination of the two artists, both nostalgic in the old melodies, and new in the at times more rocking presentation of the music. Since we have seen Husby in both rolls, as Jesus Christ superstar and Cornealis it was interesting to compare these two rolls and forms, and we enjoy his versatility and changeability from different types of music. The setting at Akeshus Fortress was the top of the cream in this St. Hansaften celebration and the perfect ambiance for a summer concert on one of the longest days of the year.