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August 27, 2021 - English Version

Aunt Mary lives on - created goosebumps 
far out in Storgata. August 27th, 2021





















Bjørn "Krisa" Kristiansen was in great shape during  the Aunt Mary concerts
Photo: John Johansen

When the guitar solo in "Dovregubbens Hall" spread across the venue, Krisa created
chills throughout Litteraturhuset and far out in Storgata. The legacy of
Aunt Mary lives on. Exactly on the day, seven years after Jan Groth passed away and 52 years after they held their first concert in Vejle in Denmark (August 11, 1969), Aunt Mary was once again on stage. Of the five who entered the stage at Litteraturhuset in Fredrikstad on Friday, Bjørn "Krisa" Kristiansen the only one from the original crew. Svein Gundersen has handed over the bass to younger forces and wished them all the best of luck. So only Bjørn Kristiansen is left on stage, and he carries the legacy forward with brilliance, despite having entered into his 70s.



















Aunt Mary anno 2021: From left: Bjørn Kristiansen - guitar, Ole Tom
Torjussen - drums, Morten Fredheim - vocals, Bernt Bodal - bass and Ola
Aanje- keyboard / synthesizer. Photo: John Johansen

“If we keep playing more now, then you have to carry me off stage”, Bjørn said with a smile before he threw himself into the marathon song "G Flat road". The concert ended up lasting for over an hour and ten minutes. If the audience had been allowed to decide, the concert would have lasted another hour. Aunt Mary will play at Glenghuset in Sarpsborg on Saturday night. The classics resounded. From "Stop Your Wishful Thinking" via "Rosalind", "Joining the Crowd “, “In the Hall of the Mountain King” (rock version of Griegs in Dovregubbens Hall) and of course, their hit “Jimi, Janis and Brian”.


















The Norwegian / American businessman Bernt Bodal is one of
the driving forces behind the Aunt Mary project.
Photo: John Johansen

It was a collective lump in the throat when Bjørn dedicated "I Do and I Did" to the deceased Jan Groth. Bjørn on vocals and with his beautiful solo playing on the guitar. Some had their doubts about the concert with new members Morten Fredheim on vocals, Bernt Bodal on bass, Ole Tom Torjussen on drums, Ola Aanje on keyboard, and Annette Gil on backup vocals - because they have not played together in about two years. But all doubts were thoroughly shamed. Aunt Mary music still lives on strong. Morten Fredheim sings as powerfully as Jan Groth. Bernt Bodal is the successful businessman from Langhus, now living in Seattle, who runs the Aunt Mary project. He was one of the founding members in the group Høst and still plays bass with them today. Drummer Ole Tom Torjussen we know, among other respected performaces, from Åge Sten Nilsen's various projects and keyboardist Ola Aanje made us wonder if Keith Emerson had also strayed on to the stage.


















Morten Fredheim has taken up the vocal role after Jan Groth and
impressed all at the venue. Photo: John Johansen

Concert organizer Rune Olsen was with the guys backstage before the show. He
revealed that he is now entering into a partnership with Aunt Mary to speed things up booking concerts for the band. The current line-up started over five
years ago. But the Corona pandemic put a stop to further development. The band had met each other only two days before the concert at the House of Literature for rehearsals. “They are all great musicians. And it’s fun to play with younger musicians, I reckon it goes well”, said Bjorn before the concert. He was right.

August 27, 2021 - Norwegian Version

Aunt Mary lever videre – skapte gåsehud langt ut i Storgata. 27.08.2021  



















Bjørn "Krisa" Kristiansen var i storform under Aunt Mary-konserten
Foto: John Johansen 

Da gitarsoloen på «Dovregubbens Hall» skingret ut i salen skapte Krisa frysninger gjennom hele Litteraturhuset og langt ut i Storgata. Arven etter Aunt Mary lever videre. Nøyaktig på dagen sju år etter at Jan Groth gikk bort og 52 år og 16 dager etter at de holdt sin første konsert i Vejle i Danmark (11. august 1969), sto Aunt Mary nok en gang på scenen. Av de fem som entret podiet i Litteraturhuset i Fredrikstad fredag var Bjørn «Krisa» Kristiansen den eneste fra originalbesetningen. Jan Groth og Ketil Stensvik er gått bort. Svein Gundersen har overlatt bassen til yngre krefter og ønsket dem alle lykke til. Altså bare Bjørn Kristiansen igjen. Men han bærer arven videre med glans, på tross av at han har rundet de 70.



















Aunt Mary anno 2021:
Fra v.: Bjørn Kristiansen, Ole Tom Torjussen, Morten Fredheim - vokal,
Bernt Bodal- bass og Ola Aanje- keyboard/synthesizer.
Foto: John Johansen

Hvis vi speller mer nå, så må dere bære meg av scenen, smilte Bjørn før han kastet seg ut i maratonlåten «G Flat road». Konserten varte i en time og ti minutter. Men dersom publikum hadde fått bestemme hadde denne konserten vart i en time til. Aunt Mary spiller videre på Glenghuset i Sarpsborg lørdag kveld og vi forstår at de trenger å lade litt. Klassikerne runget ut. Fra «Stop Your Wishful thinking» via «Rosalind», «Joining the Crowd», «In the Hall of the Mountain King» (rockversjon av Griegs i Dovregubbens Hall) og selvsagt «Jimi, Janis and Brian».



















Den norsk/amerikanske forretningsmannen Bernt Bodal er en
av drivkreftene bak Aunt Mary-prosjektet. Han spilte tidligere i Høst.
Foto: Foto: John Johansen

Kollektiv klump i halsen da Bjørn tilegnet «I do and I did» til avdøde Jan Groth. Bjørn selv på vokal og selvsagt med nydelig solospill på gitaren. Noen hadde litt bange anelser til konserten der Morten Fredheim er på vokal, Bernt Bodal på bass, Ole Tom Torjussen på trommer og Ola Aanje på keyboards. De har ikke spilt sammen på omkring to år. Men bekymringene ble gjort grundig til skamme. Aunt Mary-musikken lever i beste velgående. Morten Fredheim synger så kraftfullt som en Jan Groth-erstatter må. Bernt Bodal er den suksessrike forretningsmannen fra Langhus, nå bosatt i Seattle, som driver Aunt Mary-prosjektet videre. Han spilte bass i gruppa Høst i yngre dager. Trommis Ole Tom Torjussen kjenner vi blant annet fra Åge Sten Nilsens ulike prosjekter og keyboardist Ola Aanje fikk oss til å lure på om Keith Emerson også hadde forvillet seg inn på scenen.



















Morten Fredheim har tatt opp vokalrollen etter Jan Groth og imponerte.
Foto: John Johansen 

Konsertarrangør Rune Olsen var med gutta backstage før konserten. Han røpte at han nå går inn i et samarbeid med Aunt Mary for å få fart på spillejobbene. Den nåværende konstellasjonen startet egentlig for over fem år siden. Men korona satte en stopp for videre utvikling. Bandet hadde møtt hverandre kun to dager før konserten på Litteraturhuset. Dette er jo flinke folk. Moro å spelle med yngre musikere, jeg regner med det går bra, sa Krisa før konserten. Han fikk rett. 









 

October 16, 2020

Sea of Tranquillity host, Pete Pardo, honored Aunt Mary Band in his incredible review of "Ranking The Studio Albums" on their popular YouTube channel. Pete is a global music expert, especially when it comes to ProgRock.  He is one of the original founders of www.seaoftranquility.org ; a leading web resource for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal and Jazz Fusion music fans all over the world.

 

Check out Pete's fantastic review of Aunt Mary Band's album below!  

January 21, 2016

Norwegian progressive rock pioneers Aunt Mary have announced the band’s return with the release of the NEW DAWN studio album on February 12.  The heavy rock icons approach this come back with a new line-up, and plans to stage select appearances across the globe.  Pioneers on the Norwegian heavy-rock scene in the early 70s, Aunt Mary was considered among the absolute elite of European rock bands. Alongside Deep Purple, Ten Years After, King Crimson, Jethro Tull and others, the band shared the scene, at times overshadowing these cornerstone acts.  They officially broke up in 1973 following the release of their heavily progressive oriented album Janus, and the successful tour staged to support the title.  Over the next several decades, they sporadically staged appearances, and issued an album of Blues covers in 1992 titled Bluesprints.  After a period characterized by both musical joy and personal profound grief over the last several years, Aunt Mary looks towards 2016 with optimism and a keen commitment to cement the band’s legacy as a cornerstone act in the Scandinavian and worldwide history of rock.

 

In 2013, initiated by Norwegian guitar legend and producer – and devoted Aunt Mary-fan – Ronni Le Tekrö, the original line-up prepared to enter the studio when band mate and bass player Svein Gundersen announced his resignation. Rather than capitulate and not see his vision through, Le Tekrö approached Bernt Bodal to join.  Back in the 70s, Bodal was the bass player in the band Host, Prog contemporaries of Aunt Mary. He had moved to the U.S and worked his way up from ordinary fisherman to be the founder and part owner of American Seafoods – one of the world’s largest seafood companies. Simultaneously he kept his bass playing skills on a master level, playing with rock stars like Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar, Alan White, Spike Edney, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Roger Daltrey, Jeff Beck and Eddie Vedder. He also contributed his musical talents on one of Ronni Le Tekrö’s solo albums.

 

With Bodal now committed, the band prepared for the studio sessions.  More shocking news blindsided the Aunt Mary members as singer Jan Groth announced he had to resign due to illness from cancer. He urged the others to continue without him, and again Ronni Le Tekrö exhibited his producer genius. He introduced the band to Glenn Lyse, 2007 Norwegian Idol winner, which turned out to be another match made in heaven. With Lyse formally taking over as Aunt Mary’s front man, the band entered the studio and began recording.  Jan Groth died in August, 2014.

 

Having barely finished the recording sessions, the band mates received yet devastating news: Drummer Ketil Stensvik had also been diagnosed with cancer. And in April, 2015 Stensvik passed away.  Less than three years after the first plans for a new album with the founding members of Aunt Mary, guitar player and the band’s main songwriter Björn Kristiansen found himself the only remaining part of the original line-up. After thorough consideration, and discussions with the new members of the group, he decided to carry on.

Early next year, Aunt Mary will begin touring accompanied by Ronni Le Tekrö’s band, TNT. Music history will be written as Norway’s first and leading heavy-rock band will share the scene with Norway’s first and leading heavy-metal band. As their new drummer, Aunt Mary has recruited Ole Tom Torjussen.  NEW DAWN is produced by Kjartan Hesthagen and Henning Ramseth (the latter also plays keyboards on the album).

 

Despite the adversity that has repeatedly challenged Aunt Mary, Kristiansen, Bodal, Lyse, and Torjussen celebrate plans to return to the stage, bring new music to their decades of fans, and to find new ones in North America, Scandinavia and across the globe.  Aunt Mary guitarist, and principle songwriter Björn Kristiansen shares, “..after many years without any new album from Aunt Mary it`s with great pride and joy I`m now looking forward to releasing our new studio album NEW DAWN. The majority of the songs on this record are writtenbased on my ideas, with great help from my band mates.  Being the sole remaining original member of the group, I`m from the bottom of my heart grateful for this opportunity to again be able to share our music with old and new friends around the world!”

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