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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Salem in Los Angeles: new interview

I'm still chasing up information/reviews/feedback about Salem's Los Angeles show on Tuesday night. In the meantime here is a new Swedish press article at http://hd.se/noje/2009/04/30/salem-al-fakir-hoppas-paa-lyft-i/ about Salem's trip to California.

EDIT 30.04.09: There's a very nice review of Salem's Tuesday night showcase at the Viper Room at http://beatcrave.com/2009-04-29/musexpo-2009-ar-worldwide-artist-showcase-coverage-tuesday-night/

....and guess what I found tonight at YouTube? Only some footage of Salem and the band playing "Good Song" at the Viper Room!!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Körsbär/Karlsson

I thought it was time for one of my occasional slightly-off-topic posts about Salem's circle of musical friends.

You may remember that Jesper Lagercrantz (a.k.a. Jeppe Körsbär) and Mats Karlsson were on backing vocals during Salem's recent appearances on "Popcirkus" (SVT) and "Musikplats Stockholm" (SR P4).

Mats is of course a long-time musical collaborator of Salem's as he is a member of FakirKarlsson and H3FK, whilst Jeppe is a member of urban electro-soul outfit Swedish Love Story which also features highly rated Swedish artist Kaah (www.myspace.com/swedishlovestory)

I've just discovered some musical collaborations by Jeppe and Mats, two very talented artists, at their MySpace: www.myspace.com/korsbarkarlsson : "Skylark" is particularly wonderful. I love Jeppe's voice so much I could listen to it all day (that's when I'm not listening to Salem of course).

Meanwhile...another Norwegian review of "Astronaut"

There's a review of Salem's new album in Romerikes Blad: http://www.rb.no/lokal_kultur/cd-guiden/article4292572.ece

Quick translation of course (what would I do without Google Translate??)

Reviewer Ola Einbu describes Salem as the "good boy in the soul-pop class...he is the artist who does everything; he composes, plays, sings and made the recording and production itself. But he sure can work".

The reviewer goes on to say..."he gives the listeners pop pearls like 'Bluest Eyes' and the film noir-like, orkestrale, fragile and beautiful "Purple Lady". Not to mention of "One of the Others", which just as easily could have been written by Stevie Wonder. Only the name Salem Al Fakir sounds like a party. It is basically what he has to offer also".

Preview of USA-debut in today's Expressen

There's a good feature in today's Expressen, all about Salem's trip to the USA, previewing tonight's appearance at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. There is also a photo from his outdoor lunchtime show on Sunday at the Swedish consulate. Find it at:
http://www.expressen.se/noje/musik/1.1549701/salem-al-fakir-gor-usa-debut-i-natt

In this interview Salem says he's not nervous about tonight's appearance at the Viper Room, where he will play a selection of songs from his first two albums. He says the purpose of his trip is to find out how his music will be received in the USA, and that his show on Sunday was well-received.

Talking of Sunday, if you go to http://www.swedenabroad.com/News____7666.aspx?slaveid=88511 you'll find a picture of Salem, looking cool in his shades :) along with Adam Tensta and Addeboy vs Cliff, the other acts who appeared at Sunday's music brunch at the Consulate General of Sweden, in Los Angeles.

Good luck for tonight Salem....now get out there and show the American audiences what they've been missing!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Salem in Stockholm this August

Thanks Maria for the tip!! :)

Salem will play Mosebacke in Stockholm on 5th August 2009. More information at http://www.mosebacke.se/ver2/events.asp

Saturday, 25 April 2009

"Astronaut" no.3 in this week's Tracks chart!

Some very good news to report as "Astronaut" has climbed to no.3 in this week's P3 "Tracks" chart.

You know what you have to do... keep on voting and let's get the song even higher in next week's chart!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Damernas Värld: a request!

Whilst in Gothenburg last weekend I couldn't resist checking out this month's Damernas Värld magazine which has an interview with Salem (page 38 if I can remember correctly!!) anyway I wanted to buy this magazine but as I was only travelling with already over-packed hand luggage, I had no room in my bag to carry it home with me :(

Along with the interview, there is a particularly amazing photo of Salem standing in front of this old Volvo car and I would really love to see it again :)

So....if any readers of Planet Salem have this magazine, would you be able to scan the interview and the photo and email it to me? I would really appreciate it!!

Salem in the USA: some more info

MI (Musikindustrin.se) reports here about some of the promotional material and activities around the Musexpo music industry seminar which begins this Sunday in Los Angeles.

Apart from his appearance at the Viper Room on Tuesday 28th April, Salem will also be one of the artists specially invited to perform at the Swedish Consulate General on Sunday 26th April for a "music brunch" in front of 250 specially invited music industry guests. Salem is also featured on the USB promotion "The Absolute Best New Swedish Music In The World" which also includes Anna Ternheim, Hello Saferide, Kleerup, Titiyo, Backyard Babies, Miss Li, Andreas Tilliander and Dungen. (Export Music Sweden has done a really good job here - more info at www.exms.se.)

Musikindustrin.se will be reporting on the Musexpo event , where a strong Swedish delegation will be in attendance along with music business delegates from all over the world.

In the meantime...best wishes, Salem, for your trip to the USA!

Swedish charts update

Good news this week as "Astronaut" has climbed to no. 25 in the Sverige Topplistan album chart.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Salem singing for Victoria on 14th July (again!)

I forgot to mention this before I headed for Gothenburg, but in case you didn't know, I thought I'd pass on the good news that Salem will be appearing at Crown Princess Victoria's annual birthday concert which will take place, as usual, on 14th July on Öland.

Also appearing this year: Malena Ernman, Måns Zelmerlöw, Lena Philipsson, Orup, Jill Johnson, Kalle Moraeus and Bengan Janson.

Two years ago Salem appeared at the same concert, which was the very first time I ever saw and heard him (and life was never the same again!!) I guess this means that everything has come full circle: particularly as Måns is also appearing again this year!

I'll put a reminder on Planet Salem nearer the time: I'm sure that SVT will be transmitting the show as usual.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

One more thing...

I just want to thank everyone for all the comments and emails I received yesterday following my return from my trip of a lifetime to see Salem. Also there was a massive increase in my visitor numbers yesterday, so again thank you!

Unfortunately I didn't have time to reply as I was too busy updating the blog with all my adventures, so I'll definitely get back to you all tonight!

Much appreciated.

/Laura

A message for the Norwegian girls!!

I meant to mention on the blog yesterday that not only did I get to meet Salem and have a fantastic time at the concert, but then I had something else amazing happen to me - after the show I met the Norwegian girls who had previously emailed me! (This wasn't planned and had happened purely by accident!)

It was really great to meet you and I'd love it if you could email me again so that we can chat some more about the concert.

Thanks!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Salem at Trädgår'n, Gothenburg, Saturday 18th April 2009 - My review.

Set list:

Twelve Fingers
Cold Shower
Devil Look
Good Song
It's Only You (Part II)
Mirror
Brooklyn Sun
Astronaut
Bluest Eyes
Now's The Time
Dream Girl
It's True
Roxy

***************
One Of The Others
Thank You

Since I became a fan of Salem Al Fakir and his music almost two years ago, I had dreamed of this moment - to see him live in concert. On Saturday night, that dream finally came true.

Of course a perfect evening was made even better by my other dream coming true - meeting Salem. (But I'm not going to talk about that for a change....this post is all about my review of the concert!)




The venue for Saturday night's show was the Trädgår'n club (pictured above) which was just 10 minutes walk from our hotel. It's a great big wooden building which hosts the club, the bar and restaurant. The capacity is maybe about 1000 or so (I think?) and it was certainly a well-attnded show. What particularly pleased me was the wide age-range of the fans, which just proves that Salem's music appeals to all age groups.

Missed the support act, Jonna Lee, as I was chatting to Salem at the time :) anyway I'm sure she put on a very good show as she's received good reviews from the critics during the current tour.

I was glad it was a standing rather than seated venue, as this enabled us to get very near the front of the stage (about three rows back from the stage anyway). It was great to be able to see Salem and the band 'up close' on stage. Salem always encourages the audience to participate but most of the time we don't need encouragement! Needless to say, I was singing along with every song, dancing, clapping and jumping around - of course!

Unfortunately the photos I took of Salem and the band on stage were very blurry, so I've only included a couple here, sorry for the poor quality:



(There are many better and more professional stage photos from Salem's current tour at Rockfoto.nu and Festivalphoto.net - as well as on various other blogs of course - check them out!)

Salem and the band came onstage at 10.00 pm and launched into "Twelve Fingers" which is such a great, lively start to the show: immediate proof that Salem has grown into such a strong and confident live performer. He is singing better than ever, and his charisma and talent is never in any doubt.

Salem was dressed in his tour-outfit of white shirt, cream braces and cream trousers. Of course I will have to mention his nice curly hair which has now grown a little: although it is still shorter than it used to be, but I like this new style and I hope he keeps it like that.

To begin with, Salem stood at the microphone but it wasn't long before he was moving around the stage like the Salem that we know and love. Although some reviewers have commented that Salem's stage act isn't as manic as it once was, he certainly doesn't sit still or stand still for too long....and he's still headbanging!!

"Cold Shower" next - and even though this is a relatively new song, it is already becoming very popular with the audience, many of whom were already singing along. Apart from Salem's skill and versatility as a live performer, much of the credit has to go to his wonderful band, all extremely talented and versatile musicians in their own right, who always support Salem with solid and effortless musical excellence:

Jakob Birgersson (bass)
Nisse Wallfält (drums)
Robert Östlund (guitar/keyboards)
David Nyström (keyboards)

Credit must also go to Salem's sound man Internal Dread who provided an excellent mix and I particularly liked those little dub-effects and echoes during various songs which gave a new slant on some old and new favourites.

The bulk of the current live set is made up with songs from the new album, but the next two songs were from "This Is Who I Am": Salem sat down at his keyboard for a deliciously fast and funky "Devil Look" - I couldn't stop dancing to this! Then, to my favourite Salem song of all: "Good Song", which was the cue for a massive audience singalong. If I only had one minor complaint, I would say that it was played too early in the set - it should have been played later on, but that's just my personal taste.

"It's Only You (Part II)" was next, with its distinctive keyboard loops and Salem in great voice. This song has clearly become an audience favourite too.

"Mirror" provided Salem and the band with a chance to rock out, this song has really grown on me now. I liked his little looks over at Jakob when he was singing some of the lyrics - I thought that was quite funny.

After this, the band left the stage and Salem put on his acoustic guitar, to sing the (unreleased) "Brooklyn Sun". When I met Salem I told him how much I liked this song, and how I found it extremely moving. Tonight was no different: Salem's voice ached with longing in the final chorus, and the lump in my throat just got bigger.

The band returned and it was straight into "Astronaut", the current single: an effortless and lovely performance of the song.

I got the feeling that many in the crowd may not have been as familiar with "Bluest Eyes" although this is one of my favourite tracks on the new album. This was a chance for Salem's band to really shine, and they did: special mentions here for David's sparkly keyboard lines and Robert's excellent guitar solo towards the end of the song.

The rock-theme continued with "Now's The Time". It was great to see Salem absolutely hammering his guitar too - he totally rocked!

One particular aspect of Salem's live show is the effortless way that one song leads directly into another - and the segue from "Now's The Time" into "Dream Girl" was particularly inspired.

Aah, "Dream Girl". Another one of everyone's all-time Salem favourites: and another exceptional performance with Salem sitting at the piano, playing that refrain. Fantastic....and it led right into "It's True" which of course is the ultimate fan-favourite. Everyone clapped and sang at the top of their voices, and there was a very funny moment when Salem mixed up the order of the verses and totally confused everyone!!

After two established classics, the show was brought to a close with a future classic...."Roxy" which has crowd-pleaser written all over it. I love his cheeky little smile when he is singing the first verse, and his hand-gesturing at "just use your hands instead".

After an hour, it was all over, bar the encores. The first encore-song being "One Of The Others". I just screamed when this came on, as it's my favourite song on Salem's new album. A great performance too, and I loved the middle-section which Salem played on the piano in a totally classical style, and just like Salem I was smiling all the way through that part too.

Salem and the band left the stage again, but the audience just wouldn't let them go....so they came back for one final number, the traditional concert-ending "Thank You", which really was the final song. "...I just wanna thank you all for listening/and I hope we all can get back again".

And I do too Salem.

As I said in an earlier post, this was probably the best night of my life, and it's the best live concert that I've ever seen. A fantastic show packed with past, present and future hits crafted by a truly unique and magical performer: Salem Al Fakir. The world's best kept musical secret.

Uppsala concert review in Uppsala Nya Tidning

There's a review of last Friday's concert at Katalin, Uppsala at http://www2.unt.se/avd/1,1826,MC=5-AV_ID=896876,00.html

Reviewer Andreas Jakobsson said that he saw two of Salem's concerts during the same tour, two years ago, and was amazed that both concerts were different and spontaneous.

He went on to comment that Salem's curly hair has grown out a bit since the album was released, reminiscent of Salem Al Fakir from the past, before he started calling himself just Salem. He said that Salem's excess energy is now gone, with the focus now on the music; Internal Dread's live mixing offers a surprise extra dimension without making too much impact. The reviewer noted that "Bluest Eyes" was the evening's highest peak, and he also highlighted Robert Östlund's fierce guitar solo on the song. The reviewer stated that there was a carnival atmosphere in the packed Katalin club on Friday night. He described Salem as exuding cool rock star, mother-in-law's dream and crazy music professor all in one, but noted the hard discipline behind the mask.

Stockholm Cirkus review in Svenska Dagbladet

OK catch-up time starts now...

Kristin Lundell in Svenska Dagbladet was at Cirkus in Stockholm and gave the concert 3 out of 5. Find the review at http://www.svd.se/kulturnoje/nyheter/artikel_2755593.svd

Translation time ...
New album 'Astronaut'...displays a more thoughtful and mature side of Salem....perhaps not as family-friendly in its atmosphere, but enough for the teenage girls to celebrate the enthusiasm of the cute pop hit 'Astronaut'. Backed by his four-strong band - strings are prerecorded - Salem makes a surprisingly soft start, but fortunately, it takes only a few songs, until the first tracks from This is who I am before it tightens up, and 'Dream Girl', 'Good Song' and 'It's True' beds feelgood-feeling in Cirkus in fluffy cotton candy clouds. The 27-year-old multi-instrumentalist,wearing a white shirt, white trousers and matching braces looking like a character role in an old film, marches and moves happily along the stage. His famous hairstyle has begun to grow again, and he switches between playing the piano and guitar or stands in front at the stage edge with microphone in hand. Guitar rock mixed with piano driven soulpop and an unreleased song where Al Fakir is alone on acoustic guitar. It is a pleasant friendly concert and Salem Al Fakir is undoubtedly an equally charming and talented artist. But I wonder where the almost uncontrollable and contagious energy has gone. After forty-five minutes have Salem Al Fakir already played all his hits and a dozen songs too. With additional numbers the concert was an hour long, and then he gives his band members a hug, and then happily leaves the stage".

Swedish charts update

"Astronaut" (album) has re-entered the Sverige Topplistan album chart at no. 31 - let's hope it goes much higher this time!

Meanwhile the single of the same name remained at no. 6 in this week's SR P3 "Tracks" chart.

Some screencaps from Salem's latest TV appearance.





I hadn't done some screencaps for a while so I thought it was about time for some new ones, this time from Salem's latest TV appearance on SVT's "Babben & Co" on Saturday night.
He performed a lovely little acoustic-version of "It's Only You (Part II)" which was probably closer in spirit to the original version of the song which was on "This Is Who I Am". Anyway it's a very pretty little version of the song: Salem sings it very softly and gives it an almost lullaby-quality. You will find the show at SVT Play: go to http://svtplay.se/t/102906/babben_och_co, Salem appears 53 minutes into the show.

Remaining tour dates cancelled.

Expressen reports here that the three remaining dates on Salem's tour, in Örnsköldsvik (23.04.09), Östersund (24.04.09) and Sundsvall (25.04.09) have sadly had to be cancelled, due to Salem's upcoming commitments in the USA. New dates will be arranged for the concerts and I will let you know as soon as this information becomes available.

EDIT 20.04.09: Sundsvalls Tidning reports here that the Stadshuset concert has now been rescheduled to 15th May.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Saturday 18th April 2009: The best night of my life.

Regular readers of Planet Salem would know that I was going to Gothenburg on Friday. What you wouldn't have known was that the story wasn't over....

For just when I thought it couldn't get any better for me, something exciting happened, out of the blue on Thursday night...an email from Salem, asking me to contact his tour manager to arrange to meet him on Saturday!!

So I made my contact and it was agreed that I would meet Salem before his show on Saturday night. Here's my backstage pass....!

I thought he might only have time for a quick chat - but we ended up chatting for 45 minutes, we asked each other questions and shared lots of stories and it was a complete pleasure spending time in his company. I found Salem to be a warm, friendly, polite, down to earth and extremely kind person with a great sense of humour. And of course he was totally adorable too!

I was completely touched by his appreciation of the work I've done with Planet Salem; I'm just so happy that Salem enjoys reading my blog and that he has made it part of his official website.

Salem also introduced me to Robert, David and Nisse from his excellent live band - it was great to meet you guys!

I took my copy of "Astronaut" over with me and asked Salem to sign it, which he did. Like everything else he does, even his signature is unique and distinctive!



Before leaving, I asked if I could take Salem's picture as I needed evidence that I met him :) he thought this was quite funny, he mimicked me and said "I need evidence!" anyway here it is! (I've edited the picture a little bit as the dressing room had mirrors all the way round so the photo looked a little surreal to start with).


I will post my full review of the concert tomorrow, as I'm feeling very tired and need to get some sleep. "I can't sleep when all this spinning round" was a most appropriate lyric for me on Saturday night, as I hardly slept at all on Saturday night from all the excitement of meeting Salem and then seeing the greatest concert I've ever been to.

So I'll catch up with all the news tomorrow and there's a few more things I need to mention.

See you tomorrow! :)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Bye for now....

Planet Salem is now taking a break for a few days....because I'm off to Gothenburg tomorrow, to see Salem's concert on Saturday night!!

Current mood: excited and euphoric.

Planet Salem should return late on Sunday night when I'll catch up with all the news and reviews. I will also post my own concert review on Monday.

In the meantime if you are going to any of the concerts over the next three days I hope you enjoy them - I'm sure Salem will put on a wonderful show as ever. My one little problem (if you can call it a problem) is that my understanding of spoken Swedish is still not too good, so I won't really be able to understand what Salem is saying in-between the songs, although I've read before that he is quite amusing and entertaining. For me of course the music will speak for itself.

(And Salem, if you are reading this, good luck with the show...and please play "One of The Others" in Gothenburg!)

Stockholm, Uppsala and Gothenburg!

Salem resumes his tour tonight in Stockholm, then he's off to Uppsala tomorrow and Gothenburg on Saturday.

As usual, if you're going to any of these concerts please feel free to leave any comments and they will be published following my return from Gothenburg on Sunday night.

New interview...

Allt om Stockholm has a new interview with Salem in advance of his Stockholm concert tonight. Find it at http://www.alltomstockholm.se/start/article52676.aos

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

New interview in Göteborgs-Posten

I was particularly interested in reading this one (for obvious reasons): you can find the interview at http://www.gp.se/gp/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=286&a=489316

In the interview Salem said that it was good to get his hair cut (yes they still have this obsession with the hair!).

The interviewer Emma Casserlöv stated that "it's not only the hair that has changed...musically speaking, it is also a new Salem Al Fakir making an entrance. His new album, "Astronaut", is more cohesive than the debut disc "This is who I am". Perhaps not so surprising since the first album was a miscellany of songs Salem Al Fakir wrote for several years, whereas most of the material for "Astronaut" was produced effectively over six months"

The article continues: "Salem describes his second album as a logical continuation, a Salem, season two ". Referring to playing the new songs live, he said "I do not know how I will behave myself on stage. I do not think I will run around as much".

"Salem Al Fakir likes the Gothenburg audience, which he describes as very open, and he looks forward to setting up on Trädgårn stage on Saturday. He recalls a previous show here at Nefertiti shortly after his first release. - It was a milestone, the audience was wonderful. For the first time I noticed that everyone knew all my lyrics! On stage, he has many times shown a seemingly inexhaustible energy. Ideally, Salem Al Fakir does everything himself; debut disc was a real one-man project, but now he has begun to enlist the help of others. Though he must still have control in order to relax, on stage and in other contexts. - I am sitting on an airplane, I must know where emergency exits are to be safe. "Astronaut" has been described as rock with influences from bands as diverse as AC / DC and Toto. But Salem refuses to try to define his music, does not want to talk genre or message. The text can convey a sense, music is another, and then the person listening can interpret music in a completely different way - which is exactly as it should be. On the new disc is his name only Salem, short. An international launch is imminent and Salem's surname is not easy to pronounce in English. He hopes to get on tour in Europe".

"Mention Salem's boat and his eyes light up. The boat, which he bought along with one of his brothers and a friend, has become a refuge where he can let go of total control. - For the first time I can take 45 minutes out just when I want".

I'm glad Salem likes the Gothenburg audiences: hopefully we won't let him down on Saturday!

Ritz, Arvika live review at vf.se

And a rather good review it is too: http://www.vf.se/Kultur--Noje/Varmland/Salem-Al-Fakir-spred-gladje-090414.aspx

(Sorry for the delay but I only just found this tonight)

Reviewer Elinor Hägg reported that Salem began with "Twelve Fingers" which "created a lovely environment for a great evening" whilst highlighted the unreleased "Brooklyn Sun" as "a song I hope will have a given place on a future disc".

She went on to say "Salem is making more splendid promises for the future" and that "his development is really in the right direction." In the reviewer's opinion the evening's best song is "It's True", which she describes as "magnificent and majestic", at the centre of a trilogy of songs which closes the concert, beginning with "Dream Girl" then "It's True" and finishing with "Roxy". Salem closed with the traditional end-song encore "Thank You" and then it was all over, but in the reviewer's words "the happy feeling remains for a long time. It's true. Life will smile for you".

Salem to appear on SVT1's "Babben & Co" this Saturday

As reported on Salem's Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Salem/50286022803

Salem will be appearing and performing on SVT1's "Babben & Co" this Saturday night at 8.00 pm. (Of course he will also be appearing on a stage in Gothenburg almost at the same time, so myself and anyone else who will be there can catch it later at SVT Play - Salem has posted a link on his Facebook page).

I hadn't seen "Babben & Co" before so I checked out last week's show: I'm glad I did, as Moneybrother and H.E.A.T. were this week's musical guests and I like both of them.

Salem to play Helsingborgsfestivalen on 24th July

Salem has been added to the bill of the Helsingborgsfestivalen which takes place between 23rd and 25th July. Salem will appear on the Stora Scenen on Friday 24th July. More info here: http://www.helsingborg.se/templates/StandardPage.aspx?id=69001&epslanguage=SV

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Jonna's blog...

As you know, Jonna Lee is the support act on Salem's tour. I like her song "My High" and I've checked out a couple of her other songs too. I'm looking forward to seeing her play live on Saturday night as she's been getting some good reviews so far.

Anyway she has a nice little tour blog going over at her MySpace - check it out here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=41450093

I think Salem should do a tour blog too!

H3FK to play Jazz in Karlskrona festival

The Jazz in Karlskrona festival will take place between 28th and 29th August and H3FK will be among the guests appearing this year. The programme is still to be finalised, but more information can be found here: http://www.sydostran.se/index.73874---1.html

Monday, 13 April 2009

My Gothenburg countdown...4 days to go!

Forgive me everyone if I get just a little excited...!

As this is my last "countdown" post, I should really play "The Final Countdown" by Europe, as it won't be long now until my boyfriend and I head over to Gothenburg for the weekend. We will fly out on Friday, then pick up the tickets on Saturday, do a bit of sightseeing and hanging out, then the big event....Salem's concert on Saturday night.

I can't describe how happy I am that I am finally getting to see Salem play live. It really is a dream come true for me. (The only thing better than that would be to meet Salem, that would be the icing on the cake, although I'm not sure how you go about doing that - unless someone would like to help me !!)

Salem - if you are reading this, I just want you to know that I'm really looking forward to the show, I'm sure it will be amazing. In case you're wondering...My name is Laura, I'm the lady with the red hair, wearing the black dress, hopefully standing near the front of the stage singing along with every line of every song!! Of course I will be writing my review for Planet Salem after I fly back home!

In the meantime of course Salem is playing Stockholm on Thursday and Uppsala on Friday. As I'll be away over the weekend I'll post any links to reviews/translations/articles following my return home.

New interview at nwt.se

Apologies for the lack of posts over the weekend, my internet connection was down yesterday :(

I found this nice and informative little interview with Salem at http://nwt.se/noje/article512690.ece

In the interview Salem said that his record collection is still 'non-existent'; he said that most of the ideas for his songs came whilst he was in the car, or on his boat during last summer; he travelled round Värmland on his moped, listening to Django Reinhardt. He didn't write any songs but was fascinated by the beautiful landscape.

Salem also said that he still doesn't listen to music, with few exceptions. "People always try to find references when they need to categorize me, but they fail. Sure, I have musical references somewhere, but when I make music I would not be fed with other music. I try to keep myself away from it. It works well for me".

Finally Salem said that he was a little worried and nervous about the new album, but he is relieved that the new album had been well received. Asked where he gets his inspiration, he replied "Life! Situations arising here and there, you can write music for anything".

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Arvika concert tonight!

Salem is playing Ritz in Arvika tonight - if you are going, enjoy the show and remember to post your comments afterwards if you want to tell us about it!

After tonight, Salem will have a few days off before the tour resumes on Thursday at Cirkus in Stockholm.

A couple of reviews of last night's Gävle concert...

Gefle Dagblad's Stefan Andersson was at Salem's concert at Gävle last night and posted one of the best reviews I've read in a long time. Find it at http://gd.se/noje/musik/1.953248

He had some good things to say about support act Jonna Lee, comparing her to Nina Persson (high praise indeed!)

So here, as ever, is a brief translation of what the reviewer thought of Salem last night:

"Energetic Salem was a hybrid of the old Gilbert O'Sullivan and Moneybrother. Wow! Did I see the best concert of the spring last night? Yes, I think so. Must admit that I have not previously been a devout fan of Salem Al Fakir, as he called himself. But now, with only Salem as artist name, it sounds as he took another step. It is crucial. After a grand intro he went in and completely took over the stage. Strange that some seats were empty, but still, it was busy and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We want to really hear more of Jonna Lee - she and her side kicks, guitarist and bassist, gave extra spice. "The Light", first single, is a gem among many others.

Salem stands up for us, especially in the song "Twelve Fingers" where he could afford to head bang in the best hard rock fashion. He mixed the critically acclaimed album "This Is Who I Am" and new "Astronaut" and it was, excuse the language, damn good. The sound was perfect, both in the pop songs, occasionally reggae inspired, as in the ballads. Prolific songwriter Salem sang "Brooklyn Sun" and I have certainly heard a new hit....He seems to love what he is doing and it's infectious and now (after a small measure of apology), I will follow his career with particular interest".

In Arbetarbladet, reviewer Kristian Ekenberg gave the concert a three-star review - find it at http://arbetarbladet.se/noje/recensioner/pascen/1.953304:

A brief translation..."This thing with the hair may seem trivial, and it is funny how the articles on his new album have been as much about his new hairdo, but the change seems to be in the music. When I saw him last, a couple of summers ago, I was not impressed, to say the least. Salem will never be an artist who I listen to on my own but now I understand the score better with him. He is energetic live, although I will not be as enthusiastic as the clapping, foot-stamping audience."

The reviewer liked Jonna Lee and said he would have liked her to be on stage for longer. Meanwhile back to Salem...

"And I should ideally have a minimum of Salem's old material, because the new material is more in the right direction. "Astronaut" is a fine pop song. Even he sings better. My main objection remains: what does he want with his music? For me, Salem is still a chef, whose only goal, only artistic task is to get the food to taste good. Beyond this, no more dimension, not anything more to tell about life. The music never leaves the plate".

Everyone to their own opinion of course....!

"Astronaut" stays at no.6 on this week's Tracks chart.

Good to see that Salem is still in Swedish Radio's "Tracks" top 10 this week: he remains at no. 6 for a second week.

This is such a good and diverse chart - check it out at at http://www.sr.se/p3/topplistor/tracks/

Friday, 10 April 2009

Danish review of "Astronaut"

(I think) the album is released today in Denmark: Gaffa.dk has a review at http://gaffa.dk/anmeldelse/32003

Reviewer Erik Barkman gives the album 4 out of 6: Comparing "Astronaut" to "This Is Who I Am" he calls it "more stylish, but less inspired...the foundation is still funky pop centered on Salem's charming vocals....fortunately Salem manages to put a personal imprint on his exercises and he has an almost natural talent for turning catchy hooks".

Unfortunately my Danish-to-English translating site didn't make much sense so I couldn't translate all of it (!) if I find any more Danish reviews I'll post them here.

Gävle concert tonight!

Salem will be at Gävle Spegeln tonight for the latest concert on his tour. If you are going - enjoy the show and remember to leave your comments if you want to tell us anything about it!

Swedish Charts Update: I'm not happy.

What's gone wrong? I was over at Sverige Topplistan for my usual Friday check on the singles and album charts, only to discover that after only a couple of weeks in the album chart, "Astronaut" has now completely dropped out of the list. I know that it's a particularly strong time at the moment for new Swedish album releases - but I can't understand why the album has not done well, especially as it has been so long awaited and has been well-received by the critics. (Especially as it is a fantastic album: I'm not just saying that because I'm a fan, but because I genuinely believe that it is).

Salem does have a devoted and loyal fanbase who still buy his records and go to his concerts, but where has everyone else gone?

As a fan who lives outside Sweden, I can't really understand this! Maybe some of my Swedish readers could explain why this has happened?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Salem on Swedish radio this weekend.

Salem will be a guest on Swedish Radio's "P4 Premiär" show this coming Saturday, 11th April.
The show will be aired at 1.03 pm Swedish time, and of course it will be available later on www.sr.se.

More information at http://www.sr.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2963&artikel=2756799.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Nyköping concert cancelled :(((

I have just read tonight at Södermanlands Nyheter that Salem's concert at Culturum, Nyköping tomorrow night has been cancelled and rescheduled to 29th October. The reason for this is a double-booking at the venue. Tickets for tomorrow night will still be valid for the October show.

(There is nothing about this at Salem's official site so I hope my information is correct).

Linköping concert tonight / Setlists

Tonight Salem's tour reaches Linköping, where he and his band will be playing the Konsert & Kongress centre. If you are going ....enjoy the show, and remember to leave your comments here if there's anything you want to tell us about the show.

Also I'm looking for information about the setlist for this tour. I'd like to know about what songs Salem is playing - I know he's played "Good Song" and "It's True" and "Brooklyn Sun" but I'd love to know what other songs he is playing, I guess most of them will be from the new album.

Can anyone let me know - either in the comments or via email.

Much appreciated!!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Norwegian album review.

Found another Norwegian press review of "Astronaut" at http://oslopuls.aftenposten.no/musikk/cd/article182180.ece

It's 4 out of 5 (yet again!) and the reviewer Robert Hoftun Gjestad prefers this album to Salem's debut. He describes Salem as a "genius soul pop artist". He comments "the melodies are simply stronger, more robust and better developed, from the opening "Cold Shower" and the title track, through the rockier "Now's The Time," orchestrated soul of "It's Only You (Part II)", or throwing freely back to the 1970s glam in "Roxy."...a couple of the calmer songs at the end do not have the same captivating flavour, but most of this album is the type of boldly performed music that grows on the listener - and provides an increasingly broad smile on their face".

Monday, 6 April 2009

"Astronaut" on Norwegian radio playlist

I don't have much news to report today apart from finding out that "Astronaut" has been added to Norwegian radio NRK P3's playlist. It has been C-listed this week but we hope it will be A-listed soon.

Before I go, something personal and off-topic: if you're out there Darkfairy, please get in touch - missing you!!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Swedish charts update

"Astronaut" (single) has slipped 3 places from no. 29 to no. 32 in this week's Swedish Radio P3 Digilistan chart.

I would trade away the stars and moon...

I meant to post this earlier in the week: regular readers of this blog will be aware of how much I love "Brooklyn Sun". Here is Salem performing the song on Mix Megapol radio last Monday.



A fantastic song, you will agree.

Västerås concert review

VLT.se has a review of last night's concert at Sigurdsgatan 25 in Västerås here:
http://www.spanonline.se/ArticleTemplate.asp?version=883515

The reviewer, Staffan Andersson, gave the concert 3 out of 5. Here's a translation of some of the review:

"Most have noticed that Salem Al Fakir has cut off his characteristic hair. Now he is no longer a frisky newcomer, now he wants to prove that he is an artist to be reckoned with for many years to come. On Saturday, he came to Sigurdsgatan 25 and met a devoted audience.... The musical excesses of the first disc are completely gone....The concert is homogeneous and, yes, mature. But sometimes it becomes almost too standardized, "Good Song" is wasted and becomes just a song in the crowd. Overall, it's still a marked improvement. Salem Al Fakir is no longer at a piano and plays tricky rhythms. He runs aroud and dances, and the audience seems to like the new Salem Al Fakir, and it is to be hoped that he continues on this path".

"Astronaut" no.6 on Tracks chart this week.

"Astronaut" has slipped one place from no. 5 to no. 6 on this week's Swedish Radio "Tracks" chart.

As usual you know what you have to do....you have until Monday afternoon to vote again to keep Salem in the top 10 in next week's chart.

By the way, this is my 300th post on Planet Salem. Hope you are all still enjoying this blog, and if you have any ideas on how the site could be improved, please let me know.

Lund concert photos

If you go to this link you'll find some photos from Salem's Lund concert from 03.04.09: http://www.rockfoto.net/artists/Salem%20Al%20Fakir/gig/20090403/10393/photos

I liked the shirt/braces/trousers and thought Salem was looking very good indeed....!!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A nice little interview in Goteborgs-Posten

There is a nice little interview with Salem from Göteborgs-Posten which is more 'personal' than some of the more recent interviews. Find it at:
http://www.gp.se/gp/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=200&a=487118

I thought you might like a translation!

In the interview, Salem said that he has a girlfriend. (Planet Salem says: Salem's girlfriend is the luckiest girl in the world!!!!)

Salem went on to day that his first real relationship was during high school, and his first kiss was when he was either 14 or 15 years old or maybe earlier!

Salem said that in the past he had been unlucky in love, as he'd been in love with people who hadn't loved him back :(

Salem was asked if he'd ever had a celebrity crush: he said he hadn't, and had never been interested in them in that way.

He said he'd been single for long periods in the past and was close to friends and family, he also has a best friend.

The interviewer, Emma Bergström Wuolo, commented on Salem's music being happy. Salem said that he has a fairly positive view of life and thinks he always will have, although you can be more cynical when you get older. He went on to say that "it is clear that one can write about sad things, but in a hopeful way".

When asked which decade do you think has the best music, Salem thought about that for a while and then said the 60's, although he thought it was difficult to say why.

Finally, the interviewer asked why Salem dropped his surname in preparation for an international career; Salem said that many people in Europe will know how to pronounce Salem, but can't pronounce Al Fakir !!

I really enjoyed this interview. :))

Lund concert review in Expressen

There is a review of last night's opening concert of Salem's tour in Lund, in Expressen: http://www.expressen.se/noje/recensioner/konsert/1.1522397/uppklatt-och-sakert-men-utan-det-subtila

The reviewer Per Hägred reported on the return of "Huddinge's Elton John" who played to a crowd of 350 people last night. The reviewer said that the music is now more elegant and subtle, and Salem no longer runs around the way he used to. However, the reviewer commented that in the live setting, the new songs lost their subtlety and at times the band were drowning Salem out :( Apparently the sound quality wasn't as good as it should have been - why is this always a problem at concerts?

I was glad to see that Salem played the unreleased and utterly gorgeous "Brooklyn Sun".

The reviewer said that the best moment was "It's True" which almost blew the roof off the venue!!

(I wonder if Salem played many of the "old" songs? As long as "Good Song" and "Dream Girl" are still in the set then I'll be happy - but I love the new and unreleased songs so I want to hear as many of them as possible!!)

Västerås concert tonight: post your comments here!

Salem is playing a show tonight at Sigurdsgatan 25 in Västerås. If you are going tonight, enjoy the show - and post your comments about the show here.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Norwegian review, Gilbert O'Sullivan, and Salem's fans' ages...

1: Another Norwegian review

In Livecity Magazine http://www.livecity.no/Anmeldelse/?p=BlogDetail&ublid=2995, reviewer Jon Vidar Bergen awards the album 6 out of 10.

"In the sequel he is now Salem and he has moved much from (the debut album's) old soul and Stevie Wonder-style. This is more straight and well-arranged pop music, still with a lot of keyboards....First single "Astronaut", which is great, catchy pop with stunning vocals.... Almost as good is "One Of The Others." On "Now's The Time", he unusually rocks à la Oasis, without forgetting the good melody. "Roxy" is inventive pop of the best 70s style (Toto, 10cc, Supertramp). Astronaut is a more varied album than the debut, but unfortunately, not better."

The reviewer recommends the album if you're a fan of Jason Mraz, and...Gilbert O'Sullivan.

2: Gilbert O'Sullivan

The Gilbert comparison is very interesting: whenever I've played Salem's music to anyone of my age group or older than me, they have all commented on the similarity of Salem's style to Gilbert O'Sullivan - if you're not familiar with Gilbert, he was a hugely successful singer-songwriter in the early 1970s (my childhood years!! :o), he wrote and sang very catchy piano-songs with extremely clever lyrics.

I don't know if Salem is familiar with Gilbert O'Sullivan's music or not, but it's interesting to see the reviewers also making this comparison.

3: Age of Salem's fans?

With only two weeks to go till I'm at Salem's Gothenburg concert, I'm beginning to wonder if me and my partner will be the oldest people in the audience!! It's interesting to see that Salem's music appeals to a much younger audience in Sweden, whereas I feel that in the UK he would probably appeal to the over-30s, as a lot of young people over here are only interested in r'n'b, dance music or emo-style bands and are too narrow minded to appreciate real talent. I'm glad that there are young people in Sweden with good musical taste, but I hope there are maybe some older people (30-40s age) going to his live concerts too!!

Lund concert: post your comments here!

If you're going to Salem's concert in Lund tonight, can you post your comments here after the show. All comments welcome! Tell us about what songs Salem played, and what was your favourite song and best moment in the show.

Looking forward to hearing from you :)

Swedish charts update

In this week's Sverige Topplistan chart, "Astronaut" (single) has climbed one place to no. 34. Meanwhile the "Astronaut" album has dropped from no. 7 to no. 21. I'm very disappointed about this of course, but I'm sure it will climb the chart again soon.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Salem's tour starts tomorrow!!

For anyone who didn't already know, Salem's tour of Sweden starts tomorrow night at AF Borgen in Lund.

During the tour, I thought it would be a good idea to have a separate post for every concert where you can leave your comments, setlists, and anything you want to say about the show. All comments will be very welcome :) It's ok if you want to leave comments in Swedish - these are welcome too ! :)

These posts will begin tomorrow.

Salem...if you are reading this...Lycka till på turnén och jag hoppas att det går bra för dig och din underbara bandet. Vi ses i Göteborg!!

/Laura

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Yet one more Norwegian review of "Astronaut"

I didn't think I'd find any more reviews, but then I found this in Stavanger Aftenbladet: http://www.aftenbladet.no/kultur/plate/1009070/Hakket_svakere_enn_sist.html

The reviewer Kjetil Wold doesn't like this album as much as "This Is Who I Am" giving it four out of five rather than the five he gave that debut, but even if he's a little critical he's still got lots of good things to say about the album:

"Salem still has a solid grip on songwriting and he alternates from large ballads, through pop, cheesy discopop and soul to flimsy electronica-pop. But he sounds smoother and more superficial this time...it does not mean that "Astronaut" is a bad disc. The melodies are good - and he demonstrates a stronger grip on the ballads than the uptempo pop song. Best tracks: "Black Sun, Black Moon" and "Astronaut."