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Monday, 28 February 2011

"I'm So Happy" - new single!


These are very quiet times on Planet Salem, but today, from out of nowhere, comes a new single!

Not a new song of course; by now it's an old favourite, but it's a new version of "I'm So Happy" - this time as a duet between Salem and Josephine Bornebusch. Josephine is one of the stars of the massive Swedish hit TV comedy "Solsidan" and of course "I'm So Happy" is the theme tune to the show, so I guess it makes sense to put the two together :)

It's available to download from iTunes at the following link:
http://itunes.apple.com/se/album/im-so-happy-single/id421621772

The only other snippet of news I have today (thanks to Madelene for the tip, via Facebook) is that Adam, Jakob and Nisse appeared as backing band for another of my favourite Swedish artists, September, when she performed "Resuscitate Me" on SVT's "Go'kväll".

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Problem with Salem's MySpace page.

I previously mentioned a mix-up about a gig mentioned on Salem's MySpace page....well it's still there, along with some other gigs too - in Detroit, New York , Philadelphia and Strasbourg. These gigs are actually by the American band named Salem, and not Salem Al Fakir.

I don't know how this has happened, but could someone please fix this problem? Maybe Salem should change his MySpace page back to www.myspace.com/salemalfakir in order to avoid this happening again.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Morgonpasset pics

Salem and Otis were back in the Morgonpasset studio again on Friday morning. Here are some pictures, courtesy of Sveriges Radio, and check out more pics and clips from the show at http://sverigesradio.se/sida/default.aspx?programid=2024.




"Ignore This" is back in the Swedish album chart

OK it's only no. 52 in the Sverige Topplistan, but welcome back anyway :)

I guess this was after the excellent episode of "Dom Kallar Oss Artister" on SVT1 last week!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Salem's back on Morgonpasset i P3 again this Friday!

Don't forget to tune into Morgonpasset i P3 on Friday 11th February for yet another appearance by Salem, who seems to be on this show almost as much as the hosts these days :)

Info: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2024&artikel=4341874

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Helsinki: watch the gig all over again!

Good news!! Last night's Korjaamo show is available to watch again for the next 7 days at http://arenan.yle.fi/video/1665001

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

"Chain Gang"

In case you haven't seen/heard it yet, here's Salem and friends with their great cover version of Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" from Monday night's "Dom Kallar Oss Artister". Sweet, soulful vocals and reggaefied rhythms. Enjoy!

Salem's gig in Korjaamo, Helsinki: review

Did you all hear it??? What a fabulous show!

The gig began at 8.00pm UK time - 10.00pm in Finland. The band were all on stage, but one important member was missing :) After an enthusiastic introduction by the presenters, the band launched into the familiar intro of "Part Of It" which appears to have replaced "Red Rock" as the opening number. Eventually Salem entered the stage to a very warm reception from the audience, who appeared to be a mixture of the devoted, the enthusiastic and the curious.

As befits his now-official status as Sweden's best dressed man, Salem was as stylish and handsome as ever, dressed in a dark suit, dark tie and white shirt with of course his usual braces. His hair has also grown a little since his recent haircut too, and I'm quite happy about that. The guys were also as well dressed as ever - they really are a smart looking crew, aren't they!

Anyway enough talk about the very appealing visual aspects of the show...let's talk about the music which is the most important thing!

As I said earlier, "Part Of It" kicked off the show, with pre-recorded backing vocals in addition to the live band, although I thought this worked very well in a live context. I liked Salem's hand gesture when he sang that famous line "tell your friends how big....", however he appeared pretty restrained during this song, putting extra concentration into his vocal performance. The electronic loop running through the song then cleverly segued into a new version of the ever-popular and anthemic "It's True" (which I guess he played during his recent club tour). Mixing rock and dance influences, I thought this was a particularly impressive version of the song. Of course, Salem being Salem, he mixed up the first and second verses of the song. Aah, he never disappoints ;) Anyway what did surprise me was its inclusion at such an early stage in the set, as we're probably more used to hearing it towards the end.

Next came the return of "Twelve Fingers" of course one of my favourite Salem songs and always a welcome addition in the live set. Again slightly reworked with a new keyboard line running through it: a good version - but being completely honest here, it's probably not my favourite version of the song. Of course that's just my own personal taste and I'm sure many of you will disagree! Again he got the first and second verses of the song mixed up but we expect that by now!!

A more traditional version of "It's Only You (Part II)" came next, which immediately was recognised by many in the audience, right from the opening notes onwards. I particularly liked Salem and Adam's joint vocals on the "if you ever will be mine" part of the song.

Then Salem removed his tie! He told the audience about the last time he tried to get to Helsinki for a gig, and of course we all know how that turned out :( however we're so happy that he's here, he is here, it makes us happy! Which is a cue for a song....the new version of "I'm So Happy" to be precise, which is built around a rolling guitar riff and Adam is certainly the star of this song. The new version brings a further contrast to a song which always had a strong contrast to start with: the original's bitter lyrics against the happy singalong melody, but as I said in a previous post on here, there is now a sad, regretful feel to the new version. Nevertheless it doesn't stop the crowd singing along.

Tonight I was paying particular attention to the band's performance as a whole. On the two occasions I've been to see Salem live, the first time was his previous band line-up, then the second time was the current line-up but with the orchestra, so I just realised tonight that I'd never actually watched a Salem concert with his current band line-up, playing a 'band gig' I guess! Of course it goes without saying that they are an extremely tight, well-rehearsed and accomplished group of musicians, who provide a consistently reliable musical backing to the main man himself.

One song added to the live set in the recent club tour was "This Is For" which again relied strongly on pre-recorded vocal backing tracks however worked very well with live instrumentation. (In a similar vein, I had hoped to hear "Bloody Breakfast" tonight, which was featured in the club tour. Oh well, maybe some other time). Anyway Salem removed his glasses, and the band launched into the album version of current single "Split My Personality". I thought the song might have been reworked slightly in the style of the highly acclaimed Bassflow remix, but it still worked very well particularly in this band-version.

Salem put his glasses back on...however later on in the set he removed his glasses again and also removed his jacket, to reveal the very familiar braces - Salem's trademark style!

"Astronaut" was also very well-received - I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Finnish fans were so familiar with his pre-"Ignore This" material. Not really much to say about this song except that it was brilliant as usual.

Followed by "Good Song" which as if you need reminding, is my favourite of all Salem songs. I tend to be a little more critical of my favourite songs if the live versions are anything less than perfect: no need for criticism here though, as Salem's vocals were jazzy and soulful as ever, I liked the vocal harmonies on the chorus, and musically it was just spot-on, with a dazzling synth solo by Salem. He may be more restrained now in his live performances, but there were still the occasional moments tonight when he went into "mad-professor" mode, throwing himself over the keyboard or staring upwards into the air, or headbanging.

One of the main highlights for me tonight was "4 O'Clock", which was based on the Adrian Lux remix of the song, which is probably my favourite version of it. Again the crowd loved this one too.

By this point the crowd were completely eating out of Salem's hand and they welcomed "Roxy" like an old friend. . Even this song got a little dance-makeover with new little keyboard lines running through it.

And finally....what else but "Keep On Walking" to close the show, which was rapturously received by everyone at Korjaamo. He's bound to be sick of singing this song by now, but you wouldn't know it as he still puts his heart and soul into every single performance of it, making it sound as fresh as it was when we first heard it in full, some 362 days ago if I remember correctly :)

Salem, Nisse, Jakob and Adam then took their bows and left the stage, but the very appreciative audience wanted more, as we all did! I think the presenter said something like "scream if you want him back" and boy, did they scream. The band came back on stage for one more number, an energetic "Virgin Mary" which was a foot-tapping and fabulous end to the evening.

Unfortunately that really was the end, no more encores. Still I guess that Salem and the band could play for four hours, but we'd still be sad when it ended; however you also have that exhilarated feeling at the end of a Salem show, with the realisation that you've been part of a truly special experience.

Salem Al Fakir remains a charismatic and outstandingly talented artist and this terrific show just proved, yet again, that he is the very best, backed by an excellent band who just get better and better at everything they do. Thank you all for a wonderful night, and thanks to YLE for webcasting the show worldwide so that we were all able to see it :))

Svenska Talande Klubben tonight!

Are you ready...????

Go to http://yle.fi/extrem/radio/ for the live stream of tonight's Radio X3m 'Svenska Talande Klubben' broadcast live from Korjaamo in Helsinki. Father McKenzie are now on stage, and Salem and the band will be on stage at approximately 22:00 Finnish time/21:00 Swedish time/20:00 UK time.

Are you all as excited as I am????

By the way....if you go to http://yle.fi/extrem/artikel/musiknoje/38268-Vad-gor-Salem-med-ett-handfat-och-24-liter-dricka you'll find an article and brief video interview with Salem about his band's backstage rider. Which includes water, a washbasin and a wastepaper basket. Very rock n'roll :))))

There's also an article at http://yle.fi/extrem/artikel/musiknoje/38275-Soundcheck-med-Salem about the soundcheck and a little photostream too.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Introducing...Father McKenzie!

From time to time on Planet Salem I like to feature other acts who are in some way connected with Salem. Tonight I thought I'd feature the band who are supporting Salem in Helsinki tomorrow, they're called Father McKenzie, and they are a mixture of Swedes and Swedish-speaking Finns, who are based in Örebro.

I found this post (dated 11th January) on their blog at http://www.fathermckenzie.se/ and I thought you might like this part of it: "Yesterday I got an e-mail from Svenska Talande Klubben in Helsinki and they asked us to be the supporting act for Salem Al Fakir (!!!!!!!). This is amazing news for us since Salem Al Fakir has always been one of our greatest Idols and role-models. The event will take place on the 2nd of February in Helsinki. Don´t miss it!!!!!"

They also have something else in common with Salem, as they are also competing in a national song contest...not Melodifestivalen but the 2011 Finnish Euroviisut, with "Good Enough", a high-quality pop song which definitely lives up to its name. The good news is that the band have made it through to the final, so I'd like to wish them all the best!



Check out www.fathermckenzie.se for more of their songs. If you like the intelligent piano-pop style of acts like Keane and Coldplay then I think you will like Father McKenzie too.

Helsingfors!


Salem will finally play that long-awaited gig at Korjaamo in Helsinki tomorrow, Wednesday 2nd February, as part of Radio X3m's Svenska Talande Klubben series. If you remember, he was due to play there on 1st December, however he was unable to make it in time because he was stuck at the airport: http://yle.fi/extrem/artikel/musiknoje/38249-Salem-klar-for-Finland so here's hoping he has better luck this time!

The programme will be broadcast live at http://yle.fi/extrem/ tomorrow from 20:00. This is the part where I get a bit confused: I guess this is Finnish time, which will mean it starts at 19:00 Swedish time, and 18:00 UK time? Of course Salem won't be on stage till later, and I'll bring more information nearer the time and a little bit of live-blogging too, as I'll be sitting in front of the computer, listening to the show. It will probably the only time that many of us will get to hear Salem play live again this year, so it's even more important that we all tune in. Or if you're a Salem fan and you live in or around Helsinki, show your support and get along to Korjaamo for what will be a great night. As usual, if you're going - enjoy the show and remember to tell us all about it. I'd like to hear from more of Salem's Finnish fans as I know there are a lot of you out there!

Dom Kallar Oss Artister

I hope you all enjoyed watching Salem, his band, crew and friends on last night's "Dom Kallar Oss Artister" on SVT1. If you missed the show, or if (like me) you just want to watch it over and over again, go to http://svtplay.se/t/102920/dom_kallar_oss_artister - it will be available to watch until 2nd March.

There were so many highlights in this 'behind the scenes' show - breakfast with Salem, old video footage, travelling to Gävle (good to see Mankan again too!), sharing his musical memories, getting ready for the orchestra show with Hans Ek, then getting some much-needed relaxation on the boat, travelling through those beautiful Stockholm waterways ...and finally, to close the show, a brilliant cover version of Sam Cooke's "Chain Gang" with his all-star band (featuring some very familiar faces if you're a Salem fan). It's great to hear Salem singing someone else's song for a change - one more reason why I really want him to do "Så mycket bättre" at some point in the future.

Of course it goes without saying that Salem was as charming and funny as ever, and his lovely personality shone through as always. I'm sure he'll have won many new fans after watching this show.

(Salem picture above is courtesy of Henrik Crona/SVT)

Salem (Al Fakir) is NOT playing in Glasgow in February.

Thanks Eva for the link to the Rix FM interview
http://www.rixfm.com/webbradio/frameset.php?type=audio then click 'Eftermiddagar'.

During this interview, Salem was asked if he would be playing in Glasgow and he denied this.

I just want to clarify tonight that Planet Salem was not responsible for this story, but I reported it on a previous post here initially because it came from Salem's own MySpace page (www.myspace.com/salem) where the gig was listed in the upcoming shows/events section. (By the way, the show is still listed on that web page).

Just so you know :)