Thursday, August 9, 2007 - Big Loss for Oslo, Norway - Mourning Robert Solli Burås:
Those who know me well, know that I have many attachments to Oslo, Norway. I was set to move there on August 1 actually, but due to changes in my personal life, my plans have consequently shifted. During the past year, however, I've made good friends and some connections in the Oslo music community.
This week marked the anniversary of my first visit to Oslo. I was there specifically for the Øya festival where I saw Morrissy, Beck and the Cramps, among a great number of Norway's hottest bands. During that trip, I also fell in love with the city and knew immediately that I wanted to move there… Filled with the tourist gaze at the festival, I was much more aware of other people than I normally am. At one point, I caught a man starting at me (or quite likely, my hair). There was something about his body language that was all too familiar. He was clearly a musician.
After that week of music and fun, the Norwegian National Television aired footage of the event, and there he was being interviewed: my musician. His name is Robert Burås, lead man of My Midnight Creeps, who had also played in Madrugada for over a decade.
I have recently learned that Robert had been found dead on July 12 of "undisclosed causes" with his guitar on top of him.
Even if I wasn't in Norway to witness this event, I'm just glad that Oslo has mourned its loss with a tribute concert at the Øya festival yesterday…
I have never met Robert, nor have I ever seen him play. I'm not even familiar with his music. The news of his death saddened me regardless. Robert and his bands shared a practice space with friends of mine. My heart goes out to those who knew and loved him.
Regardless of how close people were to this man, there's always a void in the music community with such a loss - much more so than news of the break-up of great band that has been a local institution for years. And then, we all share an understanding the life, the dreams, the sacrifices, the mutual support (most people who go out to see independent bands in clubs are other musicians) and the shared good times. Connections tend to be deep and intimate, which lead to music communities being quite insular.
While feeling that loss, perhaps each of us is also slightly touched by the fear that ensues. Such events remind us that being part of an independent music community and perhaps indulging in a lifestyle (or NOT) can lead to premature death.
"That could be my band mate…"
"That could be my best friend…"
"That could be my lover…"
"That could be me…"
Overindulging or not, being an independent musician makes for a hard life with a lot of stress and no guarantees. Today, I can say this with more assertion as I have just returned from my first cross-Canada tour, which entailed LONG hours and a whole lot of work! (I'm still writing the Blog entry about our adventures on the tour, and Arthur is now on tour in Estonia with Girl From Saskatoon. I've had some terrible experiences with misrepresentation lately – more on THAT to come. I don't want to post anything without him verifying it first. Give me a week or so …)
Face it. Most of us musicians are not as healthy as we could be either. On the other hand, I don't think I could handle any other life. In the end, I didn't choose it. It chose me...