Magnus Grønneberg, for almost 30 years the driving force and singer in the band CC Cowboys, was challenged by Borg Diocesan Council and KKV to interpret hymns by Egil Hovland (1924-2013). While obviously a good idea, both are popular musicians from Fredrikstad, the encounter managed to create more than a few ripples on the water: with one being the foremost church musician after WW2, the other one of the most exciting rock personalities in Norway.

Now the encounter has been made into an album titled “Tårnhøye bølger”, featuring ten of Hovland’s most well-known hymns, and is ready for release in August.

The producer, Erik Hillestad, invited Knut Reiersrud to adapt the Hovland hymns for a band consisting of Bjørn Holm (bass), Olaf Olsen (drums) and Torjus Vierli (keyboards), in addition to Reiersrud on guitar and mouth organ. The purpose of the project is to introduce a new audience to these hymns, which represent some of the best church music created after the war.

From the time when he was a member of the children’s choir at Glemmen church, conducted by Hovland, Magnus Grønneberg was familiar with “Måne og Sol” [Moon and Sun]. On the new record, he sings this familiar children’s hymn with his daughter Hanna-Maria Grønneberg. The other songs on the album were new to him. They are all in the Norwegian hymn book, and many of them are very well known by church-goers and choir singers across Norway. They include “Hen over jord et pilegrimstog” [Across the earth a pilgrimage], “Vær sterk, min sjel” [Be strong, my soul], “Tårnhøye bølger” [Towering Waves] and “Se universets Herre” [See the Lord of the universe].

This is not the first time KKV has released music by Egil Hovland. In the early 1970s KKV recorded and released a number of the composer’s major church music works, such as “Allehelgensmesse” [All Saints Mass] and “Missa Verbi”.

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