The Last Hurrah!! is the project of Norwegian guitarist HP Gundersen plus a jamboree of international players and singers. Based in Bergen in western Norway, Gundersen has a long history in Norwegian music and beyond. As a producer he discovered and nurtured the career of Sondre Lerche, one of Norway’s most successful international exports. He has produced over 50 albums - including Tim Rose´s final album American Son.
An encounter with a Gambian kora-playing folk musician a few years ago was life-altering and, in his own words, took him to a new level of musical understanding. Afterwards he would sit with his guitar and play the same chord for hours, lost in a sonic whirl that induced deep meditation or even sleep. He disciplined himself to stay on one note, but found that it finally made him hear the note for the first time. ‘I shed twenty years of rust,’ he says.
In 2011, their cover of Pink Floyd’s “impossible” ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ on the free Mojo tribute CD Return To The Dark Side Of The Moon drew high praise from readers. Their previous album, Spiritual Non-Believers, was voted album of the year in VG, Norway’s most popular newspaper; The Wire called it ‘maddeningly well executed’ and it received great reviews from all quarters.
HP Gundersen grew up in the 1960s, tuning in to European radio stations and having his mind blown by the sparkling melodies of the decade’s pop music, like The Byrds and The Beatles. Notably, these two groups were among the first to absorb Eastern influences, as Gundersen has done in The Last Hurrah!!. Chinese guzheng (zither) resonates with pastoral flutes, Hawaiian guitars and the plangent tones of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle. Listening to the repetitive pluckings of the opener, ‘The Rush’, you can’t help but think of Steve Reich’s solo guitar trance-out Electric Counterpoint; elsewhere you’ll hear echoes of Don Cherry’s multicultural visions, the soaring harmonies of Rubber Soul-era Beatles, and the magical open tunings of folk-rockers like David Crosby and Stephen Stills and Davy Graham. Country music meets raga meets psychedelic sugar rush.