MEET TODD & KAREN. THEY LOVE THE DIVINE COMEDY. THE KINKS. MONTY PYTHON. AND EVEN THE BEACH BOYS.
TODD & KAREN are a Norwegian-Irish pop duet comprised of Øyvind Berge from Norway and Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl from Ireland.
Think, The Divine Comedy with a soupçon of Monty Python, blended with The Kinks and you won’t even be close – but you’ll certainly be on the way to understanding their 60s tinged, quirky-pop output.
And current single, ‘Norwegian Summer,’ sees Cork-native Ina take the lead vocals to deliver a Bossa nova style tune about the notoriously short Scandinavian summertime.
“’Norwegian Summer’ came about when we were doing string overdubs on a track called, ‘Cosmo Crowd,’ this ELO/Beatles-esque, Oasis inspired track of ours, currently our most streamed song,” said Berge.
“We just suddenly had this very simple sounding, yet intriguing melody line. It was a sunny day in early spring 2022, and the snow was finally giving way, and we just suddenly had the phrase, ‘And here’s another, Norwegian Summer,’ and spun from there. But, being accustomed to these climes, we suddenly realised that the rain – or even snow – won’t be far off.
“It kind of reminded us a bit of The Beatles ‘Getting Better’ – without comparing ourselves to them – but you know, how they sing, ‘It’s getting better all the time – it couldn’t get much worse!’ So that’s kind of how it came about.
The duo met in their roles as teachers at an IB school in Kongsberg, Norway.
“We started making some musical vignettes together to celebrate colleagues’ birthdays, and from there the idea to take it a bit further emerged as we found we had a lot of similar tastes and references in music, and pop culture as a whole,” adds Berge.
“And for the rest of the year, we’ve got a couple of more singles in the pipeline.
“A funky, pop number entitled, ‘Juicy Gossip From The Mothership,’ hopefully out in September, and a Beatles-esque, Beach Boys meets The Divine Comedy song called, ‘The Rutherfords,’ for the end of the year.
“It’s important to us that every release has a unique feel yet retains that unmistakable, ‘Todd & Karen flavour.
“Also, we just found out a quite hip, pop website in Norway has named ‘Norwegian Summer’ among the best Norwegian songs of 2023 so far, among names like Savoy and Susanne Sundfør.”
Todd & Karen online: