Famous bands and musicians from Norway: A list

Norway has a proud music history that includes everything from classical composers and violinists to pop and rock bands.

For many, the most prominent Norwegian musical export is black metal during the 1990s, but several artists have gained worldwide recognition for their music in several genres.

Among them is the pop group Aha which released one of the most iconic songs of the 80s. In this article, we take a look at some of the most famous Norwegian musicians and bands.

Edvard Grieg

Edvard Grieg is Norway’s most famous composer and pianist. He is also regarded as one of the most prominent composers of the romantic era in the 19th century.

He was born in Bergen in 1807 into a musical family. By the age of 15, his talent was recognized by prominent Norwegian violinist Ole Bull, which persuaded his parents to send him to study music at the Leipzig conservatory.

Despite serious health challenges, he graduated and went on to have a successful career spanning several decades from the 1860s to the early 1900s.

His interpretation and development of Norwegian folk music in his compositions brought the music of Norway to international consciousness. It also helped to develop a national identity which was a strong driving force to Norway gainings its independence from Sweden in 1905.

Some of his most famous works include “in the hall of the mountain king” and “Morning mood” composed for Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt.


Kyrre Gørvell-Dahl, better known by his stage name Kygo, is a Norwegian DJ, songwriter, and record producer.

Kygo started taking piano lessons at the age of six but did not pursue a career in music, opting instead to study business and finance at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

He did however continue playing piano and making music as a hobby. He gained popularity for creating EDM remixes of popular songs such as “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran and “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye.

This earned him a record contract and he released his first single “Epsilon” in 2013, followed by “Steal the show” in 2014 which gained international recognition and debuted on several charts worldwide.

Kygo became the first house music producer to perform at an Olympic ceremony in Rio in 2016. In March 2018, Billboard ranked Kygo 3rd on its 2018 ranking of dance musicians titled Billboard Dance 100. In 2018, he was ranked 32 on DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs of the world.


While A-ha as a band is a trio, Harket has been the frontman and face of the band ever since it was formed in 1982.

The band rose to prominence with the release of its album “hunting high and low” in 1985 which featured the hit singles “Take On Me” and “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.”.

The album peaked at number 1 in Norway, number 2 in the UK, and reached number 15 on the US Billboard chart. The band and Harket also earned a Grammy nomination for best new artist.

While the band continued to release albums that sold well in Norway and Europe, they failed to top, or even reach their early success. 

Despite this, their hit “take on me” remains one of the most popular hit songs of the 1980s. Also, Harket has been named a Knight First Class of the Order of St. Olav by King Harald for his services to Norwegian music and his international success.


Røyksopp is an electronic music duo from Tromsø, formed in 1998 by Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland.

The duo was introduced to each other through mutual friends and quickly learned that they shared a passion for electronic music. 

After experimenting with various forms of electronic music, they went their separate ways before getting back together and forming the group.

After experimenting with different genres of electronic music, the band solidified their place in the electronica scene with their 2001 debut album, Melody A.M. The album featured the single “So Easy” which became popular in the UK after being featured in a commercial.

Their early success was followed by several successful album releases which made the band increase its popularity throughout Europe as well as gain some recognition in the united states.

To date, the duo has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and won seven Spellemannprisen awards (Norwegian music awards).

Alan Walker

is a British-Norwegian DJ, YouTuber, and record producer. Born to a British father and a Norwegian mother in England, he moved to Norway at the age of 2.

Growing up, he gained an interest in computers, a hobby that led him to graphic design, and musical programming. 

Without any previous music experience, Walker taught himself how to compute music by watching YouTube tutorials based on music production.

He started producing his music on his laptop using FL Studio. In July 2012, he began pursuing his music production career and slowly began posting his music to YouTube and SoundCloud.

In 2014 he released the single “fade”. While it gained little attention after its initial release, The track gained attention after its re-release via the record label NoCopyrightSounds later the same year.

His burst to fame came when he released a remastered vocal version of “Fade” renamed to “faded”. The single rose up in the charts and topped the year-end charts in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden. 

It also shot up the charts on several music-streaming services including at the top of the iTunes charts in 33 countries, as well as entering the top 10 on Spotify Global Chart. The success led Walker to drop out of high school to pursue a career in music. 

After several successful single releases, Walker’s YouTube channel emerged as the most subscribed YouTube channel registered in Norway, with more than 40 million subscribers. He also had the most views from Norwegian creators with more than 10 billion views

Dimmu Borgir

Norway has been at the center of the black metal scene for years. One of the most influential bands of the genre is Dimmu Borgir.

The band was founded in Jessheim, just northeast of Oslo in 1993. The name is derived from Dimmuborgir, a volcanic formation in Iceland, the name of which means “dark cities” or “dark castles/fortresses” in Icelandic, Faroese, and Old Norse.

It released an EP the following year, which sold out within weeks, and the band followed it up with a full-length album  For All Tid (“For All Time” in English).

Due to their symphonic style of black metal, the band is often criticized for not being “true” black metal. However, it has made their music palatable to a wider audience making it one of the best-selling black metal bands of all time.


Turbonegro is a Norwegian rock band founded in Oslo in 1988. The band combines glam rock, punk rock, and hard rock into a self-described “deathpunk” musical style.

After several years in the underground scene, the band rose to prominence in the mid-1990s during which the band toured Europe, played several shows in the US, and released their 3rd studio album “ass cobra” in 1996.

Due to lead singer, Hank von Helvetes’s problems with drug abuse, the band was forced into a hiatus from 1998 to 2002. 

The band came out swinging and released 3 of its most successful albums, “Scandinavian leather” in 2003, “Party animals” in 2005, and “retox” in 2007, which reached several album charts in Scandinavia and Germany.

While the band lost its lead singer in 2011, the band is still active and the last album was released in 1998 with new lead singer Tony Sylvester.

Ole Bull

Ole Bull was a Norwegian-born Violinist and composer who is regarded as one of the greatest violinists of all time. 

Born in bergen in 1810 as the eldest of 10 children, Bull gained an interest in music from a young age. At the age of four or five, he could play all of the songs he had heard his mother play on the violin.

Despite his father wanting him to become a minister, Bull wanted to pursue a career in music. At age nine, he played the first violin in the orchestra of Bergen’s theatre and was a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

He later traveled to Oslo where he would become the director of the Musical Lyceum and the Theater Orchestra in 1828. Later Bull would go on to travel Europe, holding several concerts which earned him a huge fortune.

In the 1860s and 1870s, Bull went on several tours across the U.S., often accompanied by soprano Varian Hoffman, baritone Ignatz Pollak, and pianist Edward Hoffman.

Throughout his career, Bull was regarded as one of the greatest violinists of his time. As attested by Robert Schumann, one of the greatest composers of the romantic era who described Bull as “the greatest of all,”.

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Erik is the creator and editor of Planet Norway. Born in Trondheim and currently living in Oslo, Erik knows the ins and outs of Norwegian History, society, and culture. His idea for starting planet Norway came about when helping his foreign fiance to settle in Norway.