• Norway's news in English
 

UN censors Norwegian girls' despot song: report

Published: 02 Jul 2012 16:01 GMT+02:00

The 46 members of the Norwegian Girls Choir had long looked forward to performing their song about war and peace at the General Assembly Hall, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

But the girls, aged 12 to 19, never got to realize their ambition after the organizers of the Rhythms of One World Festival took fright on hearing the choir sound-check.

As conductor Anne Karin Sundal-Ask worked out some of the details for the stage show with a lighting technician, the choir shrieked out the names of infamous tyrants from Hitler and Mussolini to Quisling, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, Tito, Maria Antoinette and Papa Doc.

“The mood changed quickly at that point and they wanted a list of all the names,” Sundal Ask told the newspaper.

The choir leader said she was willing to compromise and remove some of the names but the organizers at the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation eventually told her the girls were not going to be allowed to perform the piece.

“They said the UN wouldn’t sanction it,” said Sundal Ask.

The choir instead sang its folk music repertoire, but having to resort to the fallback plan left a bitter taste for the girls, the composer and the conductor.

“This is freedom of speech, and the piece is about war and peace,” said Sundal Ask.

“It’s a very unifying piece. It doesn’t feel good to be censored or to not be allowed express oneself artistically.”

With its ultimate message of peace, the conductor said it was “absurd” for the piece to be to be kept out of the UN headquarters.  

Written specifically for the Norwegian Girls Choir, the piece has been performed all over the world since winning a competition in Japan five years ago.

Composer Maja Ratkje said she was shocked that the piece had been struck off the programme in New York.

“As far as I’m aware, this is the first time my art has been censored,” she said.

The Norwegian Girls Choir performing the piece, Ro Uro, in Trondheim, 2009.

NTB/The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Norway could be Europe's 'green battery'
A dam in Norway managed by the state-owned power company Statkraft: Photo: Google Photos/Statkraft

Norway could be Europe's 'green battery'

Norway could become the “green battery of Europe” by using its hydropower plants to provide instant extra electricity if production from wind and solar power sources in other countries fade. READ  

Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin
FIFA President Sepp Blatter shakes hands with Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, during the Preliminary Draw on Saturday. Photo: Fifa/Getty Images

Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin has called for Sepp Blatter, the scandal-hit head of the international football body Fifa, to get the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in international sport. READ  

The Local List
The oddest TripAdvisor comments about Norway
The truly amazing Preikestolen. Photo: JurrianH

The oddest TripAdvisor comments about Norway

Norway plays host to around 5m tourists every year. They’re attracted by the sensational scenery, the wonderful cities, the culture and the happy Norwegians. But not everyone who visits finds Norway quite so charming. READ  

Oslo bishop - ‘I will not marry same-sex couples’
Per Arne Dahl. Photo: Trond Reidat Teigen / NTB Scanpix

Oslo bishop - ‘I will not marry same-sex couples’

Per Arne Dahl, the newest of Oslo’s 12 bishops, told the Norwegian newspaper, Tønsbergs Blad on Monday, that he would not officiate at gay or lesbian weddings. READ  

Norway makes world record ice cream cone
Photo: Hennig Olsen

Norway makes world record ice cream cone

Norwegian ice-cream maker, Hennig Olsen, unveiled the world’s largest-ever ice cream cone in front of 9,000 people at the start of Sunday’s Tall Ships Race at Kristianstad. READ  

Despite Netflix blow Lilyhammer ‘not dead’
Steven Van Zandt, star of Lilyhammer. Photo: Vida Ruud / NTB scanpix

Despite Netflix blow Lilyhammer ‘not dead’

TV giant Netflix confirmed on Thursday that it won’t be making any more episodes of the popular TV series Lilyhammer starring Steven Van Zandt, although Petter Wallace of co-producer NRK has claimed that Netflix merely represents “an investor who’s withdrawing.” READ  

Norwegian man visited in nursing home by pony
Bolla visiting Karl Holmen. Photo: Sarah Holmen

Norwegian man visited in nursing home by pony

89-year-old Karl Holmen was sad that he was too unwell to visit the new foal born to his granddaughter’s Susan's horse – but Susan devised a plan to cheer him up. READ  

Three Danes found dead in Norwegian park
Swedish and Norwegian rescue workers found the three Danes on Thursday. Photo: NTB / scanpix

Three Danes found dead in Norwegian park

Three Danish citizens were found dead late on Thursday in Rogen Lake on the Swedish-Norwegian border. READ  

Liberals propose end of dual citizenship ban
Sveinung Rotevatn of the Liberal Party. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Liberals propose end of dual citizenship ban

Sveinung Rotevatn, a Liberal member of the employment and social affairs committee, told NRK on Wednesday that the Liberals, one of the government’s two support parties in Parliament, want to make it easier for foreigners who have settled in Norway to achieve dual citizenship. READ  

Queen Sonja comes to aid of Norwegian teens
Queen Sonja. Photo: Lisa Åserud

Queen Sonja comes to aid of Norwegian teens

Two teenagers who came to the aid of an injured girl off the island of Tjøme this week after the girl fell off a boat, were offered assistance by Queen Sonja who was spending her summer holidays at her family’s vacation home nearby. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Experts baffled by freak downpour in Norway
Culture
VIDEO: Norway artist's naked tree stunt goes awry
National
Dude, where's my house? Avalanche smashes Norway farmhouse
Health
Norway scientists find secret behind gluten intolerance
National
VIDEO: Have you seen this jet ski blunder at a Malmö hotel opening?
National
Oslo is the crystal meth capital of Europe
Sport
VIDEO: Man in Norway catches fish too big for boat
International
'Snowden could come to Norway to collect prize'
Technology
Oslo builds world's first bumblebee highway
Culture
World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo
Norway's men soon to be among Europe's fattest
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,224
jobs available