• Norway edition
 
UN censors Norwegian girls' despot song: report

UN censors Norwegian girls' despot song: report

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish terror expert slams Norway terror alert
Information or propaganda? Statsbygg put up a poster about the terror incidents on the 22nd of July 2011 and plans for the work on the damaged government buildings. Photo: Berit Roald / Scanpix

Swedish terror expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism researcher has blasted Norway's handling of its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total intelligence failure". READ  

Norway set to reduce terror alert
Jon Ståle Stamnes, Assistant National Police Commissioner at The Norwegian Police Directorate. Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Norway set to reduce terror alert

Norway's terror alert level will be reduced from Tuesday, but security will still be somewhat tighter than normal, police chiefs said on Monday. READ  

Security fears disrupt Norway soccer cup
Prime Minister Erna Solberg visits Norway Cup on Ekebergsletta, Oslo. She poses with players from Norway and Malawi. Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Security fears disrupt Norway soccer cup

The world's biggest football tournament opened in Norway on Sunday, amid fears the current terror threat may mar the sporting spectacle. READ  

US or Israel 'behind terror': Islamic leader
Ubaydullah Maroof Hussain. Photo: Thomas Winje Øijord / NTB scanpix

US or Israel 'behind terror': Islamic leader

Muslims in Syria do not understand why Norway is under a terror alert and it is likely propaganda to distract from the troubles in Gaza, says an Islamic spokesperson living in Oslo. READ  

Police know group behind terror threats
Armed police patrolling Oslo Central Train Station on Friday. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Police know group behind terror threats

Police in Norway have confirmed on Sunday they know who are behind the terror threats which have disrupted the country, but not where the group is hiding. READ  

Rape and violence mar Norwegian music festival

Rape and violence mar Norwegian music festival

Police charged one person for rape and are investigating four other sex attacks at a top music festival in Norway over the weekend. READ  

Terror threat forces Bergen airspace closure
Tourists in central Bergen pictured in May 2014. Photo: The Local

Terror threat forces Bergen airspace closure

Norway closed part of the airspace over its second city Bergen and tightened border checks on Saturday, police said, two days after the country upped security following a terror alert. READ  

Jewish museums close after terror alert
The synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Det Mosaike Trossamfund

Jewish museums close after terror alert

Jewish museums in Norway remain closed to the public on Saturday as Norway steps up security following the announcement of a possible imminent terrorist attack by jihadists coming from Syria. READ  

Terror attack feared 'next Monday': TV2
Norwegian PM Erna Solberg and her government fear imminent terror attack. Photo: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Terror attack feared 'next Monday': TV2

Terrorists are planning to launch an attack on Norway on Monday of next week, government sources are reported to have said on Friday. READ  

Statoil tightens security amid terror threat
Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Statoil tightens security amid terror threat

Statoil, Norway's biggest energy company, has 'increased' security after this week's terror warning announcement, said the firm's CEO on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Sport
Norway fan wins big on Suarez bite bet
National
Solberg 'most chatty' leader on Twitter
Culture
British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
International
Top Norway lawyers back Snowden Nobel
Society
Buy your own Viking warship for just €160,000
Politics
Norway PM beats Candy Crush level 300
Culture
Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish
International
Cold bathing craze leads to teen death
Society
Sweden threatens to 'annex' the ostehøvel
National
Baby squirrels survive cat attack
Society
Norway's 'cushy' prisons spurring foreign cons
National
Half Norwegians overweight: Gates study
International
VIDEO: Jagland doing press-ups in Donetsk
Business & Money
Striking Norway barbers: 'Let your hair grow'
Culture
Rihanna 'hard to please', Norway's Stargate reveal
International
What do Norwegians really think of Swedes?
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

353
jobs available