• 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Flights from Norway to get cheaper in 2015
One of Norwegian's new Dreamliners arriving from New York at Stockholm Arlanda airport - Johan Nilsson / NTB Scanpix

Flights from Norway to get cheaper in 2015

Norway is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

Norway to trial football 'vanishing' spray
The foam spray helps football referees mark free-kicks to encourage fair play during games. Photo: Referee spraying vanishing spray Shutterstock

Norway to trial football 'vanishing' spray

The Football Association of Norway has announced on Friday the much talked about "vanishing" spray, used in the Brazil World Cup, will be in play during the Norwegian Championship semi-finals this month. READ  

Norwegian weather girl breaks world record
Presenter Eli Kari Gjengedal during her mammoth 33 hour feat. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

Norwegian weather girl breaks world record

Eli Kari Gjengedal set a new world record for continuous weather presenting on a Norwegian television channel on Thursday. READ  

Euro markets buoyant after Scotland 'No' vote
Scotland voted 'no' to independence. Photo: Waving Scotland and United Kingdom Flag Shutterstock

Euro markets buoyant after Scotland 'No' vote

The campaign for Scottish Independence, which was largely centred on economic viability, helped the European money markets have an upturn on Friday as the majority of Scotland voted 'no' in its referendum. READ  

Danish man posing as sex 'Monster' in Norway
A sex attacker from Denmark is posing online as an employee from Monster energy drinks. Photo:Davide Minazzi, Flickr

Danish man posing as sex 'Monster' in Norway

A man, previously jailed for sex offences in Denmark, is now in Norway trying to lure young girls by promising them fake jobs with the energy drink "Monster". READ  

Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende and Minister of Defence Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide at a press conference in connection with US's request for help in the war against IS. Photo: Terje Pedersen /

Norway to send military staff in fight against IS

Norway will send military personnel to help the US-led coalition defeat the terrorist group IS, the government confirmed on Thursday. READ  

Ole Gunnar Solskjær quits as Cardiff City boss
Ole Gunnar Solskjær quit as Cardiff City boss after a run of poor results. Photo: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda / NTB scanpix

Ole Gunnar Solskjær quits as Cardiff City boss

Norway's Ole Gunnar Solskjær has stepped down as Cardiff City manager after less than nine months in the job and a poor start to this year's season, the club announced on Thursday. READ  

Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
Jens Breivik at the press conference for the launch of his new book "Min skyld?". Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'

Jens Breivik, the father of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, revealed on Thursday his son is becoming more and more extreme in prison and fears he may never see him again. READ  

Solberg in stalemate over Russian chess match
Prime Minister Erna Solberg under pressure to miss the Sochi chess tournament. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Solberg in stalemate over Russian chess match

Prime Minister Erna Solberg has declined attending the Chess World Championship in Sochi this November, it was announced on Wednesday. READ  

Syrian to head Norway's Worker Youth League
Syrian-born Mani Hussaini will soon be inaugurated as leader of Workers Youth League in Norway. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

Syrian to head Norway's Worker Youth League

A Syrian-born immigrant is to become the next leader of Norway's Workers' Youth League, in an ironic twist for Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right nationalist who shot dead scores of the movement's members in 2011. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
Features
Meet Norway's raining kings of fashion
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
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
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

339
jobs available