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Moddi & Trondheimsolistene

Fragile protest songs with a Northern twist

Moddi‘s upcoming album project is the culmination of Pål Moddi Knutsen’s political project. The singer-songwriter’s fourth full-length album, supposed to be released in September, consists of translated and reconstructed songs written by exiled, imprisoned and murdered musicians from all around the globe. Those who have sacrificed everything for the freedom of expression, a human right that naturally includes the arts.

It’s not the first time the 28-year-old is taking a stand through his music. In addition to the inclusion of gorgeous Krokstav-emne on the Natur & Ungdom’s compilation for an oil-free Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja (where he grew up), an involvement in environmental issues seem to be brewing under the surface on all of Knutsen’s releases. This is most obvious on the predecessor Kæm va du?, his sole record in Norwegian, so far.

Only on one occasion has Moddi imposed censorship on himself. Paradoxically, that was not at at the expense of his political commitment. Quite the contrary: In 2014, he cancelled a concert in Tel Aviv as part of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. “I asked myself if silence can be more powerful than music,” he told a Norwegian newspaper.

Now he breaks the silence. The basis for the album is the song Eli Geva originally performed by Birgitte Grimstad, about an Israeli officer with the same name, who left his post in protest of the 1982 Lebanon War. But Moddi has not forgotten his homeland’s dark past: The album opens with a song about the Norwegian colonization of Lapland in the 19th century.

Mostly, music speaks louder than silence.

Text: Kim Klev

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