Photo: Torbjørn Svanevik.Photo: Torbjørn Svanevik

Norwegian artist Moddi playing in the residence

In honor of Ankara Nordic Music Festival, H.E. ambassador Vegard Ellefsen invited to a reception in his home December 1. Guests of honor were Norwegian artists Pål Moddi Knutsen and Katrine Schiøtt.

Together with his co-singer and cellist Katrine Schiøtt, Pål Moddi Knutsen, or simply Moddi, was very happy to be in Ankara for the first time. They have previously had great success with a large fanbase in Istanbul and were hoping for a similar enthusiasm in Ankara. To give a taste of the concert they were playing the following day, Moddi wanted to present and play three songs from his newest album “Unsongs”. The album consists of songs that have, at one stage, been banned, censored or silenced in countries like Israel, the US, Great Britain and even Norway! Although Moddi doesn’t necessarily agree with the lyrics he sings, he made this album to lend his voice to those that has been refused to use theirs.


The first song they played is the most controversial song on their album and is called “A Matter of Habit”, originally written by Israeli rock star Izhar Ashdot. The lyrics are based on first-hand testimonies from soldiers who have served the Israeli army. They speak about how easily occupation becomes the new normal - how, with time, the role as oppressor becomes a routine. Moddi kept the theme of soldiers and war as he presented the song “Army Dreamers” by Kate Bush, that was banned from BBC radio during the Gulf War.

Last but not least was the song that had made the strongest impression on Moddi in his research on forbidden songs: “Where is my Vietnam” was written by Việt Khang after witnessing brutal treatment of protestors in his country. Only weeks after uploading his song to Youtube, he was arrested and sentenced to 4 years in prison and 3 years in house arrest. While Khang was in prison, his wife filed for divorce and left together with their 5-year-old son. When he was released, Khang had no family, no job and no home, and had to serve the period of house arrest in his mother’s place.

Although many of the listeners had never heard about Moddi before, he did a strong impression on them with his powerful lyrics. The ambassador was very impressed with their performance and felt thankful that Katrine and Moddi took the time to attend the reception.

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