Norwegian singer Songwriter Pål Moddi Knutsen, best known as Moddi is set to release his fourth studio album in September titled Unsongs. All of the songs featured on the album have at some stage been censored, banned or silenced and by silenced his means “as mild as an airplay ban and as brutal as murder.”
Songs featured include Eli Geva, a song that he discovered in 2014 through Norwegian folk singer Birgitte Grimstad who wrote to him after he cancelled his concert in Tel Aviv in protest against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
The song is about an officer serving in the Israeli Defence Force. During the siege of Beirut in 1982, he refused to lead his troops into the city because of what he termed the “excessive killing of civilians”. Shortly after he was dismissed from the army, and remains to this day a name associated with insubordination in the IDF.
Also featured on the album is Punk Prayer by Pussy Riot. This was the song they sung when they stormed a Moscow cathedral. The video (see below) was filmed in Grense Jakobselv, Norway, “as close to the Russian border as he could get.” The chapel he’s sat outside is King Oscar II Chapel which was built in 1869 in order to mark the Norway-Russia border.
Unsongs is released on 16th September and contains translated and reinterpreted music from countries as different as Russia, Mexico, Palestine, Norway and England with Kate Bush‘s Army dreamers which was later banned by the BBC during the Gulf War along with many other songs with an anti-war sentiment. Here’s a reminder…
Many of the writers who penned the songs are still imprisoned or exiled. Some were killed, like the Chilean folk legend Víctor Jara and the Algerian rebel singer Lounès Matoub.
From a list of more than 400 songs he managed to remarkably narrow it down to 12 songs for the album. In his re-working and translation of those songs his only rule was that the element of the song which caused it to be suppressed had to remain intact, even when translated into English and with a different arrangement and melody.
It’s one that we’re really looking forward to hearing.
01. June Fourth 1989: From the Sahttered Pieces of a Stone It Begins
02. A Matter of Habit
03. Punk Prayer
04. Open Letter
05. Army Dreamers
06. The Our Worker
07. Parrot, Goat and Rooster
08. The Shaman and the Thief
09. Eli Geva
10. Strange Fruit
11. Where is my Vietnam?
12. Oh My Father, I Am Joseph
Order it here: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/moddi
Photo Credit: Jørgen Nordby