Norwegian artists drop problematic song / News / The Foreigner

Norwegian artists drop problematic song. Norway’s popular country-rock band Hellbillies has decided to stop playing a song containing the word “negro”. The group, which embarks on their 25th tour this weekend, is famous for singing in the dialect of the Hallingdal area in Buskerud County. Their music shows influences of traditional folk music, giving it a distinctive "Norwegian" flavour.

racism, music, entertainment, norway



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Norwegian artists drop problematic song

Published on Friday, 29th May, 2015 at 13:01 under the news category, by Tove Andersson.
Last Updated on 29th May 2015 at 14:56.

Norway’s popular country-rock band Hellbillies has decided to stop playing a song containing the word “negro”.

Hellbillies
"You just don't use that word anymore," one band member says about the song, which was not intended to be racist in its day.Hellbillies
Photo: Hellbillies


The group, which embarks on their 25th tour this weekend, is famous for singing in the dialect of the Hallingdal area in Buskerud County.

Their music shows influences of traditional folk music, giving it a distinctive "Norwegian" flavour.

In an interview on NRK’s Radio P4, brothers Aslag and Lars Håvard Haugen explained why they have cut “På Ål stasjon” (“At Ål Station”) from the repertoire.

“You just have to accept that you don’t use that word anymore,” they said.

The song is about the year 1965 when a country boy met a black man for the first time.

“Nobody reacted to the lyrics back then, but things change. There was never any racist intent,” commented Aslag and Lars.

Reactions on social media are unambiguous.

“I have a feeling that there are ethnic white Norwegians who feel offended on behalf of dark-skinned people. We would like some of those who are actually offended by it to comment and explain why a song based on an incident in 1965, written in 1996 and purely about the fascination of seeing a dark-skinned person, should be racist.”

The use of the word "negro" has been periodically debated in Norway since labour migration began in the 1960s.

New reprints of books have been altered, likewise children's songs. In Sweden Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking has also been debated, and new printings altered.

“We’ll never be playing that song again,” the Haugen brothers concluded.

Hellbillies had released thirteen studio albums, two live albums, and two live concert DVDs as of 2014.

The group has become one of Norway’s most popular ones, with more than 850,000 albums sold and 1,600 gigs played.



Published on Friday, 29th May, 2015 at 13:01 under the news category, by Tove Andersson.
Last updated on 29th May 2015 at 14:56.

This post has the following tags: racism, music, entertainment, norway.





  
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