I am sure that there are many who cannot have failed to hear about the events in Norway Friday last week, on 22 July. As a Norwegian citizen, I am deeply shocked and horrified by what transpired on that day; first the explosion in the government quarters in central Oslo and then the massacre on the inland island of Utøya, less than an hour from Oslo, killing youngsters in their teens and twenties. With thousands of others, my wife and I took part in a procession in my hometown yesterday, with fellow citizens and visitors and anybody who wanted to take part in commemoration of the dead and those missing and in extending sympathies towards their parents and relatives. We were carrying white roses from our own garden, many were carrying torches.
I have been thinking about a way this blog could contribute towards taking a stand against the inhumanity displayed by such horrific acts. I have written in a previous post, the Billy Bang Vietnam Aftermath band, that music can have a therapeutic function in coming to terms with and processing traumas derived from witnessing and taking parts in gruesome acts, particularly in wartime. I do also think that music can promote spiritual and humanist values, whether religious or secular, and that we have in a small way done that on this blog.
"Amazing Grace" is to me one of the most beautfiful tunes there are, and this version is my favourite among those I've heard. Some may remember it as the signature tune of Radio Geronimo which used to broadcast round about 1970-1971 and I sometimes tuned in on the old mediumwave at midnight to listen to the three-hour show. Years later, I remembered the tune during a visit to London and found it in a record shop, Rock On, in Camden Town, on Old Kentish Road. The shop is long gone, but I've kept the record and thought I share it with you all. Here it is.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, the poem "Til ungdommen" (To the youth) by Nordahl Grieg has become something of a national anthem, performed at several official functions in the last few days and also at the one we attended. Here is the text and an English translation:
and here is the song: