Seminar: The Soundtrack of a Nation - Nobel Peace Center - Nobel Peace Center

Nobel Peace Center


  1. Photo: Brett Rubin, Kristina Funkeson
  2. Photo: private,, Johannes Granseth
  3. Photo: Oslo World Music Festival

Seminar: The Soundtrack of a Nation

29 October 2014 17.00–19.00

The theme for this year’s seminar collaboration between Oslo World Music Festival and the Nobel Peace Center is looking for the sonic landscape that identifies a nation. How does music engage people today? Can music be said to have been a catalyst for the political events in South Africa, North Africa and the Middle East?

Seminar Program:

Part 1:
Conversation between musician Hugh Masekela and Ole Reitov from Freemuse.

Part 2:
Conversation between Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Mayssa Issa, Tshawe Baqwa and Khaled Yassine. Moderated by Cecilie Hellestveit from International Law And Policy Institute (ILIPI).

Free entry.

Music can mobilize and engage large crowds and contribute to social and political change. Music can survive wars and oppression. Music can give us a sense of belonging. Music can form part of nation building. Internet and social media have become the most important arenas where people meet, express their opinions and share music in countries where freedom of speech is threatened.

In 2014, Norway celebrated its constitutional bicentenary by focusing on democracy, human rights, justice, freedom of expression and integration, values that also reflect the activities at Oslo World and the Nobel Peace Center.

People in movement, who bring with them their culture, identity and music on their journey, also create the soundtrack of a nation. New expressions are created and old traditions are preserved and developed.

“If the rebellion had a soundtrack, it would be the sound of Skype messages appearing on laptops, iPads and smart phones that glow in the dark” journalist Kristin Solberg wrote in Aftenposten last winter; she was describing the war in Syria.

Internet, smart phones and social media did not exist when Nelson Mandela began his life-long struggle for freedom in South Africa, music however did. When Mandela was imprisoned, musicians like Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba were forced into exile. Both within and outside South Africa, the struggle against apartheid was strengthened through music. The nation’s soundtrack was created.

South Africa’s musical veteran Hugh Masekela will be attending the seminar. The 75-year-old trumpeter and multi-talent has performed in numerous musical constellations and collaborated with the likes of Paul Simon, Fela Kuti and Herb Alpert, and was an important cultural voice in the struggle against the apartheid regime.

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