Unsongs is a collection of songs that have, at one stage, been banned, censored or silenced. The attempts to suppress them were as mild as an airplay ban and as brutal as murder.
The idea for the album came when I learned about officer Eli Geva, who refused to lead his forces into Beirut during the Lebanon war in 1982. The song about Eli Geva, sung by the famous Norwegian songstress Birgitte Grimstad, had never been released due to being ‘too provocative at the time’.
I was amazed to discover that one short song could convey so much history – and still be unheard. Fired with inspiration, I started looking for similar stories, banned and silenced songs from around the world, in hope that I might find other voices that deserved to be heard.
The result of this process is Unsongs. The new album contains translated and reinterpreted music from countries as different as Russia, Mexico, Palestine, Norway and England. 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.
Unsongs will be released in September 2016. You can pre-order the album here.