“Fight Apathy” is a double CD organised by Nedland Kultur for Christianssands Protestfesival, a festival that has been taking place since 1999 in Kristiansand, Norway. The aim of the festival is to fight against apathy and indifference, and to encourage commitment, tolerance and action.

Protest songs.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Protest Fesvial, festival director Svein Inge Olsen challenged some of Norway’s top music journalists in the major national media to vote for their favorite protest songs of all time. The resulting list contained 100 songs, and the top 20 are found on the “Fight Apathy” album. In addition to new versions of these 20 classic protest songs by a combination of top Norwegian and international artists, the album also contains some new compositions and versions of songs by artists who have been especially supportive of the Protest Festival and who support the ideals of the festival.

Two of the top 20 protest songs on the album are performed by the original artists – but in new versions: Kris Kristofferson’s own “Don’t Let The Bastards (Get You Down)” is included in a live version recorded by NRK (Norwegian Broadcastsing Corporation) during a concert at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo. Another classic, and one of the highlights of the album is “Eve of Destruction”, originally recorded in 1965 by Barry McGuire. On “Fight Apathy” he contributed a new and fresh version of the song, recorded with two legendary co-musicians: Roger McGuinn (from the Byrds) and Mick Fleetwood (from Fleetwood Mac). Other famous international artists on the album include Delbert McClinton, who performs a beautiful song by Stephem Bruton: “Getting Over You”, former Flying Burrito Brothers gutiarist John Beland, who interprets Woody Guthries “This Land Is Your Land”, and NAMA Awards winner and Native American artist Yolanda Martinez, who contributes her own song “America”.

From left: Kris Kristofferson, Barry McGuire. Roger McGuinn, Mick Fleetwood, Capital X &  Delbert McClinton, John Beland, Yolanda Martinez

The Norwegian artists on the album reflect the wide variety of styles and music forms present in today’s Norway. Some of the artists, like Åge Aleksandersen, Anne Grete Preus, Jonas Fjeld and Jan Eggum have belonged to the best known and most beloved artists of the country for decades. Others, like Nora Noor, Haddy Njie and Tuva Syvertsen are newer stars with very distinctive profiles and music styles, ranging from soul to African influences to Norweginan traditional music. Even the Norwegian winner with the highest score ever in the Eurovision Song Contest, Alexander Rybak is contributing – as well as some new and fairly unknown artists. All of the groups and artists performing the top 20 protest songs were selected because of their ability to interpret the songs in a personal and convincing way. Some of them perform the song in the original language, while some prefer Norwegian translations. Sigbjørn Nedland translated some of the songs specially for this project, like Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, sung in Norwegian by Jonas Fjeld with members of Chatham County Line and Secret Garden. A totally different approach was made with the famous Country Joe & The Fish hit “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag”, which in Nedland and singer Stein J. Ellysef Olsen’s Norwegian version is taken out of the 1960’s Vietnam War, and re-located to Afghanistan anno 2009, under the new name “ISAF Rag”.

From top left: Anne Grete Preus, Åge Aleksandersen, Tuva Syvertsen, Noora Noor