1998 – 1999

In 1999 the radio show “Barnetimen” (Children’s Hour) of NRK celebrated an increcible 75 years. It had been on the air each Saturday afternoon since 1924. Having been himself a contributor to the show, Sigbjørn Nedland was honored to be asked to put together an album of new recordings of songs from the long history of the children’s show. The resulting CD contained contributions from 15 Norwegian artists.

Nedland started by plunging into the rich source of songs that had been part of the history of the radio show. He picked a number of songs, and contacted a carefully selected group of artists and challenged them to make their own contemporary versions of the old songs. It turned out that all the artists felt a strong connection to “Barnetimen” from their own childhood, and they were eager to participate.

The first edition of “Barnetimen” went on the air in December 1924, and when NRK decided to discontinue the series in 2010, it had set an almost unbeatable record, being the oldest radio program in the world with an unbroken record of weekly editions. A survey from the 1950s shows that an amazing 98% of children in Norway listened to “Barnetimen” in that decade!

Above, from left: The presenters of “Barnetimen” were called “onkel” (uncle). Drawing of the first uncle: Carl Bødtker in 1924. In the 1930s Einar Schibbye was a very popular presenter, and after World War II Lauritz Johnson became the “Barnetime-uncle” of everyone in Norway for decades. The show always featured radio drama for children, and “Stompa” was a very popular drama series.

Left: World famous author Jo Nesbø (The Snowman, Headhunters) may well have got his first inspiration as a writer from “Barnetimen”. It introduced children to radio drama, and it also inspired end encouraged children to write their own stories. In any case, he responded positively and ended up with contributing two songs to the album. An international audience may not know this, but in Norway he is also a famous artist with many chart hits.

Above: Some of the other artists participating on the album: Hellbillies, Claudia Scott, Babel Fish & Prepple Houmb.

The CD “Broom Broom” consists of 15 songs from Norwegian contemporary artists who have a personal relationship to the old songs. They have all put in their best efforts to make these songs relevant for new generations, and to update their presentation, but with respect for their uniqueness and how they constitute a rich heritage of Norwegian children’s culture. For project leader and producer Sigbjørn Nedland this was especially important, as he was producer/presenter for “Barnetimen” for about a year in the late 1970s.