1998 – 1999

In 1999 “Barnetimen” (“The Children’s Hour”) celebrated an incredible 75 years on the air – every Saturday since 1924! – on Norwegian radio. Sigbjørn Nedland, himself a former contributor to this classic radio show for children, was asked to help celebrate the anniversary with an album of children’s songs in new interpretations. The resulting CD featured 15 current Norwegian artists.

The project started with a plunge into the rich source of the songs had been introduced to the Norwegian audience through this popular Saturday show for children. Nedland picked a number of songs, and targeted several Norwegian artists, challenging them to make their own contemporary versions of the old songs. The response was overwhelming. Every single artist had a personal relationship to this radio show, and they were very highly motivated to participate. The result was a CD of 14 songs which are sounding fresh and new, but that are also arousing fond memories for Norwegian radio listeners.

“Barnetimen” was broadcast every Saturday from December 1924,and when NRK discontinuet the series in 2010, it had set an almost unbeatable record of being the longest continually running radio program in the world. In the 1950s, 98% of Norwegian children listened to the show!

Above from left: Drawing of the first host of the Children’s Hour: Carl Bødtker. The hosts of the show were called “uncles”. In the 1930s Einar Schibbye was a popular host, and after World War II Lauritz Johnson was an institution as host of the show for several decades. The show also featured radio plays for children, most popular was the “Stompa” series.

Left: Jo Nesbø, world famous author (The Snow Man, Headhunters + +), may have had his first literary inspiration from “Barnetimen”, which always featured radio drama, and which also inspired children to write their own stories. In any case, he contributed two songs to the 75 years celebration album.

Some of the other aritst who participated: Above from left: Helbillies, Claudia Scott, Babel Fish, Prepple Houmb.

Most of the tracks on the album was recorded in NRK Studio 20 in Oslo, at the time a state-of-the-art studio with ample possibilities for recording and mixing. Some of the artists came with more or less finished recordings from other studios, finishing and mixing at NRK. The new versions of well known children’s songs on the album injected new life and contemporary presence to songs that so many Norwegians know from childhood.