50 years ago homosexuality was decriminalised in Norway. The events that took place at the Norwegian Parliament on April 21st 1972, are an important milestone in the fight for gay rights, but the battle was not won at that – and still isn’t.
– ‘When Brendan Graham sent me the lyrics to For Me, I immediately thought of all my friends in the Oslo fagottkor choir. Through the many years we have worked together, I’ve heard so many compelling stories and I want to dedicate the song to them’, says Norwegian composer and pianist, Tove Kragset, who wrote the music, and also arranged/produced and plays on the recording of For Me.
– ‘I wrote the lyric to be an expression of individual empowerment and left it open to be an anthem for diversity and recognition, whatever the cause – gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation…whether it be as a general or, individual expression of self-realisation and identity’, says lyricist, Brendan Graham.
Graham is the writer of the lyrics to You Raise Me Up, and both lyrics and music to Eurovision winners, Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids (Dublin, 1994) and The Voice (Oslo, 1996).
Bjarte Hjelmeland performs For Me with the Oslo fagottkor choir. He emphasizes the song’s current relevance in the challenges our world is facing: – ‘In times like these, music can uplift and bring us together. A song about standing up for oneself and fighting for one’s rights is a song I really want to sing!’ he states.
Hjelmeland’s statement is eagerly supported by board manager at the Oslo fagottkor choir, Andreas Birger Johansen: – ‘The Oslo fagottkor choir is a visible example of how privileged we are here in Norway. But the current situation in Europe reminds us of how quickly our freedom and rights can be taken from us, both as individuals and as a people’. This is a message we must always sing out loud’.
For Me was officially launched on April 21st, by Anette Trettebergstuen, Norwegian Minister of Culture and Equality, when premiered at a formal event at the Norwegian National Library, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the removal of Section 213 in the Norwegian Penal Code of 1902.