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Queen Sonja at the Mela Festival

On Friday, Her Majesty The Queen attended the opening of the Mela Festival in Oslo City Hall. Several of the pieces performed during the opening were based on the works of Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland, in honour of the bicentennial celebration of his birth.


On commission from the festival organisers, Wergeland’s poems were set to music and performed by Pakistani singer and composer Rafaqat Ali Khan together with Norwegian musicians. The works were sung in the original Norwegian and in Punjabi and Urdu. The recreations into Punjabi and Urdu were the work of renowned Pakistani lyricist Massod Munawer.

The opening of the festival also included another commissioned work, “EYE3D”, a collaborative project between choreographer Ella Christina Fiskum and dancer Sudesh Adhana. The piece combined elements of modern dance, acrobatics and ballet in a dialogue with film music and song. The theme reflects Wergeland’s epic poem, Creation, Humanity and the Messiah which placed love in the context of the cosmos.

The dance troupe Palestinian Roots from the Rashedieh refugee camp in southern Lebanon also performed featuring young dancers between the ages of 13-19. The troupe is very popular in Lebanon, and performs regularly both nationally and internationally.

Songwriter and entertainer Odd Børretzen was among the first Norwegians to write songs reflecting over how Norwegian society has met its growing immigrant population. Børretzen performed his own texts during the Mela opening, in collaboration with Lars Martin Myhre.


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