Transit Radio is a podcast radio station recorded at reception centers for asylum Seekers in Norway. The recordings are from workshops with asylum-seekers led by professional musicians. In addition there will be interviews with asylum seekers about what music they play while in transit and about what it means to them.

What we want to achieve with this radio station is to inspire a sense of belonging in asylum seekers to a large community of expatriates and to music. Although away from home, they are not alone. We hope to invite refugees into the idea that music and culture are arenas to make your protest heard. It is a way to communicate your feelings, make your position known, for freedom of expression and appreciation of music. We also hope that Norwegians will listen in and learn to appreciate the breadth of experience that life as an asylum seeker can be.

Partners in this project are the musicians Abazar Hamid, Khaled Harara and Sheldon George Blackman. Peter Daatland at Frekvens is editor. Hilde Maisey is general manager at Transnational Arts Production (TrAP) and this radio´s managing editor.

Transit Radio is a project for people in different stages of transit. We hope to build this larger project that will include recordings from refugee camps from around the world. We are seeking partners for this, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you want to join us.

Contributors

Abazar A. Bagi Hamid

started singing for peace in Sudan at an early age, and formed his first band, Balsam, at university. In 1997, he became well-known at regional level when he joined IGD ELGLAD, and in 2005, he quit his job as an architect to start his solo career, launching the project Rainbow Songs. The project brought together musicians from across Sudan, aiming to slip lyrics about Human Rights and dignity past the music monitoring committee.

In 2006 he worked with various organizations training traditional Arab Hakama singers – colloquially called Janjaweed singers – in Darfur. The idea behind the project was to convince the Hakama singers to take a more active part in the peace movement.

Hamid released his first solo album, Sabahak Rabah (Good Morning Home) in 2007 but experienced increasing censorship in his home country. Songs dealing with the social and political issues riding Sudan were especially scrutinized, and after severe censorship and verbal threats, Abazar chose exile and moved to Cairo in 2008.

In 2009 he established the project Democratizing Music in collaboration with other Sudanese and Egyptian musicians, as a forum to share resources rather than fighting each other. The project yielded several events and performances, and his song Peace to Darfur which had previously been censored in Sudan, was included and released as part of the Listen to the Banned CD.

Hilde Ghosh Maisey

is the general manager of Transnational Arts Production (TrAP), an independent art production company with an aim to increase diversity in Norwegian arts and culture. Previously she has worked as a photographer and founded an institute for applied conceptual art. Maisey has chaired FFF, the national organization for photographers and camera based artists in Norway and Fotogalleriet. Maisey has taught photography at Bergen National Academy of the Arts and at Elvebakken Upper Secondary School. She has written Handbook of Political Influence, that was part of Akershus Art Centre celebration of the Norwegian Constitution Bicentennial.

Khaled Harara

was born 1987 in Yemen. He is a renowned Palestinian hip-hop artist who has lived as a refugee in Gaza. His texts discuss the political situation in Palestine from a humanitarian and social perspective and criticize the lack of freedom of expression and the suffering in Palestine under the Hamas rule.

In Gaza, Khaled Harara was the first to organize hip hop workshops for youth, focusing on writing texts and on different ways of expressing oneself. The workshops were banned, just like his group Palestinian Unit and the artist organization that he was a member of.

As a result of his artistic expression, and his participation as a soldier of the PLO forces before Hamas took control of Gaza, Harara is considered an enemy of the state. More than once, he has been to prison, tortured and subject to rough interrogations, and several of his friends have been killed or injured in fights against Hamas.

Khaled Harara was Gothenburg City of Refuge's guest writer from 2013 to 2015. During his stay in Gothenburg Khaled Harara has taken part in several public events, debates and workshops. He released two new singles with the jazz rock band Makten & Härligheten in May 2015.

Monirah Hashemi

was born in Iran to Afghan parents in migration in 1985, where she lived for 19 years. She is a founder of Simorgh Film Association of Culture and Art (SFACA). She has led the theater department, and she is also the director of women department in Simorgh. She started working as an actress in 2004 and one year later established SFACA, first working on acting, then screen-writing and later directing short movies. To explore new fields she participated in the first educational theater festival in Herat in 2006. Monirah wrote “Cry of History. The festival was the first theater festival which invited boys and girls from high schools to compete each other. 21 high schools, 10 boys’ and 11 girls’ high schools participated in the festival. “Cry of History” was performed to open the festival, the only event which welcomed a mixed audience.

Since then Monirah has been working professionally as actor, playwright and director in Sweden, and abroad. Her writing and directing includes: Letter of Suffering, Salsaal and Shamaama, Stones and Mirrors, Flute Sonance, Masks under Burka and Sitaraha – The Stars, which has been performed in Kabul, India, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, USA and Canada.

Monirah worked with Helena Waldmann as Afghan Coach on her play Burka Bondage in Berlin (2009) and she was a panelist member of South Asia Theater Festival in New Jersey, USA (2010). Monirah currently lives in Karlstad, Sweden.

Sheldon George Blackman

is a musician, singer and songwriter from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. He is currently employed at Torshov EMA where he teaches music.

His music is best described as Caribbean heart beat music! expressions of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Rapso and Jamoo fused with elements of jazz, blues and urban music. His natural love for music was recognized at an early age and nurtured by the expert hand of his father the late great Ras Shorty I, the creator of the musical genres of Soca and Jamoo.

Nasra Ali Omar

Artstically electronic artist and percussionist Nasra prospers among a variety of genres and expressions combining improvisation and spontaneity. On stage she often collaborates with performers, musicians and artists from various fields. Her career so far includes a number of studio sessions, as well as being part of various constellations with artists from all over the world.

Nasra started to build up her career, giving solo concerts for percussion and was also often involved in various performing arts and music projects with artists from the electronic field as a session musician in both live and studio recordings.

Born in Somalia in 1979. Spent her childhood in Kenya. In 1992, she moved to Norway with her mother and two younger sisters. Nasra started drumming when she was a child, often keeping the drumbeat in Somali wedding chants and dances with her grandmother as lead singer and her mother and sisters as lead dancers.

Documentarists

Peter Daaland

is the founder and editor of the Norwegian podcast collective Frekvens. He started out at the feminist radio station radiOrakel, followed by a journalism bachelor degree. He has reported on culture and documentaries at the Norwegian Broadcast Corporation (NRK). Peter also founded and organizes the radio cinema concept Oslo Radiobio.

Anne Gerd Grimsby Haarr

is a freelance documentarist and psychology student. She ran the youth department at the Norwegian Center Against Racism for several years and has been involved in different kinds of social and cultural activism. She has also been the editor in chief at radiOrakel and holds a BA in media and communication.

Cathrine Hasselberg

background spans from gender studies and social anthropology to radio production. Her main interest lies in the everyday stories and democratic forms of storytelling, so-called stories from below. For the last year she has been working mainly with creating radio-installations for specific projects or themes which all revolve around how different people interact with society and each other. Catherine is the founder of Historiebanken and has collaborated with the Norwegian-Afghan committee (2015, 2016), Akershus Teater (2015), Fortellerfestivalen (2015) and Interkulturellt Museum (part of Oslo Museum) (2016-2017). In addition to this she has previously worked in the United Nations Radio Unit in New York.

Sofia Bagge

Swedish freelance journalist, Sofia Bagge, has worked as a reporter, presenter and researcher in various TV- and radio productions for NRK and the Swedish national public radio, Sveriges Radio. Previously, she has been involved in Salonghistorier, arranged by the radio show Salongen, NRK P2– a concept inspired by the American podcast The Moth and in 2014 she produced two music documentaries. She is an editor and contributor at a web based platform for gender equality and a member of the independent Norwegian podcast collective Frekvens.

Credits

Transit Radio is project initiated and managed by Transnational Arts Production (TrAP), an independent arts production company. Our aim is to increase diversity within Norwegian arts and culture. TrAP works with artists and projects that cross borders and brings international contemporary art to the Norwegian art scene. We work with arts in various disciplines, including visual and performing arts, film and literature. For more information, visit us at http://www.trap.no.

This project is supported by the Arts Council Norway, Oslo Kommune, Akershus Fylkeskommune og KORO(URO).

Visual identity and Website design/development done by João Doria.

19/12/2016: Episode 10

Hybrid

"If you don´t listen to music, I feel like you are not human."

In this final episode of transit radio you will meet Vasuky Jayapalan and some of her students as they rehearse and learn more about Tamil music and culture.

Vasuky Jayapalan came to Norway in 1991 and spent 12 years learning and understanding the Norwegian system for working within the cultures, all to bring her Tamil background to a larger audience. She has released several CD´s and played large concerts both as a solo artist and in collaboration with other artists.

With her extensive background in music she now works to bridge the Tamil and Norwegian culture, teaching traditional music, dance and arts to her students. But has music changed for her since settling down in a new country? What does music mean to her now, and what purpose does it serve?

Documentarian: Cathrine Hasselberg. Recorded in Oslo.

12/12/2016: Episode 9

Somebody is coming, somebody is leaving.

"Sometimes when I am singing this song, I remember when I was young when my mum used to sing it in my country's language. So it's so good to hear it again."

In Harstad city there is a choir called Hope, with members from the local community together with newly arrived refugees. They have shared lullabies from their different countries to record them in a studio. The personal and emotional experience of singing some of the most beautiful words they know, meets a huge contrast when politics makes a different ending to this story.

Documentarian: Anne Gerd Grimsby Haarr. Recorded in Harstad.

7/12/2016: Episode 8

A person can not eat, sleep, eat, sleep. He will be sick.

In Torshov Transittmottak in Oslo asylum seekers stay for only a few weeks, waiting for their interview which will decide whether they may stay or not. A lot of waiting, in a limbo between a clear past and a blurry future. But how do they keep the spirit up through the waiting time? Listening to music.

Documentarian: Peter Daatland. Recorded in Torshov Transittmottak.

1/12/2016: Episode 7

Before the Syrian revolution started, I played. But after that (…) it was very difficult to play with the oud, with the music or anything.

In epiosde 7 of Transit Radio you will meet two artists, both new in Norway but with very different stories.

Zia Mushini came alone from Afghanistan as a refugee. After only singing by himself his whole childhood he suddenly finds himself in the start of a hip hop career. Hassan Al-Mustafa is blind and was a famous artist in Syria when growing up. When war broke out in his country there was no time for playing anymore and he left to Norway. Will music return to his life?

Documentarian: Anne Gerd Grimsby Haarr. Recorded in Grimstad and Oslo.

16/11/2016: Episode 6

Kveldskoret: Just like people cross borders, so does music.

Just like people cross borders, so does music. And for many people, music is a key component of their lives. In episode 6 of Transit Radio you will meet Abigail and Felix who both sing in a choir in Levanger called Kveldskoret. Over two cold November evenings Kveldskoret was joined by Sheldon Blackman and the soul rebels for the purpose of coming together and make music flow across linguistic and cultural borders.

Documentarian: Cathrine Hasselberg. Recorded in Levanger.

09/11/2016: Episode 5

Hvalstad: We share the music that is important to us.

The kids here are a lot more attached and observant to the lyrics. I don’t think a lot of Norwegian kids care that much about that. They know them, but they don’t care or understand what the lyrics are about. During a long and often dangerous road for refugees, the mobile phone is vital for navigating borders and getting the information that you need. But can it also be a way to connect you to your memories? In episode 5 of Transit Radio you will meet some of the teenagers living at the Hvalstad transit center, just outside of Oslo. Being far away from home, alone in a foreign country, they share the music that is important to them.

02/11/2016: Episode 4

Oslo World Music Festival

In episode 4 of Transit Radio you will get to hear the voice of Mahsa Vahdat a couple of days before her performance at the Oslo World Music Festival. She is an acclaimed iranian artist and singer who has an audience all over the world, but is not allowed to sing in her own country.

02/11/2016: Episode 3

Tromso: Music is identity. Music is memory.

In episode 3 of Transit Radio you get to meet percussionist Nasra Omar who started a project with the simple idea that people can meet and bond with the help of music, even though the resources are scarce. You’ll also meet a young girl, dreaming of the opportunity to dance.

02/11/2016: Episode 2

Harstad, Mohammed and Rafiq

In episode 2 of Transit Radio you will get to hear the voice of «Mohammed» and «Rafiq», who have fled from, and with music. In addition you´ll also meet Abazar Hamid who left his band Agd Elgalad, the self-proclaimed «the Beatles of Sudan» behind, and is now leading music workshops under the protection of Safemuse.

10/09/2016: Episode 1

Khaled Harara and Monirah Hashemi's Workshops

The first episode visits the workshops done by Khaled Harara and Monirah Hashemi to empower young refugees in Karlstad, Sweden.