Pål Moddi Knutsen (born 18 February 1987 in Senja) is a Norwegian singer, songwriter and author. His music has been described as a blend of folk music and pop, although he refers to himself as a "singer and storyteller".[1]

Moddi is famous for his interpretations and translations of other artists, such as Vashti Bunyan, Pussy Riot and the Norwegian poet Helge Stangnes.

Background information
Born18 February 1987 (age 31)
OriginSenja, Troms, Norway
Years active2005–present
Associated acts

Personal life

Pål Knutsen was born 18 February 1987 and grew up on the island of Senja in Northern Norway. He debuted 5 years old on the local radio station Draugen, singing a traditional sea shanty. During his early youth, the young Knutsen played classical piano, the cornet in the school's marching band, bass guitar in various rock bands and performed as a rapper.[2]

At 18, he adopted the old family name Moddi and started writing his own songs under that name. After finishing school, the 20 years old Moddi decided try a year off and "travel, play concerts and have fun until I had spent all my money".[3]

Moddi is part of the community around Kråkeslottet in Senja, where he is booking the annual Kråkeslottfestivalen. He has a master's degree from the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo, where he studied environmental challenges within industrial production of ferrosilicon.[4]

Musical career

Career beginnings

Moddi's debut release, Random Skywriting EP, was recorded in the bedroom studio of a friend and distributed in only 20 home-made copies. NRK Urørt, a Norwegian emerging artists radio show, picked up the EP and put it in heavy rotation on Norwegian radio channel P3.[5] The following year, Moddi did some of his first concerts on festivals like by:Larm and Øyafestivalen, where he received good reviews from among others online magazine Pitchfork.[6]


Moddi recorded his debut album Floriography with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson in Iceland. Upon release, it immediately hit the Norwegian album top 10. Q magazine described the album as "irrevocably heart-warming and beautifully constructed piece of melancholic folk-pop".[7] Later that year, Moddi received the A-ha Grant of €120000 and toured as support for Angus and Julia Stone.

Set the House on Fire

3 January 2013 Moddi presented the single House By The Sea.[8] The album Set the House on Fire was released worldwide on 8 March, accompanied by a social media contest to win the release concert, which was eventually held in the mining village of Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia.[9] Set the House on Fire was nominated for two Norwegian Spellemannprisen.

Kæm va du?

The same year, Moddi recorded another album, released only half a year after the previous one. Kæm va du? ("Who were you?") differs from previous albums in being sung entirely in Norwegian, and with lyrics borrowed from the Northern Norwegian poets Arvid Hanssen, Helge Stangnes and Ola Bremnes.[10] On the album was also the single Togsang, a reinterpretation of British folk singer Vashti Bunyans 60s cult hit "Train Song". Bunyan later commented that Moddi's was her favourite cover version of any of her songs.[11] Kæm va du? won the Spellemannprisen award for "Folk Album of the Year".[12]


In 2016, Moddi released his fourth studio album, Unsongs, consisting of 12 banned songs from 12 different countries. The lead single from the album, Eli Geva, is a song about the Israeli officer who refused to lead his forces into battle in 1982. The song, originally performed by Norwegian singer Birgitte Grimstad, had not been sung for more than three decades.[13] Following the release, Moddi published the book "Forbudte sanger" (Forbidden songs) where he described the process of making the album. In the book, he also described a number of attempts to hold back the songs on the album, among others by Russian and Lebanese authorities, and by the British public broadcaster BBC.

Political activism

In 2010 Moddi refused nomination for the €100 000 Statoil grant on environmental grounds, commenting that "I don't want Statoil for a friend. Who on earth accepts a friendship just because you get a million for it?".[14] Moddi has participated on several albums, protests and rallies against the entrance of oil companies into Northern Norway and the Arctic.

In 2014 Moddi announced that he would be cancelling his scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, on the grounds that he would not be taken to support the Israeli expansion of settlements in the West Bank.[15] He did not officially endorse any organised appeal, stating that "the debate is already way too black and white".[16] The thought of creating the album "Unsongs", came as result of cancelling his show in Tel Aviv and receiving a call from Birgitte Grimstad - a Norwegian singer- where she told him that one of her song "Eli Geva" was censored in Israel.

Later the same year, Moddi organised The Train Tour through Europe in collaboration with InterRail, a three-week tour entirely on rails.[17] The tour went through France, Germany and the Czech Republic.

In 2015, Moddi contributed to the album "Fabler om en åpen kirke" in support of the liberal forces within the Norwegian Church. He participated with the song "Vær hilset, fru Bjerkås!", a tribute to Ingrid Bjerkås, the first female priest in service in Norway.

On his 17 November 2016 concert in Kirkenes, Moddi refrained from performing the song Punk Prayer by Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot, after the Russian Consulate General to Norway, Sergej Sjatunovskij-Byurno, warned that performing the song could mean up to six years in prison for the musicians of Arkhangelsk Chamber Orchestra who were backing Moddi on the tour.[1] He eventually played the song on the door steps of the King Oscar II Chapel which is located 500 meters from the Norwegian-Russian border.[18]

Studio albums

Title Produced by Details Peak chart positions
Floriography Valgeir Sigurðsson 9
Set the House on Fire Hasse Rosbach
  • Released: 8 March 2013
  • Label: Propeller
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
Kæm va du? Hasse Rosbach
  • Released: 11 October 2013
  • Label: Propeller
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
Unsongs Hasse Rosbach
  • Released: 16 September 2016
  • Label: Propeller
  • Formats: Digital download, CD

Extended plays

Title Details
Random Skywriting
(Split LP with Einar Stray)
  • Released: 2008
  • Label: Playground, Spoon Train Audio
  • Formats: Digital download
  • Released: 15 October 2010
  • Label: Propeller
  • Formats: Digital download
Music for Frankenstein
  • Released: 12 March 2015
  • Label: Nordland teater
  • Formats: Digital download

Live albums

Title Details
Live Parkteateret
Live at Jakob Church of Culture
  • Released: 22 September 2014
  • Label: Propeller
  • Formats: Digital download


Year Title Album
2009 "Nordnorsk julesalme" Non-album single
2011 "Ardennes" Floriography
"Thimbleweed" Non-album single
"Smoke" Floriography
2013 "House by the Sea" Set the House on Fire
"Run to the Water"
"Grønt Lauv I Snyen" Kæm va du?
"En Sang Om Fly"
2014 "Sola" Non-album singles
"Train Song"
"Eli Geva" Unsongs
2015 "Silhouette" Set the House on Fire
2016 "Punk Prayer" Unsongs
"Army Dreamers"
"A Matter of Habit"

Other appearances

Year Artist Album Notes
2009 Kråkesølv Trådnøsting Accordion
2011 Einar Stray Chiaroscuro Vocals
Synne Sanden When Nobody's Around
Thomas Dybdahl Før morgengry Accordion

Other releases

  • 2010 – Hjertestups withTogsang (Tyrili)
  • 2010 – Samleplate for oljefritt Lofoten, Vesterålen og Senja with the song Krokstav-emne
  • 2011 – Vi tenner våre lykter with the song Nordnorsk julesalme
  • 2012 – Norge, mitt Norge..? with the songs Det stig av hav eit oljeland and Deilig er Norden
  • 2015 – Fabler om en åpen folkekirke with the song Vær hilset, fru Bjerkås!


  1. ^ "Moddi twitter bio". 11 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  2. ^ "Moddi homepage biography". Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Gaffa interview". Gaffa. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  4. ^ Knutsen, Pål Moddi (22 October 2018). "Visions through the Smelting Furnace – The Story of a Norwegian Smelting Plant towards Carbon-Neutral Ferrosilicon Production" (PDF). University of Oslo. University of Oslo.
  5. ^ "NRK Urørt".
  6. ^ "Pitchfork review of Øyafestival". 12 August 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Q Magazine". 18 April 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  8. ^ "House by the Sea by moddimusik". Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Moddi talks about the living room concerts". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Moddi home page bio". 5 July 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Vashti elsker Moddi". Adresseavisa. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Spellemannsprisen web site". Spellemannsprisen 2014. 15 January 2014. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Moddi 'Unsongs' - making censored music dangerous once again". The Independent. 2016-08-19. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  14. ^ "Millionens forbannelse". NRK Ytring. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  15. ^
  16. ^ "I am cancelling my concert in Tel Aviv". Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Moddi på togturné". Gaffa. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Moddi plays Pussy Riot's Punk Prayer on church steps close to Russian border". The Independent Barents Observer. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  19. ^ "Discography Moddi". Norwegian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  20. ^

External links

1987 in Norwegian music

The following is a list of notable events and releases of the year 1987 in Norwegian music.

Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival

Bukta Tromsø Open Air Festival, commonly abbreviated The Bukta Festival, is an open-air music festival taking place every July in Telegrafbukta, Tromsø, Norway. The festival was first staged in 2004.


Casiokids are a Norwegian synthpop ensemble from Bergen, and Stavanger formed in 2005. The band consists of Ketil Kinden Endresen, Fredrik Øgreid Vogsborg, Omar Johnsen and Kjetil Bjøreid Aabø. Associated musicians are Joachim Amundsen Trana, Eirik Utne, Einar Olsson, Geir Svensson and Snorre Sturla Lyngstad. They are signed with Universal Records in Norway, Polyvinyl Records in North America, Flake Records in Japan, Pop Frenzy in Australia and Moshi Moshi Records for the rest of the world.After releasing the single "Grønt lys i alle ledd / Togens hule" in the United Kingdom, the band was described by NME as "the best thing to come out of Norway since black metal." The band has been compared to fellow Norwegian artists The Whitest Boy Alive, Röyksopp, and Annie. They have released an album named Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar that includes the song "Fot i hose", which was included in the comedy series Friday Night Dinner (as transitional music) and on the soundtrack for the football video game FIFA 10, and listed by the NME as the fourth best new song of the week. They are currently managed by Christopher Wareing.In the summer of 2010 legendary Norwegian pop band a-ha gave away four separate prizes of one million kroner each to Norwegian artists who they felt had the most export potential at that time. Casiokids was one of the recipients along with Susanne Sundfør, Moddi and Shining.In October 2011 the band released their new album Aabenbaringen over Aaskammen in North America, Norway and Japan, with a worldwide release scheduled for January 2012. In November 2011 Casiokids visited Japan for the first time.

Einar Stray Orchestra

Einar Stray Orchestra is a Norwegian indie-pop and post-rock band. The young quintet have released three albums to rave critics, two EP's,

and have played more than 300 concerts in Europe/Asia. Combining classical

and folk music with pop and rock they have played several sold out

headliner tours and festivals. Einar Stray Orchestra is influenced by bands such as Sufjan Stevens, Bright Eyes, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Eli Geva

Eli Geva (Hebrew: אלי גבע‎; born 1950) is an Israeli brigade commander, who during the Siege of Beirut (in the early stage of the 1982 Lebanon War), refused to lead his forces into the city for moral reasons which he termed "endangerment of both soldiers and civilians in urban warfare". The Israeli Chief of Staff, Rafael Eitan, and Prime Minister Menachem Begin attempted to negotiate with Geva, but he insisted and was consequently dismissed from the Israel Defense Forces. At the time, Geva was the youngest Colonel in the IDF.The event drew a great deal of controversy in Israel at the time, and to this day remains a symbol of moral insubordination in the Israeli military. Geva initially declined to grant press interviews, but reversed himself after the Sabra and Shatila massacres and granted an interview to Israeli State Radio which aired prior to the Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv on September 25, 1982.The New York Times reported on Colonel Geva's interview with Menachem Begin:

Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who spent 45 minutes with the colonel before he asked to be relieved of his command, recalled today that the officer had told him: "I am a brigade commander. I look through my binoculars and I see children."

Mr. Begin said he asked the colonel, "Did you get an order to kill those children?" The officer said there had been no such order and Mr. Begin asked, "So what are you complaining about?"

In 2014 Norwegian songwriter Moddi released a song named after Eli Geva in support of his insubordination and pacifism. This song was written by Richard Burgess in 1982 for Norwegian singer Birgitte Grimstad. She was persuaded to refrain from performing the song on her Israel tour the same year.

Floriography (album)

Floriography is the debut studio album released by Norwegian musician Moddi. The album released on 8 February 2010 through Propeller Recordings in Norway. The album peaked to number 9 on the Norwegian Albums Charts. The album includes the single "Ardennes" and "Smoke".

Gjermund Larsen

Gjermund Larsen (born 29 July 1981 in Verdal, Norway) is a Norwegian traditional folk musician (violin) and composer, known from several bands and recordings.

Hasse Rosbach

Hasse Rosbach (born 17 March 1985 in Sarpsborg, Norway) is a Norwegian musician and producer. He has worked at studios such as Propeller Music Division, Albatross Recordersand Isitart?.

Immergut Festival

The Immergut Festival is a yearly music festival in Germany in Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The first edition was organised in 2000. The festival focuses mainly on indie rock and is one of the largest festivals in Germany for this genre.

Kaos One

Marco Fiorito known as Kaos One, Don Kaos, Dottor K, Ahmad or simply Kaos (Caserta, June 11, 1971) is an Italian rapper, beatmaker, writer, began his career in 1986, first as a dancer breakdance and writer, then as MC, first in English and then in Italian. Kaos has been one of the forerunners of Italian Rap.


Kontaktor is a Norwegian production-team from Oslo and consists of Daniel Wold (born 1986) and Marius Njølstad (born 1989).

Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim

Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim (born 1969) is a Norwegian record producer, musician and composer from Sarpsborg, Norway. He plays guitar and keyboards. He is also the co-founder of Propeller Recordings, which has released albums for the artists Hanne Hukkelberg, Superfamily, Katzenjammer, Moddi, Team Me and Highasakite. He has also composed film scores for Norwegian pictures.

He studied at Norges Musikkhøgskole (Norwegian State Academy of Music), and co-founded the band Locomotives with Georg Buljo in 1991; he was in the band until it dissolved in 2001. He then began producing records, and has from his studio Propeller Music Division produced several primarily Norwegian artists' albums, including Odd Nordstoga (Luring (2004)), Gåte (Iselilja (2004)), Marit Larsen (Under the Surface, (2006), The Chase (2008) and Spark, (2011)), Motorpsycho (Heavy Metal Fruit (2009)), Åge Aleksandersen (Furet værbitt (2011)), Ida Jenshus (Someone to Love (2012)) and Highasakite (Silent Treatment) (2014)).

He received Gammleng-prisen in 2009 for "Best Studio Musician" and Spellemannprisen 2011 for "Record Producer of the Year". He also received Kanonprisen 2015 for "Best Film Score" for the movie Knutsen & Ludvigsen og den fæle Rasputin.

Kæm va du?

Kæm va du? is the third studio album released by Norwegian musician Moddi. The album released on 11 October 2013 through Propeller Recordings in Norway. The album peaked to number 5 on the Norwegian Albums Charts. The album includes the single "Grønt Lauv I Snyen" and "En Sang Om Fly".

Propeller Recordings

Propeller Recordings is a Norwegian independent record label, launched in 2003 in Oslo. It has grown into an influential label both in its home city as well as worldwide, and has now expanded to include a UK office based in London.

The label operates across a wide number of genres and concentrates on Norwegian artists who have commercial potential worldwide. The current roster including Dagny, Highasakite, Sløtface, Moddi, Apothek, The Fjords, Hanne Hukkelberg, Frøkedal and Thea & The Wild.

Propeller Recordings also now boasts sister label 0E0E (pronounced naughty-naughty) founded in 2015 in London, UK as a singles club. 0E0E has grown over the years and includes current artists such as Tempesst, Harlea and PLGRMS.

The label also set up Propeller Communications; an in-house online and radio PR service for all Propeller Recordings and 0E0E artists as well as external clients. Because of this, it covers a wide varieties or artists across many different genres.


Senja (Norwegian) or Sážžá (Northern Sami) is an island and future municipality in Troms county, Norway. At 1,586.3-square-kilometre (612.5 sq mi), it is the second largest island in Norway (outside of the Svalbard archipelago). It has a wild, mountainous outer (western) side facing the Atlantic, and a mild and lush inner (eastern) side. The island is governed by four municipalities: Torsken, Tranøy, Lenvik, and Berg, however in on 1 January 2020, the four municipalities are scheduled to be merged into one large Senja Municipality. The island of Senja had 7,864 inhabitants as of 1 January 2017. Most of the residents live along the eastern coast of the island, with Silsand being the largest urban area on the island. The fishing village of Gryllefjord on the west coast has a summer-only ferry connection to the nearby island of Andøya: the Andenes–Gryllefjord Ferry.The island sits northeast of the Vesterålen archipelago, surrounded by the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, the Malangen fjord to the northeast, the Gisundet strait to the east, the Solbergfjorden to the southeast, the Vågsfjorden to the south, and the Andfjorden to the west. Ånderdalen National Park is located in the southern part of the island.

Set the House on Fire

Set the House on Fire is the second studio album released by Norwegian musician Moddi. The album released on 8 March 2013 through Propeller Recordings in Norway. The album peaked at No. 10 on the Norwegian Albums Charts. The album includes the single "House By the Sea" and "Run to the Water".

Valgeir Sigurðsson

Valgeir Sigurðsson (born 1971) is an Icelandic record producer, mixer, composer, engineer and musician.


Øyafestivalen is an annual Norwegian music festival held in the Tøyen Park, Oslo. It has grown quickly since its modest start in 1999 and has become one of Norway's biggest and most important music festivals [1].

The festival has previously featured musicians like Sonic Youth, Iggy and The Stooges, Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles, Morrissey and Beck.

The festival lasts for four days in the main park area, and is preceded by a club night where the festival holds concerts in more or less all of Oslo's central clubs.

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