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Heaven and hell...

Dear reader


It’s been a while since I wrote to you. School start and summer are definitely over, and it sometimes feels that this autumn has also switched off the light in many parts of the world. I won’t discuss here what you all know too well. Instead, I would like to bring some comfort, sweetness and also some light …light on some people in our community who are true heroes! Actually, a heroine, that you met at the festival: Nadia Aarab.

Nadia is not only passionate about sustainable development, founder of Clean Shores, working 100% at Deep Ocean, mum of 3 kids…She is also the president of the Moroccan council in Scandinavia and Nordic Countries and at the board of Rahma Norway (a non-profit organization). She was therefore first in line when the earthquake happened in Marrakech. Here is a summary of the actions she coordinated with Rahma as she was in Morocco to help in the 1st days after the earthquake.

“Rahma managed to collect 2 million NOK, which was used to help 3737 persons (900 families) in efforts in the regions of Marrakech (Chichaoua) and Taroudant (21 Douars).We purchased and provided the needy with the following items: tents, winter clothing, blankets, mattresses; pillows and hygiene product (male/female/child). Rahma is planning during this month to provide a heater to those families in this regard our engineers are working on research and development for the feasibility to use the solar energy as power source for this project. Rahma has also identified several long-term projects; all those are to job creation projects for both female and youth (those projects are under design). Rahma has also started a coordination a cross some few experts in European countries to collaborate on a building model that resists earthquakes and preserves the cultural and heritage character to the region.”

Nadia has since returned safely in Stavanger. If the earth has now calmed down, the world has unfortunately turned to horror in the Middle East, so her association is now also trying to support Gaza.

Before I make some musical suggestions that I hope, can bring some consolation and rest, I would like to repost on a book which I started my newsletter with (see  March newsletter)…There was this chapter about Shostakovich 7th symphony: Leningrad. Shostakovich composed this piece in the first month of the siege of Leningrad. While it was undoubtedly a political work, here are some words about what happened when the symphony was performed in Leningrad.

“In the fading afternoon light of August 9, 1942, the starving population fell silent and prepared to experience one of the most memorable episodes of an incomprehensible war. "We were amazed by the number of people; there could be so many hungry individuals, deprived not only of food but also of music," recounted the trombonist. Some spectators had retrieved a suit, while others came from the front lines. Most were thin and suffering from dystrophy. When the concert concluded, not only the people of Leningrad but also German soldiers listened to the half-hour-long ovation from a city on its knees”.

So here we are in 2023, after Leningrad…Mariupol, Gaza…Music, art and the people who make it, are more than ever necessary to heal the world…but even more to educate and unite people.

This letter will also transmit the voice of a humanitarian musical association which works in particular  in Gaza, Musicians without borders. I received their newsletter on 26th October.

“Musicians Without Borders collaborates with communities and musicians in conflict regions around the world, bringing music to vulnerable children and young people–also in Palestine. Our work is based on the power of music and the principles of active nonviolence and universal human rights. We unconditionally oppose war, and we strive to contribute to inclusive societies based on social justice.
Today, we stand helpless and speechless at the sight of so much suffering caused by military violence. We mourn all victims of this war and urge all people everywhere to press for an immediate ceasefire and care for all victims of violence.
We recognize the fundamental injustice of occupation and apartheid that has fueled this violent conflict for decades and led to ongoing misery, trauma and lost futures. We stress the urgent need to restore justice and human rights for Palestinians and to respect and ensure security, safety and dignity for all children, women and men in the region
Our thoughts and prayers are with all civilians, especially the children, including the children in our beautiful music project in Palestine, Bara’em Ghirass.
Where we can, and when appropriate, Musicians Without Borders will keep our activities going. As every positive act counts, it matters.

War divides. Music connects.”


This was a long and not too happy newsletter…a lot of darkness and always some light.

“Music has no equal. It is the rain that waters the desert, the radiant sun that brightens the heart, and it is the night that consoles. Music brings people together.” Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Heaven and Hell.

Let's pray for peace

Meanwhile, love and music



Rahma in Morocco (above), in Gaza (below)
Support Rahma in Gaza: VIPPS #72775

More info on their website (Bara'em Ghirass program in Palestine)

Book of the month: Heaven and Hell
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