Ragnhild Hiis Aanestad directs the Norwegian Gospel Voices, one of the most urban of choirs to come from the shores of Norway. Here she explains the roots and the sources of the enthusiasm for Gospel music in her homeland. This article is one of several in our series titled Gospel Around The World.
Andrae Crouch and the Disciples brought Gospel music to Norway in the late 1970's and introduced contemporary Gospel music to the Norwegian people.
Before this time, we only knew Gospel music from neighboring Sweden, which had the popular choir Choralerna, reknowned for their work in recording with Danniebelle Hall.
Jessy Dixon and his pianist Elsa Harris have introduced the traditional Gospel music to Norway, traveling all over the country, working with church choirs, teenage choirs and Gospel choirs.
From the late 1980's until the year 2000, the Seaside Gospel Choir Festival was held in Porsgrunn, in the southeast corner of Norway, and featured approximately 1000 young voices in the festival's mass choir each year. This Festival is structured is patterned after the The Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), but is smaller.
Throughout the years, American artists including Edwin Hawkins, Daryl Coley, Rickey Grundy, Richard Smallwood, Walt Whitman, Clarence Eggleton, Frank Fenner and Tim “Bishop” Brown have visited the Festival.
Gospel music has become increasingly popular in Norway over the last fifteen years, and today we have a many choirs all over the country singing Gospel. Songs written by Andrae Crouch, Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Kurt Carr are popular.
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