|Born||18 February 1987|
|Origin||Senja, Troms, Norway|
Pål Moddi Knutsen (born 18 February 1987 in Senja), known by the artist name Moddi, is a Norwegian musician, author and activist, whose contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest or social justice.
Pål Knutsen grew up on the island of Senja in Northern Norway. As a child, he showed a particular concern for the environment, an interest which would come to shape his musical direction in the years to come. During high school, Knutsen was leading the local chapter of the environmentalist group Nature and Youth. "My first songs were an attempt to give a voice to the voiceless nature", he later explained about his motivation to create music.
The first release under the name of Moddi was recorded in 2007 and distributed in 20 home-made copies. Later followed the debut album Floriography, recorded with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson in Iceland and containing songs from Knutsen's period in Nature and Youth. Q magazine described the album as "irrevocably heart-warming and beautifully constructed piece of melancholic folk-pop". On his second album, Moddi presented the single House By The Sea, his best known composition to date.
The same year saw the release of Kæm va du? ("Who were you?"), with lyrics borrowed from the Northern Norwegian poets such as Arvid Hanssen, Helge Stangnes and Ola Bremnes. The album also included the single Togsang, a reinterpretation of Vashti Bunyans 60s cult hit "Train Song". Bunyan later commented that Moddi's was her favourite cover version of any of her songs.Kæm va du? won the Spellemannprisen award for "Folk Album of the Year".
In 2016, Moddi released his fourth studio album, Unsongs, consisting of Moddi's reinterpretations and translations of banned and censored songs from 12 different countries. Among the artists included on the album were Pussy Riot (Russia), Izhar Ashdot (Israel), Mari Boine (Norway/Sápmi), Liu Xiaobo (China) and Kate Bush (UK). Following the release, Moddi published the book "Forbudte sanger" (Forbidden songs) where he 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.
Moddi is known for bringing his strong political commitment into his music. In January 2010 Moddi refused nomination for the EUR100 000 Statoil grant on environmental grounds, commenting that a nomination would not be compatible with his environmental engagement. 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. He did not officially endorse any organised appeal, stating that "the debate is already way too black and white".
When Moddi released his version of the Pussy Riot song Punk Prayer in 2016, he did so by recording a music video on the doorstep of the King Oscar II Chapel, marking the Northern border between Norway and Russia. On his concert in Kirkenes the same year, Moddi was pressured into dropping the same song after indirect pressure from Russian diplomats.
Pål Moddi Knutsen has a master's degree from the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo. In his master thesis "Visions though the smelting furnace", he studied the Norwegian smelting plant Finnfjord in their course towards a carbon-neutral ferrosilicon production process.
|Title||Produced by||Details||Peak chart positions|
|Set the House on Fire||Hasse Rosbach||
|Kæm va du?||Hasse Rosbach||
(Split LP with Einar Stray)
|Music for Frankenstein||
|Live at Jakob Church of Culture||
|2009||"Nordnorsk julesalme"||Non-album single|
|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"|
|2015||"Silhouette"||Set the House on Fire|
|"A Matter of Habit"|
|Synne Sanden||When Nobody's Around|
|Thomas Dybdahl||Før morgengry||Accordion|