While an old word, in the new millennium, “dialogue” has become a fashionable term in a cultural and religious context. It was not a much used word in KKV publications or a word we used purposefully during the first 30 years of our activities. However, the principle, of seeing and recognizing "the other" on an equal basis has been part of our practice from the first day of our operations.

KKV started its work with cultural events within Norway’s borders. This was in the 1970s, and Pietistic sympathies continued to have an iron grip across much of the nation. Initially we called our activities an “Anti-Pietistic front”. This was reported on a full-page spread in the major Norwegian daily newspaper Dagbladet during Christmas 1978.

In the spring of 1979 we met Ragnar Vigdal, a dedicated Pietist from western Norway. His singing was like taking an injection of emotions. We felt we had to climb down from the barricades and accept that we also shared in the Pietism heritage. We discovered that it had values we could not deny.

We started to cultivate the positive aspects of this heritage and found that the moment we displayed positive interest in the alleged good side of our opponents, the shield came down on both sides. We published the favourite songs of the chapel and Pietism, and eventually had all the country’s chapels as our market, even for the more urbane liberal productions and texts we released. By recognizing our opponents, we won their hearts. Or was it the other way around? Did they win ours, and we saw each other?

This principle has been the foundation of many projects since, and particularly after the caricature conflict in 2006, we have been able to apply it in projects where religious dialogue has been in focus. Many of the projects that have been in the spirit of dialogue also have a liberating effect.

Typiske prosjekter i KKV:


Polish songs in Norwegian and Polish with Jørn Simen Øverli, Tora Augestad and Joanna Lewandowska-Zbudniewek. A surprising picture of Polish surrealism, humour, depression and hope. 2011

In the mirror of wine

"I vinens speil" (In the mirror of wine). Texts by Persian mystics, created in a Muslim context of Hafez and Rumi, meet SKRUK's musical Christian spirituality. 2010

Scent of Reunion

Love duets across enemy lines. With Mahsa Vahdat, Iran, and Mighty Sam McClain, the USA. 2009

Mass for Kari and Ola

"Messe for Kari og Ola" (Mass for Kari and Ola), featuring SKRUK and Katia Cardenal. Misa Campesina – a musical icon from Nicaraguan liberation theology, rendered in Norwegian by Erik Hillestad. 2008

Songs across Walls of Separation

Duets across walls that separate people and countries. Participants from Palestine, Kashmir, Morocco, Cyprus and more. Western artists interpret the original songs. The project was also developed into a theatrical production by Nina Wester in 2006. Released on CD in 2008.

Jacob's masses

Sufi poems at "Jakobmesser" (Jacob's masses), a long series of textual encounters between gospel texts and poems by Persians Hafez, Rumi and Khayyam, read in parallel during the divine services at Kulturkirken Jakob (Jakob Church of Culture ) in the autumn of 2007 and all of 2008. At times also discussed and commented by representatives of Islam and Christianity prior to the masses.


A musical encounter between Sondre Bratland and a Qawalli singer from Lahore, Javed Bashir, with recordings from mosques in Pakistan and Syria and churches in Norway. Released after the caricature conflict in 2006.


Furnishing a chapel for Muslims next door to the Christian chapel at the University of Oslo in 2006.

The Art of Being a Church

Participation in the design of the Church's culture report "Kunsten å være kirke" (The Art of Being a Church), a joint venture between Norske Kirkeakademier (Norwegian Church Academies), Kirkerådet (the Church Council) and KKV, where many of the underpinning ideas of the church of culture concept were expressed. 2005

Lullabies from the Axis of Evil

A collection of lullabies from Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine and Cuba with English language comments and interpretations. Duets with female voices from many worlds from the East and the West. 2004

Rampant hymns

"Salmer på ville veier" (Rampant hymns), an embracing of hymns that were never let into the warmth of the Church, but which deserve a place in the hymn book. Authors; Erik Bye, Rudolf Nilsen, Åge Aleksandersen and others. Soloist: Bjarne Brøndbo from the DDE band. 2002

Prøysen in Spanish

"Prøysen på spansk" (Prøysen in Spanish), cloaking the Norwegian poet and musician Alf Prøysen in the Spanish language and Nicaraguan context and music. Featuring Katia Cardenal. 1999


A CD cooperation with the techno group Acid Queen and musicians and singers from Zanzibar and Dar Es Salam. 1998

The country we come from

"Landet vi kommer fra" (The country we come from) with SKRUK and singers and musicians from Azerbaijan. An encounter with a culture with many layers of religious traditions: Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Islam, secular Communism. 1997


The performance/mass "Rekved" (Driftwood) for the Church's millennium celebration at Moster during Whitsun 1995, with Sondre Bratland and the Oslo Chamber Choir. Texts by Erik Hillestad and music by Kjetil Bjerkestrand, about the encounter between early Christianity and old Norse religion at the edge of the fjord.

Heaven and scrap

The performance "Himmel og skrot" (Heaven and scrap) about eroded religiousness and secularity, with Kim Haugen and Katja Medbøe and various artists in Brødfabrikken (the bread factory) on Norabakken (street) during the celebration of KKV's 20-year anniversary in 1994.

Flowers in Soweto

"Blomster i Soweto" (Flowers in Soweto) with Marianne Antonsen and the Soweto choir Imilongi Kanut Choral Society – about liberation and reconciliation in South Africa in 1994.

Misa Andina

Featuring SKRUK and musicians from Chile and Ecuador. An encounter between Latin American liberation theology, Catholicism and a Norwegian choir. 1993

Living Gospel

An encounter between SKRUK and church musicians and choir singers from New Orleans. Live recording from a concert in the Johannes Church in Bergen.1990

Lux illuxit laetabunda

A dialogue with the past. A bridge between contemporary music for organ by Henning Sommerro and Gregorian chant by the choir Choer Gregoerièn de Paris. 1989

The red bus

"Den røde bussen" (The red bus) with Jørn Simen Øverli. A view of Polish folk song art during the Solidarity period. A Poland different from what media had portrayed since WW2. 1984

The Pilgrim Songbook

"Pilegrimens sangbog" (The Pilgrim Songbook) with Sondre Bratland. A declaration of love for the songs of the revivalist period which many at the time, including KKV employees, defined as escapist and focused on heaven. 1982

Gems from the chapel

"Smykker fra bedehuset" (Gems from the chapel) with SKRUK, a tribute to songs that represent a faded ideal of piety and a problematized theology. 1979

A musical journey to an old contemporary period

"Tonereise til ei gamal samtid" (A musical journey to an old contemporary period), delving deeply into Norwegian pietism and "Haugianisme" (a Norwegian sect called Friends of Hauge, with significant impact on Norway in the early 1800s) with Ragnar Vigdal, from 1979.