Norwegian singer Per Vollestad, known from several musical projects, will not sing for the Russian embassy in Oslo. He cancels a previous engagement in protest against the sentence received by the girls in the Russian punk band Pussy Riot – two years in prison for having sung songs where they are critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and because the concert was held in a church.
«I was supposed to sing Edvard Grieg in the embassy. Grieg was a man who was very concerned about freedom of speech and it would be completely wrong for me to perform his songs in such a setting. Then I had to either protest against the concert, and I think that would be wrong, or I had to cancel the concert, which I did», he said.
Vollestad emphasizes that one may disagree with the form Pussy Riot used by, among other things, playing such a concert in a church, but that the fact that they get two years in prison and that freedom of expression is being silenced, can not be tolerated.
«Musicians should also engage more in what goes on in the international community», he said.
Vollestad also says that it was a difficult decision to make, since he has been several times in Russia and will later go back in order to give concerts in our great neighbor country in the east.