Colorado professor speaks of deeper meaning of Swedish singer Saga’s music

By Alexandra Graziano

Last night, ethnomusicologist and instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder, Benjamin Teitelbaum, spoke about the connections between music and radical white pride in Scandinavian countries during a lecture in Herter Hall.

“Music is our weapon and our white skin is our uniform,” Teitelbaum said to begin the lecture titled, “Changes in The Sound of Scandinavian Radical Nationalism.”

The lecture was sponsored by the German and Scandinavian Studies Program and the Department of English. It was a part of the greater lecture series: “Scandinavian Impulses: Vengeance and Violence in Scandinavian Life and Culture.”

Teitelbaum, a Brown University graduate, has conducted several years of research in the Scandinavian countries and has specifically focused on the voice of right-wing radical nationalists’ sentiments through music.

Teitelbaum based his talk on musical references made in a manifesto written by Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik.

Breivik killed 77 people on July 22, 2011. After bombing government buildings in Oslo, he began firing at a camp of mostly teenagers.

In his manifesto, Breivik references the music of popular Swedish singer Saga, known for her radical white nationalist music, as inspiration.

Teitelbaum has studied Saga extensively and spoke about the changes in white nationalist music in Scandinavian countries and its reflection of nationalist sentiments, to express and fight for their cause.

Teitelbaum said that Saga, among others, has rebranded the white nationalists from hate-advocators to “champions of love, redeeming the oppressed people,” in an effort to save the white race.

“Her lyrics focus on her own suffering as a result of immigration … and dwell on her pain, her victimization and indeed her helplessness,” Teitelbaum said.

On Saga’s response to Breivik’s reference in his manifesto, Teitelbaum said Saga, “was quite bothered by it at first … of course she’s bothered by the fact that she’s been an inspiration to someone who killed children.”

However, Saga still remains a strong promoter of radical white nationalism.

Alexandra Graziano can be reached at [email protected]