Ready for Hip-Hop with Nielsen; as DJs Prepare for Their Own High Noon, Christopher Morley Looks at the Serious Intention of a Wacky Project

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Byline: Christopher Morley

A head-to-head between English and Danish DJs is promised as part of one of the more unusual offerings in this month's Discover Denmark festival.

This High Noon among MCs comes complete with graffiti maestros, hip-hop performers, rap poets and others in The Battle of Codes - Carl Nielsen 2001, an extraordinary presentation involving 20 international dancers, composers and visual artists.

The idea is to show the battle between tradition and innovation in contemporary urban cultures, cross-referencing symphony and folklore, auditory and visual.

A wider aim in preparing for this Europe-wide project is to take youngsters off the streets and create a culture where several races work constructively together.

Steen Koerner, himself a dancer, is director. 'Young people want to be involved and compete,' he says. 'It's competition on a global level. If old people give themselves the chance to see it they will like it!'

The works of Carl Nielsen and his sculptress wife, Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen, lie at the heart of The Battle of the Codes, and project director Jan Ole Traasdahl is gratified how much the young participants have taken to the music of Denmark's greatest composer.

'Nielsen's music speaks in many different directions, and they're taking the music home and singing it,' he says. 'Some of Carl Nielsen's music is now garage music, and we aim to have a Carl Nielsen video running on MTV.

'It's really a DJ Symphony. Carsten Eskildsen of the Nielsen Museum in Odense suggested it and I thought he was joking, but in fact he was deadly serious.'

And there is a serious intention behind this wacky project. Koerner is passionate about the need to offer young people something constructive to do with their time, something that will keep them away from potentially destructive activities. …