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Family Culture

Songs and poetry  |  Pictures  |  Literature

Songs and Poetry


BRO-Band plays at the 2010 family reunion in Pleasanton, California

During the 2010 family reunion, 3-2-1-3-1-4 Tor Steinar Edland and 3-6-2-2-3 Geir Due made sure there was a camera present at all times. Our relatives in California had put together "The BRO-Band", made up by members of the Bakken, Rositano and Oftebro families. Together, they entertained everyone with great music and great spirits. The band members were as follows:

Vocals: Megan Rositano, Christopher Rositano, Kirk Bakken
Percussion: Kris Oftebro, Kaitlynn Oftebro, Kyle Oftebro
Guitar: Brian Chase
Bass: Kristina Bakken
Drums: Rikky Bakken
Keyboard and vocals: David Bakken

Part 1  |  Part 2

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3-6-2-5 Olaug Oftebro Areklett pleases us with a poem.

Olaug is born in 1937, is married, has 3 children and 10 grandchildren. She lives in Mandal, Norway. Olaug is educated as a schoolteacher, and has worked in primary schools in Oslo, in Haugesund and at Lindesnes.

Olaug has got comprehensive interests, including literature, the Christian faith, music and athletic sports. The athletic sports statuette on her mantelpiece bears witness to her taste for physical activity. Still it is her love for singing that has characterized Olaug all the way since childhood. In her younger days the guitar used to be her loyal companion. She has also been singing in several choirs, most recently for a number of years in Mandal Kantori.

Every Christmas Olaug sends a self written poem to family and friends. She normally writes in the Nynorsk language (the lesser used out of the two official Norwegian languages), and often discusses subjects that cause one to reflect.

Click here to read  the poem “Guilt” 

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    A Canadian ”Oftebro Choir”

Listen to the choir singing in The Lutheran Church in Preeceville, Canada.
Click here for information about the choir.

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    "Love isn't easy" by Markus Due

17 years old, 3-6-2-2-3-3 Markus Due, Mandal, Norway, has been a passionate brass band musician since he was 10 years old. This has led him from a trainee position, via the junior brass band to the A-band where he now plays for his 6th year. Trombone is his instrument.

When Mandal junior high school offered the students organized music teaching, with optional curriculum and instruments, Markus chose guitar and song as his new and extra subjects. So now the guitar follows Markus on excursions with friends. This always creates a good atmosphere.

But Markus also wants to write his own songs, and when his brass band celebrated its 100 years anniversary this year, the boys formed a band that gave Markus’ song. Here we present his “Love isn’t easy”.

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    Songs and music by Harald Arne Asheim

The petro-technical professor in the family, 3-2-9-1-1 Harald Arne Asheim, at University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, has continued the tradition for poetry in the Asheim clan, from his grandmother Anna Elisabeth (Rom) Asheim. But that was not enough for Harald. He also writes the melodies for his songs, and presents them, backing himself on his guitar.

Many of us will remember his presentation at the Oftebro family reunion in Lyngdal 2004, of his ballad about our family founder, Villum Christian Oftebro.

Click here for lyrics and note for “Villum's ballad”
Click here for Harald's own homepage where you can also hear him sing the ballad.

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  Tribute to Lyngdal

We present 2 songs and one poem paying tribute to Lyngdal, the Norwegian village where our common family cradle once was located, from10 Ommund C. Oftebro, from 3-4 Anna Tonette (Oftebro) Johnson and from 3-8 Ole Mathias Oftebro. 

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    Hymn written by Reidar Oftebro

3-6-2-1 Reidar Oftebro has done the Oftebro family great services through his thorough work for many years in completing the family tree. Reidar wrote also through a long life a great number of songs, mostly songs for use at joyful occasions in the near family. When he retired he started painting, and he left behind a considerable number of paintings.

Two years before he passed away in 2007 he wrote the hymn that we present here.

His son in law, (3-6-2-1-4) Odd Arve Lien has composed the melody for the hymn. 

We give a “word by word” translation into English of Reidar’s hymn. 

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When 3-6-2 Tobias Oftebro and his Klara built their home in 1924 and had their first child, 3-6-2-1 Reidar Oftebro, Tobias wrote a lullaby in text and melody that later on has lulled to sleep his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The well-known Norwegian church musician Trond Kverno has harmonized the melody to be played on the piano.

3-6-2-5 Olaug Sofie (Oftebro) Areklett has written the English version of Tobias’ lullaby.

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    Poems by Anna Elisabeth (Rom) Asheim 

3-2-9 Anna Elisabeth (Rom) Asheim was, as a farmer’s wife at Soma, Sandnes, Norway, very interested in the role of the farmer’s wife in society. For many years she was a member of the Høyland Association for Farmers’ Wives, and for 8 years she was the leader of Rogaland Association for Farmers’ wives.

She was a much used lecturer, and she wrote articles for newspapers, poems and hymns. Her poems show her strong commitment for religious matters, for the environment and for everyday life in her native district.

We present here 4 of her poems. The poems have not been translated into English. 

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Pictures and Paintings

    Paintings by Reidar Oftebro 

3-6-2-1 Reidar Oftebro has done the Oftebro family great services through his work for many years in completing the family tree. Reidar wrote a great number of songs, mostly songs for use at joyful occasions in the near family. He also wrote a hymn, which we have presented elsewhere in the culture column. When Reidar retired, he started painting, and he has left behind a considerable number of paintings. He painted mainly landscapes and still life. He normally used acrylic paint in his work. 



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    Watercolour paintings by Ivar Oftebro 

When 3-6-6-1 Ivar Oftebro retired, he developed further his talent for pictorial art. He mostly uses water paint. Through the years many in his near family circle have had the pleasure of receiving paintings from Ivar’s paintbrush, often received as Christmas greetings.

We present here a selection of Ivar’s watercolours. 



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    Multiartist 3-8-3-1 Nils Ole Oftebro

Actor 3-8-3-1 Nils Ole Oftebro has two strings on his bow. He is well known both for his performances on stage and in movies, and also his work as a TV entertainer has made him very well known to every Norwegian. His talent as a pictorial artist is maybe less known, although he also within this branch of art has reached a large audience, not least through his illustrations in the Norwegian magazine “Farmand” through a couple of decades.

Our column shows 3 of the pictures he presented during the Oftebro family reunion in Lyngdal, Norway 2004, in addition to the interview given to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten in 2005, in connection with an exhibition of his illustrations. 

This newspaper article has not been translated into English. The interview reveals that the exhibition gives 70 portraits of members of the social elite, from Nils Ole’s hand. The drawings and washings have earlier been published as supplement to interviews in books and magazines over the years. 

This article from 2005 also announces that Nils Ole, at that time, was preparing for going to Burkina Faso in Africa together with his family to act in French on the stage there for 5 months, together with local, African stage actors.


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    Paintings by Caren (Rivara) Vitell 

1-1-11-4-2 Caren Vitell, who lives in Oxford, Mississippi, has made painting her career. She works primarily in oils, painting on stretched canvas. Frequently she builds her own stretchers. At times she builds stretchers of arched, peaked or rounded shapes that mimic the subjects seen through a window, f. inst a church window. 

She generally paints landscapes, and finds herself drawn to focusing on colour and simple forms. She enjoys experimenting with colour and texture in her paintings. 



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(3-7-2-1) Frank Edward Streek, Napanee, Ontario, Canada, with business education from South Africa, immigrated together with his wife Deena to Canada in 1978. On their way they stayed for two years in France. In Canada Frank has been engaged in different occupations, from breeding pigs to financial business.

As a pensioner he started writing novels. It has now become 10 of them. Frank writes fiction, often based on his own experiences in life. No wonder that the topics often concern political conditions in South Africa during the apartheid regime, or incidents and characters he recognizes from his extensive war service at several sectors in Africa during World War II.

Click here and here for access to Napanee Guide’s review of Frank Streek and his authorship.

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