Swedish music

Swedish music reviews

Swedish Freaks’ Favorite Swedish Bands

Recently I asked Swedish Freaks on our Facebook fan page to show off their favorite Swedish bands. It was a great turn out and I got a taste of some great Swedish music that I have not heard of before.

That day I ended up listening to all of this Swedish music. So I wanted to share it with you, the readers as well! Everything is embedded so feel free to press play and fill your day with some Swedish sounds!

What is your favorite Swedish band? Let me know in the comments below and I will add it to the page!!

Bo Kaspers Orkester – Innan allt försvinner

Händerna mot himlen (English and Swedish) | Petra Marklund

Säkert! – Dansa, fastän

In Flames – Alias ft. Timo Räisänen live Grammisgalan

September – Satellites

Alina Devecerski – Flytta På Dig

Anette Olzon – Falling

First Aid Kit – In The Hearts Of Men

The Tallest Man on Earth | Where Do My Blue Bird fly

Backyard Babies – Abandon

The Hives – Tick Tick Boom

In Nomine Satanas by Bathory

Amon Amarth – “The Pursuit of Vikings”

The Knife – Full Of Fire

Jan Johansson – Visa Från Utanmyra

Edge Of Sanity – Crimson

Deathstars – Virtue To Vice

Takida – The Things We Owe

Mando Diao – Dance With Somebody


Melodifestivalen

Melodifestivalen – The Song Contest

If you are a Swedish mum or dad, you know what you’ll be doing between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM, six Saturdays in a row, starting in February every year: you’ll be watching Melodifestivalen on TV. And three weeknights in May are also booked.

What is Melodifestivalen? It’s a TV song contest. Your kids and teenagers will be enthusiastic viewers of all the shows, quarreling about which artist to vote for, while you probably are assuming a more laidback attitude in your end of the couch. (And currentday’s wide use of cellphones has cooled down the disputes: everyone can have their own vote.)

The ”visual kei” performer Yohio won the first round of this year’s contest with a convincing majority of votes.  Looking like a manga doll, he is enjoying a successful career in Japan, representing the visual kei rock genre.  The Swedish composer, guitarist and singer is only 17 yo, born in Skellefteå as Johio Rehn Eires.

The ”visual kei” performer Yohio won the first round of this year’s contest with a convincing majority of votes.
Looking like a manga doll, he is enjoying a successful career in Japan, representing the visual kei rock genre.
The Swedish composer, guitarist and singer is only 17 yo, born in Skellefteå as Johio Rehn Eires.

The purpose of Melodifestivalen – besides the obvious entertainment – is to select a song to represent Sweden in ESC, the Eurovision Song Contest. The contestants are European countries, each represented by a singer with a new song that hasn’t been played before. The novelty is important: a competing song must not have been played in public before, and having been selected to compete in the ESC, it must not be played again before the ESC final events. The three final gala shows – semifinals and final – will be held in the country that won last year’s contest. And since last year’s winner in Baku, Azerbaijan, was Swedish singer Loreen Talhaoui from the city of Västerås with the song “Euphoria”, Sweden will be hosting the final shows in May.

Swedish singer Loreen Talhaoui performed the winning entry ”Euphoria” in the European Song Contest 2012, held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The song received the highest number of maximum (12) points of any entry in the contest's history and has been certified platinum 9 times.

Swedish singer Loreen Talhaoui performed the winning entry ”Euphoria” in the European Song Contest 2012, held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The song received the highest number of maximum (12) points of any entry in the contest’s history and has been certified platinum 9 times.

But before ESC, a new song must be selected to compete for Sweden. More than 2,500 new songs were submitted this year; 32 of these were selected by a professional jury to be performed in live TV in Melodifestivalen, and artists have been chosen for each song. Melodifestivalen is of course an important chance for new, unknown artists, but among the 32 singers are also many well known favorite artists.

Melodifestivalen starts with four live broadcasted qualification rounds, each with eight competing songs/artists, of which two will be directly qualified for the national final, and two for a “second chance” round before the national final. The viewers can vote for their favorite song with a phone call or a text message. About 500,000 people usually vote in each qualification round, and over 2,000,000 votes are counted in the national final. These figures may be exaggerating the interest; nothing prevents you to send 10 text messages… (A Figure for comparison: Sweden has 9,500,000 inhabitants.)

Even though the contest really is about the best song, the press will pay much attention in advance to the performing artists. That’s in fact the only thing to write about, since the songs are unknown, never heard before. And consequently the performances, with dancers, choir, lighting and possibly other elements, are also new. Media coverage of the event is frantically extensive, and on show nights, the Twitter elite runs in circles.

The first qualification round was held and broadcasted on 2/2/13 from the city Karlskrona. The winner was visual kei artist Yohio with the song Heartbreak Hotel, which is about Japanese ”love hotels”. Visual kei, or vijuari kei, (“visual system”) is a Japanese rock sub-genre characterized by visual components such as makeup, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often with androgyneous aesthetics.

The next three qualification rounds will be held in Gothenburg, Skellefteå and Malmö, followed by the ”second chance” round in Karlstad, and the Swedish final in Stockholm. The ESC main event, i.e. the European semifinals and final will be held in Malmö, May 14–18.

Among wellknown performers in the upcoming qualification rounds are singer/songwriter Louise Hoffsten, actor Rikard Wolff, singer/songwriter Caroline af Ugglas, singer Sylvia Vrethammar, the reunited group Army of Lovers, the one-purpose group Ravaillacz which among others contain wellknown singer Tommy Körberg,… plus many others.

 

Some more facts and trivia about ESC

The logotype for ESC 2013, created by the design bureau Happy F&B

The logotype for ESC 2013, created by the design bureau Happy F&B

  • ESC was started in 1956 by EBU, the European Broadcasting Union.
  • The first contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland, with 7 participating countries.
  • Over the years, Ireland is in the lead with 7 winnings, followed by Sweden, Great Britain and Luxembourg, all of these with 5 winnings.
  • The participants 2013 are Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lituania, Makedonia, Malta, Moldavia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
  • Portugal, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey are not competing 2013; their reasons vary from financial reasons to feelings of not being fairly treated. Also Greece’s participation is uncertain, not affording the registration fee.
  • Cyprus first declined participation 2013 but changed their mind when its citizens objected.
  • Each country has its own procedures for how to select its entry; some countries have already decided, but ESC rules stipulate that competing entries may not be played or performed prior to the ESC main event. Unfortunately, this means that the Melodifestivalen shows will not be available on the web (svtplay.se) until the overall winner has been decided.
  • More facts and trivia can be found at http://www.eurovision.tv/page/malmo-2013 (English) and https://www.facebook.com/svtmelodifestivalen (Swedish)

Now I hear you say ”Wow! I didn’t know that there are so many countries in Europe! But, but, Azerbaijan? Is that really part of Europe?” Aaah, no… yes. Most of Azerbaijan is part of Asia, but a small strip is considered to be in Europe. But EBU has a liberal view on Europe’s borders: Morocco is definitely located in Africa but has participated several times, and neither does Israel belong to Europe at all, but has in fact won ESC 3 times.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Vallmusik with Kulning

Hilary knows me as big Europe fan from Canada. I don’t mean Europe-the-continent; I mean Sweden’s own hard rock supergroup, Europe. But for the most part, whenever I thought of Swedish music, bands like ABBA and Roxette, or singers like Jazz’s Alice Babs or Opera’s Jenny Lind (a.k.a. the Swedish Nightingale) came to mind. Hilary asked if I would be interested researching the evolution of music within Sweden (yes!!) and so I set out to my local library to do some reading on the subject. After my librarian finished laughing – yes, SwedishFreaks, he laughed when I said I was “…looking for books on Nordic, Scandinavian or more specifically, on Sweden’s music history…” and managed to check with his computer, he said they didn’t have anything that could help me. So I went online and read Wikis and other articles I could find. I also found and read an amazing eBook that shed light on Sweden’s Art-Music History.

I found out that geography, religion and politics played a key role early on in Sweden’s musical development. While music from the Continent did eventually influence music within Sweden, it was a slow progress. Immigration certainly helped; those coming into the country brought with them songs, instruments and musical styles from their old countries. But Sweden does have a distinct form of music that can be traced back to medieval times with a connection to farming livestock….

Vallmusik/Kulning

Black sheep in SwedenLike the cowboys of America, who use a series of vocal sounds and calls to control their herds, the Swedes have their own form of music with very ancient roots called Vallmusik. It can be performed either with a Vallhorn/kohornet – a blow horn made from the horns of cattle – or vocally, which really interested me.

Vallmusik contains a special singing technique called Kulning. It is performed to attract the attention of the herd, to scare off predators, or used as a form of communication to let others tending to flocks in the area, know that help was needed. Kulning focuses on auditory signals (calls and sounds) rather than what we would consider as traditional singing using musical scales. It is sung at very high registers and for the most part performed by women, and is used to signal the herd to come back home after grazing in the mountain pastures all day.

Vallmusik/Kulning can be considered a true Scandinavian music form as it is also used in some parts of Norway.

Here are some samples of Kulning I have found on YouTube. Have a pet? See if Fido or Fluffy react to Kulning. My dog certainly did!


Getting that Big Fish

Wednesday was a very eventful day. Johan decided to join me for ice fishing. And either he is a closet expert ice fisher, or had extreme beginners luck. Whatever the case was, Johan enjoyed ice fishing!

Johan and his big fish

Walle Mellquist, the journalist from Norran who did the fantastic article about ice fishing, sent me this Swedish fishing song by Thore Skogman. It is about getting that bigger and bigger fish. Below are the lyrics in Swedish, translated into English.

Maybe this is what Johan was singing in his head. I need to memorize this song!

 

Lyric:

att fiskarn är stor i orden – that the fishman is big in talk
det vet vi ju var och en – that each one of us knows
han skrävlar så in i vassen – he boasts in the reeds
och skryter som bara den – and brags as much as he can

han talar om sina fiskar – he speaks of his fish
han glömmer så lätt de små – he forgets so easily the small ones
berättar blott om de stora – he tells merely about the big ones
som han aldrig har lyckats få – that he has never had luck catch

för när storfiskarn talar om – for when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han får – how big the fish he’s caught
ja då så skarvar han som han vill – yeah he twists the tale to what he wants
då räcker armarna inte till – that his arms aren’t big enough

och när storfiskarn talar om – and when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han ser – how big the fish he has seen
då vet man säkert att han tar till – Then one knows certainly that he has added
mycket mycket mer – much much more

när fiskaren ska berätta – when the fisher will tell
blir mörtpinnen lätt en brax – a roach becomes a bream
en abborre blir en gädda – a perch becomes a pike
en gös får han till en lax – a zander he makes into a salmon

en tvåkilos väger fyra – a two kilo fish weighs four
en halvkilos väger tre – a half kilo fish weighs three
sin tunga kan fiskarn styra – his tongue the fisherman can guide
och fisken blir stor av det – and the fish become bigger by that

för när storfiskarn talar om – for when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han får – how big the fish he has caught
ja då så skarvar han som han vill – yeah he twists the tale to what he wants
då räcker armarna inte till – that his arms aren’t big enough

och när storfiskarn talar om – and when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han ser – how big the fish he has seen
då vet man säkert att han tar till – Then one knows certainly that he has added
mycket mycket mer – much much more

rätt ofta så kan det hända – quite often it can happen
att fiskarn blir utan fisk – that a fisherman goes without fish
då går han till fiskaffären – Then he goes to the fish shop
och köper den över disk – and buys one over the counter

men sen när han börjar skryta – but later when he begins to brag
då låter det ju som så – it sounds just like this
ni skulle varit med – you should been with me
när jag fick en på fem och två – when I caught one at five point two kilos

för när storfiskarn talar om – for when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han får – how big the fish he has caught
ja då så skarvar han som han vill – yeah he twists the tale to what he wants
då räcker armarna inte till – that his arms aren’t big enough

och när storfiskarn talar om – and when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han ser – how big the fish he has seen
då vet man säkert att han tar till – Then one knows certainly that he has added
mycket mycket mer – much much more

för när storfiskarn talar om – for when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han får – how big the fish he has caught
ja då så skarvar han som han vill – yeah he twists the tale to what he wants
då räcker armarna inte till – that his arms aren’t big enough

och när storfiskarn talar om – and when the big fisherman speaks of
hur stora fiskar han ser – how big the fish he has seen
då vet man säkert att han tar till – Then one knows certainly that he has added
mycket mycket mer – much much more

Hilary in the paper