It seems that music really is universal.
Performance at pre-Orebro Day student event.
Those who know me know I love music. One of the things I was most curious about, was what music I would find during my stay in Sweden. I found a “Sweden Top 40” station on Spotify and listened to it a few times before leaving the States. Swedish Top 40 sounded surprisingly similar to USA Top 40, adding a good amount of Swedish electronica. So I was expecting to find a combination of American pop and hip-hop with variations on tunes from the old SNL Sprockets skit (“And now, we dance”). What I have discovered, is that while they do enjoy a playlist that would make Dieter proud, there is a rich and varied music scene here that spans many genres.
One of my first outings when I arrived was to a free outdoor concert featuring the Swedish group Dirty Loops. When my Brazilian housemates invited me to come along and hear a “Swedish funk fusion band”, I admit I was skeptical. But I figured it’s free, why not? When we arrived the band was playing a Stevie Wonder cover that frankly blew me away. The entire show was so fantastic I couldn’t believe it was a free concert. Check them out on FB (https://www.facebook.com/dirtyloopsofficial) or possibly live in concert, as they play all over the world.
I was also lucky enough to capture a group called Capone during a University event. Made up of university students, they perform Swedish a Capella music with great harmonies and good humor thrown in.
On the walk back from that same event with the Red House Crew (my housemates), we stumbled upon Frankie King and the Blue Spots playing at a local outdoor pub in the city center. Of course, we had to stop for, um-refreshments, and take in the music. Being from Chicago, a blues town, it was quite surreal to hear the blues in Swedish. Even with a language barrier, there is no mistaking the rhythm of the blues. Their performance was more than worth the price of a few drinks. (https://sv-se.facebook.com/FrankieKingTheBlueSpots)
One of the best things about living with music students, is getting the benefit of all the practicing and special performances they do. In their first concert, they performed traditional Swedish music with Swedish students and professors from the music school. Take a listen here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202823224403556 (Thanks to Wanderson Bonfim for sharing this video)
A few evenings ago I attended a concert, Saxofonefest, by the Svenska Kammarorkestern (Swedish Chamber Orchestra). In addition to pieces by Stravinsky and Schubert, The RaschÑr Quartet was featured performing Five Movements for Saxophone Quartet by Elena Kats-Chernin. The Hjalmar Bergman Theater where the concert was held is a smaller venue, but has great seating and fantastic acoustics. I was in the second to last row and had a perfect view of the stage.The orchestra and the quartet were excellent, and I hope to get back and see another performance before heading home to the US.
I’ve learned that Sweden, like the US, has a cornucopia of music to enjoy. Classical, pop, blues, traditional, fusion and even the pulsing electronica I hear wafting across campus from the student union about once a week. It seems that music really is universal.