Roxette graffiti on Stadshuset in Stockholm


by Eve Andersson

Home : Travel : Sweden : One Article

Radio-channel-surfing, I found that much of the music was in English. And the music that was sung in Swedish was not stylistically much different from that heard on American radio stations.

What good Swedish music is out there? Of course we all love ABBA and perhaps even Roxette, but how about music sung in Swedish? My friend Johan recommended Lisa Ekdahl, Lisa Nilsson, and Niklas Stoömstedt. I bought CDs by all three and I would have to agree that they are all good.

As far as vocal jazz goes, either the Swedish language is not well suited to the husky, sexy tones that jazz can require, or I just got unlucky with the CD I picked up (Monica Zetterlund: Det finns dagar).

Sweden is not known for its classical composers. The most famous is probably the 19th century Romantic composer Franz Berwald.

Philip and I went to a performace by the Royal Swedish Opera of Otello when we were in Stockholm, and it was quite well done. The only problem, of course, was that the subtitles were in Swedish. You should either (a) know Swedish, or (b) be very familiar with the opera you're seeing, otherwise you'll find it very difficult to follow. Familiarity with the Shakespeare's play, on which it was based, turned out to be inadequate.

Besides the folk songs that Swedes are so well known for singing, they can also be found singing a drinking song once in a while. Before you go, learn this one:

Helan går.
Sjung hopp fadarala lalan lej.
Helan går.
Sjung hopp fadaralan lej.
Och den some inte helan gå
Han heller inte halvan får.
Helan går.
[now gulp down your shot of alcohol]
Sjung hopp fadaralan lej.

The song means something like: "You have to drink the whole shot, otherwise you can't even have half a shot."
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