Midwinterfeast with the folk singers

Saturday we had a sort of combo-party. We ended the Autumn singing and marked a beginning for the Spring. But we also took farewell (for a while) of Kristin who is going to make Aberdeen her headquarters for the coming year. Good Luck, Kristin!

The day promised a dark, snowy and cold atmosphere and we started out by singing songs around the fire that we had lit at Gamlegården, eating all kinds of left-overs found on the shelves at the FPA HQ – glögg, meringues, candy, cookies, salty sticks, müsli… well, we didn’t serve the last one…

The songs were of course about darkness, fire and coal.

Later we moved into the house, put fires in the stoves and sang the most horrific ballads about sorrow, sickness and lost love.


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Everything must come to an end…or not?

Last Saturday the BaSIC-team had its last concert. The project have been going on since February 2011 and has now come to its final chapter. 18 youth and 4 leaders (and hundreds of people in the outskirts) have been involved in Sweden and at least as many in Estonia and Poland. There will be several more blog posts, since a report on the whole project must be written before the year is over. So at this point I will just summarize this last weekend.


The project management team….

The planning of the concert was made by Martin, Agnes and Julia, who worked as the core of a project managing team. They planned the program, gathered the youth, booked the venue, contacted the press, made invitations and posters, etc. But Saturday was not only a concert it was also, as usual, a day for everyone to have fun together; talking, laughing, singing, playing, eating Agnes’ delicious chocolate balls….


Emmie singing in Võrumaa keelt.

The whole day was spent at Slöjdhuset (the Handicraft House). As a leader I am totally amazed how all these youngsters have grown since we first met them in June 2011 – both as persons and musicians! The concert was excellent, high quality, loads of energy!


Agnes and Martin choosing ribbons

We got greetings sent from our friends and mentors in Estonia and Poland through letters, emails and funny video clips.


Kaisa sends a loving greeting from Tartu


A nice letter and a standing invitation to Tartu came from Ann Maria, Lõmas and Miina

We handed out ribbons (spelemansband), a songbook (made by Linnea B), diplomas and long hugs.


Woven ribbons (spelemansband) were handed out


We hugged A LOT!

Afterwards we were a dedicated bunch that spent the evening and night drinking glögg, eating ris-a-la-malta and Christmas candy, playing, singing Christmas songs and having a good time.


Tomtegröt at the after party


Night playing (both music and computers…)

This is of course not an end, but we will find new ways to continue with all the amazing people we have brought together.

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Macklamara! Back to square one!


When I started to gather thoughts and formulate this project in 2010 I had a first idea. It was about the common traditional music around the Baltic Sea and what it might contain.

My first and obvious thought was the music that sailors, merchants, militaries, travelers, must have brought with them back and forth over the sea. The “engelska”-tradition in the south of Sweden was an easy entrance into this area.

It turned out there was so much more! Throughout the project we have stated, over and over again, that exploring culture is not about finding the differences, but pointing out the similarities. And the more we spend time together the more similar everything feels. It is just a little creek that separates us…! We have found the stories in the songs and the 3/4-rythms are continuously appearing.

At the eleventh hour we are back where we started – the “engelskas”! When broadening the network we have met musicians in Warsaw that mainly focus on the Celtic music tradition, and together we have found similar types of tunes in Sweden and Poland. In Sweden they most likely came with the sailors 200 years ago, in Poland with immigrating workers.

celtic10In September we arranged something we came to call a “prestudy”. Tomasz Biela, Ewelina Grygier, Kuba Pietrzak and I met up at Barylka pub (where all celtic musicians in Warsaw gather every week for sessions) to exchange tunes. It all ended up in creating a day with music and dance workshops and a concert.



We named the project Macklamara after a jig from C.G. Tullberg’s notebook that is a part of the notebook collection of the renowned fiddler Ola i Skarup. A type of dance that has not in the 20th century been played in Sweden as a traditional folktune, but is still present in the notebooks around 1800. In Poland the szots, szats etc (scottish influenced tunes and dances) have been recognized quite recently  in the archives and we are so inspired that we will continue to look at these tunes and dances.



Follow Macklamara on Facebook to be updated on our project activities. There is more to come!


Posted in activities, archives, baltic sea inter cult, Celtic day in Warsaw 2013, classes, concerts, learning more, poland | Leave a comment

They are a golden link in the chain!

Funny, today I got a newsmail from the Swedish music copyright organization STIM where they, like last time, keep on cheering the music makers that are already in the limelight. They have scored hit lists here and there and they have achieved something that seems to be the only important thing in music life today – the have earned money…

But how about putting some light on our fantastic youth in the Baltic Sea Inter Cult project that keep on struggling passionately for what they believe make sense in their lives – playing and singing traditional music. When friends, family and sports coaches question the times they put into learning polskas by ear they just smile and know in their hearts that this is right…


They are the next generation that will pass on the tradition, an important link in the chain…

Read and listen to the interview the reporter Molly Berggren at the local radio station made the other week and start thinking about what music actually can be…

Listen to the interview >>

More and more young people play traditional music 

National costumes, midsummer and old men in traditional pants, that is a regular picture of what folk music is about. But today there seems to be an interest…

– That old picture is till vivid among most people. There are lots of young people that play folk music, but is only acknowledged among other people that are into folkmusic, they think we are good. Men it is not really communicated amoung other people. Most medias focus on other music genres, like pop and rock, Martin Nilsson says.

To Agnes Sjöberg traditional music has always been present at home.

– I am very influenced by my mother, since she has always been playing folk music. I can’t imagine a life withouit folk music, she says. She has played since she was six years old. Agnes Sjöberg attended her first folk music camp when she was six and already then learnt to play by ear, that is without sheet music. She believes the tunes settle better into her body when she learns be listening.

– When I learn by ear I look at the person the teaches me and try to listen and recoginze the tone. It’s like a picture or a movie in my head that shows what the fingers look like instead of the notes, she says.

At the moment Martin Nilsson and Agnes Sjöberg is learning how to play to dancers.

– Then you have to look at the dancers, how they are moving and really feel that you are playing for them. You have to try to lift their feet and make them move, so you almost dance when you play, she says.

Fler och fler unga spelar folkmusik 

Folkdräkt, midsommar och gamla gubbar i knätofs, det är en vanlig bild av vad folkmusik är. I dag finns dock ett stort intresse för … – Den gamla bilden lever fortfarande kvar hos de flesta människor.

– Det är ju väldigt många unga som håller på med folkmusik fast det uppmärksammas kanske mest i de interna kretsarna liksom bland andra folkmusiker som tycker att vi är duktiga. Men det kommer aldrig riktigt ut. De flesta medier fokuserar mer på andra musikstilar som pop och rockband, säger Martin Nilsson.

För Agnes Sjöberg har folkmusiken alltid funnits närvarande hemma. – Jag är väldigt starkt påverkad av mamma eftersom hon också alltid hållit på med folkmusik. Jag kan inte tänka mig ett liv utan folkmusik, säger hon. Spelat sen hon var sex år Agnes Sjöberg gick sin första kurs i folkmusik när hon var sex år och lärde sig redan då att spela på gehör, det vill säga utantill, utan noter. Hon tycker att låtarna sätter sig mer i kroppen när hon lär sig dem genom att lyssna.

– När jag lär mig på gehör så tittar jag på den jag lär mig av och försöker lyssna och känna igen tonen. Det blir som en bild, eller en film som man får i huvudet på hur fingrarna ser ut i stället för hur noterna ser ut, säger hon. Just nu håller Martin Nilsson och Agnes Sjöberg på att lära sig att spela till dans.

– Då måste man liksom titta på dansarna, hur dem rör sig och verkligen känna att man spelar åt dem. Man ska ju försöka lyfta deras fötter och få dem att röra sig och då måste man ju ha den känslan i kroppen själv också, att man nästan dansar medan man spelar, säger hon.

Länk till Sveriges Radio Blekinge >>

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BaSIC in the studio

BaSIC crew playing “Götharne”, a tune found in a notebook in the museum in Mörrum, dated early 1800’s. But the tune is also a known Danish drinking song. We are not sure how it went from drinking song to representing the goths…

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Time to leave some marks…

This weekend we had a recording session for some of the work we’ve done during the year. We arranged and recorded some tunes, but also looked at a couple of the old notebooks and brought a couple of tunes to life.


Food and music go so well together


Trying out the Kalasvisan with accordion


We need some fresh air after a night of playing and singing


The leaders (also known as Selling & Son) have their own time in the studio

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Wiosna – again….

It’s fascinating how spring comes back every year, eventhough the winter has been extremely long and cold. This people have experienced through time and year after year giving birth to all sorts of celebrations. Singing about the amazing return of sun, green and warmth.

So, yet another year we visited the Oj Wiosna Ty Wiosna Festival i Suwalki in north-eastern Poland. This year the theme was “duets” where young people were joined in pairs with masters, learning from their skills.

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Three workshops in one

Here is a film clip from Saturday’s singing course at Folk Practice Academy. We had three themes; rhythm (Kristofer), spring- and maysinging (Astrid) and Sailor songs (Kristin). Of course we had to do the sailor songs at the old shipyard in Saxemara, where the traditional boat club had there yearly cleaning day.

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Telling the stories

Saturday I visited Skånes Spelmansförbund‘s yearly meeting. I was asked to come and tell the fantastic stories about Baltic Sea Inter Cult and Folk Practice Academy. Agnes joined me and we played some Estonian and Polish tunes, and also even everyone our favorite oberek. It was a nice evening with good food, jamming and reunions. I got to meet two of my old fiddle and nyckelharpa friends that I used to play and sing with when being a student in Lund years and years ago.


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Martin revisiting Suwalki

One of the things we were supposed to do in Poland was visiting the schools participating in the Krusznia Academy. Unfortunately, there had been some kind of misunderstanding, because all the students were away from school, attending concerts…


But we got to do a public performance anyway, on the Thursday evening, the Krusznia crew arranged a meeting with launching of “Chwilę wiosna”, the documentary film from the Wiosna festival last summer and a small concert, as we wrote about earlier.

The session took place in the school building in the small village Maćkowa Ruda. We did not expect many people to come, but when we started at six o’clock, the place was crowded! There were approximately 40 people there.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/61347241]

 We started the evening by showing the film. It was really good and everybody seemed to appreciate it. We dreamt ourselves back to those wonderful summer days.

After that, it was our turn to enter the stage. We played and sang several songs, for instance some Swedish polskas, the type of tune, which as the name indicates, most likely originates from Poland. We also presented and talked about the BaSIC project and what we had experienced together so far.

Afterwards, we listened to our Polish friends playing and singing some nice tunes, but then the audience wanted more Swedish music, so we had to do many encores. We had not had time to practice a lot, and therefore we hade to make fast decisions on stage, we did not really know which songs to play…

Then we had a some time for a jam session before we left the place. It was a very nice evening, because the people were very interested in what we were doing and liked our music. Paweł, got many phone calls the following day from people who just wanted to tell him how much they enjoyed it.


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