Scene from classic Swedish film, The Emigrants

Easter Sunday

Scene from classic Swedish film, The Emigrants

Scene from classic Swedish film, The Emigrants

As we have a six year old in the house, and as it was Easter Sunday (read easter eggs) no one had much of a chance to sleep in this morning. For a six year old, Easter lacks the excitement of Christmas Day, but the idea of an Easter Egg Hunt is still enough to get him up early.

For the rest of us, it’s been a day of doing nothing much at all, though we did watch a couple of movies together, includng Bran Nue Dae which emerged as a family favourite. Although I’ve been “wanting” to see it for quite some time I never have gotten around to it, mostly due to the limited cinema release, and because I never hire videos any more. My sister does, and she hired it a few months ago, and loved it so much she thought it would be great family viewing. And indeed it was. A great story with a sense of humour, wonderful music, and very well-told.

The other movie a few of us watched today was a replay of “Paper Giants” which I wrote about last week.

And all by myself I watched “The Emigrants” the classic 1970s Swedish drama which screened this afternoon on commercial television station, GEM. “Wow”, I thought to myself when I saw it in the program guide. Prior to Bjorn and Benny’s composition of the musical, “Kristina fran Duvemala”, I had no idea of the movie, the books, nor of the immigration to the United States of something like 25% of the Swedish population during the nineteenth century.

As a film, I don’t think it’s dated all that well, unfortunately, as there are moments when the acting is a little wooden. Still, it was an interesting historical document and still quite entertaining to watch. The best known names in the film included Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman, but I was also impressed to see the Swedish jazz legend, Monica Zetterlund play the role of Ulrika.

The only disconcerting thing I found in watching the film was that it was dubbed, not subtitled. The dubbing was very good, but it was still recognisable, particularly in one scene where Robert went from his dubbed English into real English (with a strong Swedish accent).

So, as you can see, it’s that kind of Easter Sunday. Chocolates and film.

Meanwhile, we’re having gorgeous weather in Lismore.

Performing on Så mycket bättre is Barbro aka Lill-Babs Svensson

Så mycket bättre

Performing on Så mycket bättre is Barbro aka Lill-Babs Svensson

Performing on Så mycket bättre is Barbro aka Lill-Babs Svensson

For the last few months I’ve been watching bits and pieces on Youtube of a Swedish TV show called “Så mycket bättre” (literally, “So Much Better”), a television program where famous Swedish musicians perform the songs of other Swedish musicians.

My attention was first brought to the show by the performance and hit song, “Mikrofonkåt” by September. It was a dance cover version of a rap song by Swedish performer, Petter. The song became a number one hit for several weeks in Sweden. The song has since been translated into English, and will soon be released internationally. I absolutely loved the associated video clip which featured September singing her version of Petter’s original song to him (and to see him sing a long to the song).

But tonight I’ve been watching some other clips from the program which featured a range of Swedish musical legends, as well as some new performers including: Lasse Berghagen, Barbro “Lill-Babs” Svensson, Petter Askergren, Thomas Di Leva, September, Christer Sandelin (from Freestyle) and Plura Jonsson.

The program is a “reality show” in the sense that, according to Wikipedia… “The artists spend eight days together at a hotel in Gotland, Sweden, where each person has a day dedicated to themselves with the other artists performing cover versions of his or her songs. A compilation album was released on December 1, 2010 as CD, digital download and on Spotify.”

As you watch the video clips on Youtube, you see the people are in an old stone house when they perform together.

The two clips which have touched me most tonight have been songs by Petter and Lasse Berghagen.

Although I was aware of Petter doing a version of “Stockholm i mitt hjärta” (a song made famous by Lasse Berghagen as the theme for “Allsang pa Skansen”, the legendary Swedish TV show), I wasn’t aware until tonight that Lasse had responded with a version of “Längesen” by Petter, a song which I really love very much.

The lyrics for Längesen, which I mentioned a few months ago, about a relationship in youth and reflected on many years later are particularly poignant, delivered by an older man (Berghagen)…

“Du var gammal
Jag var äldre
Och nu sågs vi igen
Gått så lång tid så länge sen
Decennier tillbaka
Men jag minns det såväl
Varför kärleken brunnit
Utav olika skäl
Varje gång är som den första gång vi sågs
Även om det är över nu
Allting har förändrats
Men du finns kvar
Allt var svävande men nu så ser ja klart
Jag var ung du var yngre
När vi sågs första gången
Rusade förbi mig snabbt på perrongen
Blev hjälplöst förälskat
Obeskrivligt tagen
Som om jag låg ner på marken och blev slagen
Varje gång är som den första gång vi sågs
Även om det är över nu
Allting har förändrats
Men du finns kvar
Allt var svävande men nu så ser ja klart”

which translates – very roughly – as…

“You were old
I was older
And now we are again
It’s been a long time, long time since then
Decades come back
But I remember it well
Then why has our love burned?
There are different reasons
Every time is like the first time we met
Even thought it is over now
Everything has changed
But you are left (behind)
Everything was suspended, but now I see clearly
I was young, you were younger
When we were together the first time
You rushed past me quickly on the platform
I became helplessly in love
Indescribably taken
It was if I lay down on the ground wand became beaten/smitten (?)
Every time is like the first time we met
Even thought it is over now
Everything has changed
But you are left (behind)
Everything was suspended, but now I see clearly”

And then Petter does a version of “Stockholm i mitt hjärta” which translates as “Stockholm in my heart” which was and is the theme song for the popular television program, “Allsång på Skansen” (literally “Sing Along at Skansen”) which is a bit of a love song about Stockholm as a city.

“Stockholm i mitt hjärta, jag besjunger dig min vän
-samma, samma, du ska brinner igen”

“Stockholm in my heart, I serenade you my friend
-the same, the same same, you will burn again”

So anyway, I hope you liked the clips, because I think they’re both quite special.

And what a lovely idea for a television show. It sure as hell beats the crap that was delivered up tonight on “free to air” television in Australia.

P3 Svea

Why I Love P3-Svea

It was a so-so day at work, and so the first thing I did when I walked in the door – actually, the second thing I did, since the first was grab a glass of wine – was tune in to P3 – Svea.

P3 – Svea is an internet only radio station that only plays “ung svensk musik” (literally “young” but really they mean “new Swedish music”). It’s a reasonably eclectic – and therefore unpretentious – mix within the pop music genre, so you’re likely to hear everything from folk-inspired indie pop to rap and dance.

Thanks to P3, I’ve discovered a whole bunch of Swedish artists I would never have heard of just by following the charts.

The latest discovery tonight was a song called “Arrest Me ’til It Hurts” by a band (? – there’s only one bloke in the clip) called Deportees. The lead singer’s vocal style ranges from Prince to Chris Norman of Smokie.

Deportees – Arrest Me ’til It Hurts [Official Video]

It’s an interesting combination that works, especially with that great Swedish pop sensibility that’s made Sweden one of the world’s top music export nations. Wikipedia notes “The Consulate General of Sweden states they are the third biggest exporter of music in the world, after the United States and the United Kingdom”

Thanks to P3, I’ve discovered some other great performers, including Johan Brogert, Petter and Oskar LInnross, all of whom sing in Swedish.

Oskar Linnros – Från Och Med Du

Petter – Gör Min Dag feat. Magnus Carlson

Smalfilm – Johan Borgert

As the playlist notes, however, there’s an increasing number of Swedish performers who only sing in English, though others like Annika Norlin manage to combine both English and Swedish language careers. I discovered her Swedish language band Säkert! also thanks to P3 – Svea.

The station has no announcers: it’s an automated station that just plays music.

So yeah… a big thumbs up to Swedish Radio (SR) generally, and P3 Svea specifically for keeping me entertained and informed.