Spelträff i Grillby

On Sunday I had my first spelträff (play date) with Alice, the buttonbox player we met at the Byss-Calle stämman last month. She is, it turns out, the only woman riksspelman on durspel (two-row button accordion) today. When someone asked me recently what’s been the most fun thing that’s happened since I got to Sweden, this day with Alice was what popped to mind.

Grillby is a tiny town near Enköping, so to get there I took the train to Uppsala, then changed to a bus, and she scooped me up from the nearest bus stop and drove the last 10 minutes. (During my half-hour of changing vehicles in Uppsala, I high-tailed it for the Apoteket and bought myself a hot water bottle, yaay!)

Alice introduced me to her husband Lars and showed me around their lovely home. I was entertained to see that the music room is so full of accordions that one now needs to play in the living room instead. We had both wondered a little beforehand whether we’d have much common repertoire, but it turns out we have a lot of shared musical interests. When I had a tune she didn’t know, she could usually trade me for a story about its composer, and sometimes vice versa. But more importantly, she’s a deeply musical player with a strong sense of what it means to play for dancing, and we had a fabulous time getting started with playing together.

(Obscure point of interest, for those few of you who also learned Emil Olsson’s tune Fiolbacken from Stefhan, or from me: it’s named for the street where Emil lived in Uppsala.)

We also spent quite a lot of time talking — about tunes, players current and past, philosophies,… I was ever so pleased to discover that I could actually make it through the entire day in Swedish — with of course occasional explanations or translations, but only a very few lapses into English. It’s great to have friends who can help beginning language speakers! Plus, great food, sharing of CDs and music books and YouTube videos of favorite players,… it was a lovely day.

Also this past week:

  • Leif invited Andrea and me to a session Tuesday at his friend Arne’s house in Tobo, so we walked over there and joined them and a couple of their regular fiddle buddies for some tunes. Plus, Andrea made friends with a cute new dog.
  • Wednesday was our first class with Mia, and it was way fun. 5-string fiddles, woo hoo!
  • We had an intimate but festive birthday party for Ursula. There were even blueberries, because Alma had just picked lots. We discussed the finer points of singing to wish someone another 100 years when they are already 97. (Not Ursula, she’s only 6.)
  • The sauna in the main house is now in season, lack of snow notwithstanding.
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