Linköpings folkmusikfestival

Most of our class went to Linköping for a grand weekend of music festival excesses.

I am pleased to report that the Tobo spelmanslag (9 of our 11 course members) played really well! We’ve been rehearsing hard for about three weeks (including most evenings for the last couple of weeks), selecting three tunes we’ve learned together and putting together arrangements. We played our 10-minute set at midnight (the Friday schedule went to 3am), and I was really proud of how well everyone pulled together, even/especially the ones who were nervous onstage. We’d been predicting the usual tempo escalation in the heat of the moment, but we managed to hold them all right where we’d intended. Go, team!

There were so many great concerts to go see that there was hardly time to go dance or play. Some favorites:

  • Hazelius/Hedin, an impressively tight duo, plus you get oktavharpa together with oktavmandolin.
  • Nordic Dance, a Swedish/Norwegian collaborative youth project featuring a handful of stellar musicians and a half-dozen great dancers from each country (of whom one is our dance-course classmate David!), with an elaborately choreographed series of vignettes featuring a variety of dances from Nordic countries.
  • Ola Bäckstrom / Per Gudmundsson / Jon Holmén. Master players from Dalarna, tight settings in 1-2-3 voices. It was like the best facets of listening to the Ola+Per CD, but in 3D, as it were. Ola was playing a 5+4 string fiddle, bottom string tuned up to D, sympathetics at D F# G A.
  • This Is How We Fly, folk/improv with 5+5 string fiddle and percussive dance and clarinet and percussion. This is some of what Caoimhín is up to now.

Favorite dance sets: Björnlert/Pekkari/Hedin, who should make a CD together so I can buy it. Jeanette Eriksson / Mats Berglund. Though, things were even tougher on the dance-partnering front than usual, I thought. (Number of skilled dancers not in my class who I managed to dance with: zero. Lucky thing Andrea is such a great dancer!) The Orsa spelmanslag also plays great dance music, and I popped briefly into a session that had Maria Röjås and an assortment of other folks tralling (singing) for dance.

Andrea coordinated the carpool logistics for the whole class, which turned out to be a somewhat complicated job. It wasn’t clear until the last minute how many cars going to go, how many people were preferring to go by train, whether there would be trunk space for instruments/bedding for any of the train travelers,… As it happened, we both rode down with Alma, picking up one passenger in Uppsala on the way there and returning both him and another on the way back.

Our lodgings were a third-floor classroom in a nearby school, about a 20-minute walk from the venue. Fortunately, Andrea and I had managed to borrow sleeping bags and mats in time (thank you Petra!), despite having accidentally forgotten all about the question until a couple days before the festival. Our room stayed pleasantly quiet — I was in bed nice and early by 3-3:30a both nights, didn’t hear a peep out of the later arrivals (the earplugs may have helped).

Rainy weather here seems especially rainbow-prone. We saw several on the way down, and one of the two on the way home was extraordinary: a full arc, doubled immediately within through a large segment of the top, and with a second fainter outer arc for a swath of the left side. The part that was most surprising was that I am accustomed to seeing rainbows that appear to end somewhere off in the distance — this was the first time I’ve seen one with color so strong that its ends appeared in front of the trees in the near distance. Sadly there was no good place to pull over and attempt a photo, so y’all will just have to imagine it for yourselves.

This entry was posted in ESI, Journal. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Comment