Sahlström exhibit

Field trip! The exhibit that was assembled in honor of Eric’s 100th birthday is still in place at the Upplandsmuseet, and we’d been looking forward to going to see it together. The spelklass had spent an afternoon session with Sonia a couple weeks earlier to talk about Eric, look at old photos, listen to some recordings, and watch some video footage; it was nice to have that extra background before seeing the exhibit. (Plus, it never hurts to hear some of the same content twice when it’s all in Swedish.) Sonia met us at the museum and gave us a guided tour, which was fascinating since of course she is very much a part of her dad’s story.

The picture Sonia paints is of a very modest man who never sought the spotlight, but who was able to pursue his music so fully in large part because of being championed by others. She cites especially his wife, who made it possible for him to be away so often playing music when she might reasonably have wished him to be home helping with the small farm, and Gösta Sandström, his longtime music partner, whose hard work brought in funding and recognition and a great many playing opportunities. I especially enjoy picturing Eric and Gösta representing Swedish folk music on a 5-week Soviet tour in 1956, as part of a small delegation of Swedes: opera singers, ballet dancers, circus artists, and… two nyckelharpa players!

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