Jul i Folkton concert

We were lucky to get special student-price tickets for this show, using a super-secret code that finally materialized after several rounds of followup questioning. I went with Matilda; ‘most everyone else had already headed home for the holidays. This concert is an annual gig (a tradition! touring to several cities) for a high-power lineup of luminaries in the folk scene — Ale Möller, Lena Willemark, Esbjörn Hazelius, Roger Tallroth, Lisa Rydberg, and Olle Linder, with this year’s special guest Louise Hoffsten (who is mostly active in rock, blues and pop). It seems like the audience is predominantly not folkies, though, perhaps not least because the cheap seats run about $70. It actually felt a little weird to be at UKK in a context where we weren’t all carrying our nyckelharpas.

Evidently folk music concerts require smoke machines and fancy lighting changes — saw this in Linköping and it was the same deal here. This time, though, we also got nice candle lanterns on the front of the stage to make it look folk-y and xmas-y. The two aesthetics make for an interesting combo. Personally I find any of these players just as brilliant when they are not in a cloud of blue smoke.

I enjoyed the concert. There were definitely stunning performance bits, and the whole show was highly polished. I was a little disappointed, especially in the first half, that the whole production seemed a little light on both the Jul and the Folk — it felt more pop-y and folk-lite, especially after I’d been primed by Ulrika Bodén’s concert. But these Swedish folk musicians sure take their multi-instrumentalism seriously: it was most entertaining to watch Ale play umpteen instruments (sometimes two simultaneously or nearly so), though everyone else put in an impressive effort in that department too. Anyone else ever seen Lena play a drum set? Also fascinating to see the skillfully orchestrated stage changes between whole-group and smaller-group numbers.

Other memorable bits: I’d not encountered Olle Linder before and was much impressed, even before we got to the surprise hambone number. Ale told a funny poignant story about how, when he was 8, he hit upon the xmas gift idea of crocheting a nose-warmer for his grandpa, which was then not received with anything like the appreciation he’d hoped. There was a reading of listener-submitted limericks, some of which evidently won their creators a free ticket to the show.

Pics are kinda blurry because we were way up in the balcony.

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