Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dances Around the Christmas Tree

Skansen in Stockholm is an open air-museum founded already in 1891 by Arthur Hazelius. The traditional Christmas has been celebrated here ever since and they have a nice Christmas Fair. When I was younger I used to work and sell things. It was nice but had the disadvantage that you needed to put traditional dresses on and they didn't really protect you from the cold. My memories are mainly that I was freezing all the time. Still it can be quite nice to come here for a visit some time in December.

The music I will share with you are from the 30ties of possible 40ties, I'm not sure. They are singing melodies for dances around the Christmas Three and the lead singer is Thor Modén, at that time a well known comedian appearing in many films. He performs together with Skansens womens choir. There are probably children dancing around the three as they are singing, that's the way it used to be.

The pictures shows a modern poster for Skansen, an old picture from Skansen in the 20ties and the third one, as you probably already guessed, is Thor Modén. There are many records with dances around the Christmas Tree but this is my all time favourite, it really puts me in the right Christmas mood.

Dans kring granen, part 1 (Dances around the Christmas Three)

Dans kring granen, part 2 (Dances around the Christmas Three)

Download the whole record in one zip-file.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Celebrate Christmas with Snoddas

Today it's simply impossible to understand how somebody like Karl Gösta Nordgren, “Snoddas”, once could have such a tremendous success. Of course it was another time in the early fifties when everybody looked at the same TV-channel and most Swedes still lived in the countryside.

Karl Gösta Nordgren was born in December 1926 outside Bollnäs in Dalarna, he died suddenly in February 1981 only 54 years old. The nickname Snoddas refers to the fact that his father sold condoms, he was named Gummi-Kalle (gummi = rubber) and the son was named "gummisnodden" (rubber band) or Snoddas.

He was a rafter and played bandy in the local team in Bollnäs. His first legendary performance was in the famous TV-program “Hylands hörna” (Hylands corner) named after Lennart Hyland, a popular TV-personality in Sweden for decades. In this program he performed the song Flottarkärlek (Rafters love). That started a "Snoddas-fever" all over the country and Snoddas performed constantly for a long period of time. In every place he had to sing "Flottarkärlek" that is still the most well known of his recordings.

But Snoddas also made other records and some have a Christmas Theme. "Min barndomsjul" is a sentimental song about childhood and "God jul, ni svenska sjömän" is about Swedish seamen working far away and sending them wishes of a Merry Christmas. Enjoy!

Music Examples:
Min barndomsjul (My Childhood Christmas)
God jul, ni svenska sjömän (Merry Christmas Swedish Seamen)

Boths songs in one zip-file.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A new chance to listen to Thore Skogman this Christmas

People have already been asking me to repost my favourite Christmas Songs by Thore Skogman. And of course I will do so.

This is what I wrote last Christmas:
In the beginning of December this year we got to know that Thore Skogman is dead. Quite a big thing in Sweden, I don't think there is one single person that can not sing a couple of his songs. The absolute all time champion of fast singing and incredible strange lyrics. A fantastic productivity - he made something like 1 000 songs during his life.

Nobody could write songs about so many odd things as Thore Skogman. We will never forget his songs for advertisements for loafs of bread, learning how to swim, eating rotten fish (Surströmming, a Swedish speciality) etc. Some of the best, and sometimes neglected, ones are about Christmas.

The first one, that I shared already last year, is "Julen är här". It tells about how people are eating too much food and keeps the doctor busy. Kids are fighting about presents, grownups are arguing etc. A tragic event worthy a native of the country known for many suicides, a musical companion of Ingmar Bergman or maybe rather Lars Norén.

The last ones are short songs for dancing around a Christmas tree, he made small changes in the traditional lyrics. If you wonder why the pig starts to fight it's because he doesn't want to get into the car just before Christmas. But suddenly they managed to take him to the butcher after all, sings Thore Skogman as cheerful as ever. Cold ham is a version of Kalinka, the Russian song, Kalinka in Swedish is close to "kall skinka" = cold ham.

* Julen är här (Christmas is here)
* Klappa på (Knock on the door)
* Tomtens renar (Father Christmas Reindeers)
* Två små röda luvor (Two small red hats)
* Skära, skära grisen (Cutting ham)
* Kall skinka (Cold ham)
* Så går vi runt kring ett julgrislår (So we are walking around a pigs leg)
* Ritsch Ratsch (Impossible to translate)
* Hej alla svin (Hello all pigs)
* Grisen börja bråka (The pig started to fight)

Zipfile with all the songs: Some people have problems with downloading the songs one by one so I also made a zip-file with all the songs. It differs a little as I decided to include the full versions of a number of medleys.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yngve Stoor - king of Swedish Hawaii-music

Yngve Stoor was playing hawaiiguitarr and almost all his songs are in the hawaii-style. He is mainly known for one song: "Sjömansjul på Hawaii" (Seamens Christmas in Hawaii). But the Christmas Theme is present in many of his other songs as well.

Yngve Stoor was born 1912 i Dalarna and died 1985. During the 50ties he often performed together with the finish vocal group Harmony Sisters. He had a music shop in central Stockholm towards the end of his life and there people could also buy his own records. There are two LP-compilations with Christmas Music, the first one you can se a picture of, the cover of the second look exactly the same apart from a green background instead of a blue. Yngve Stoor often used his own record label LANI, e g for his two Christmas Records.

Some music examples:
Jul i Norden (Christmas in the Nordic Countries)
Jul på Julön (Christmas on the Christmas Island)
Godjulvisa på Hawaii (Merry Christmas Song in Hawaii, this is a Swedish version of a song that originally was performed by Bing Crosby)
Sjömansjul på Hawaii (Seamens Christmas in Hawaii)
Julens klockor (Christmas Bells)
Fridfull jul (Peaceful Christmas)
Tre små ljus (Three Small Candles)

Another option is to download all the songs in one zip-file.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Welcome to the Christmas Party at Klubb Sunkit

Information for those living in Stockholm:
The Christmas Party at Klubb Sunkit will be Monday the 22nd of December at 8 pm to 1 am. Garlic and Shots, Folkungagatan, close to tube station Medborgarplatsen as usual. No entrance fee. We are playing records for an hour or two, all depending on the interest from the audience. Sometimes people are dancing and Magnus and Burt prefers to go on drinking beer, and then we play longer. Sometimes people are begging to hear the usual music played at Sunkit and we have to stop earlier. So be there early if you want to listen to really unusual Christmas music.