En visa vill jag sjunga - A song I'd like to sing
What is this video and this page all about?
During the Corona-pandemic Anders has withdrawn to "Äsisela" a "fäbod" in Malung, Dalarna province, Sweden. A fäbod is a small place in the woods where, in days gone by, people took their cattle up to the mountains to graze during the summers. A lot of beautiful music was created there to use for the herding, the social events and spiritual practices. It was mainly created by women who were the prime care-takers of the fäbod. Anders has during his time there assembled a collection of 12 local songs, mostly traditional but also newly written in the spirit and tradition of the place.
During the course of 2 weeks these songs will be presented on facebook for anyone to record their vocal version of and share on fb.
The project is open-ended, it could result in recordings based on the vocal contributions made by the participants, but there could also be concerts in relief as the restrictions caused by the pandemic are lifted and in gratitude and sorrow for those we have lost on the way.
Tuesday April 21
Lyft jorden upp mot ljuset! -
Lift up the Earth to the Light!
Our first brave entrant in our song-circle: Anna-Karin Nytell Oldeberg. Thanks "AKO"!
Amanda: Here is my contribution: with no make-up and soft tights, untuned piano, two rugs and the children's toys on the floor.
Wonderful, Amanda! That's when music is at its best. Because that's when we need it the most.
This is a “bufärdsmarsch”, a song used to “buffra”, trekking in the spring with the cattle from the valleys up to the mountains and the summer pastures around the “fäbod”.
One of my earliest memories is a sunny spring-morning when somebody called from the kitchen: "Dansar Edvard is coming!” The intensity of the call made me leave everything and run down to the kitchen and poke my nose on to the cold window facing the ancient village road. There a sight I will never forget; Dansar Edvard with his cows and goats on the way to Arvsela, his “fäbod” up in the Dalarna mountains.
Yes, cows can fly and sheep sing and goats play the fiddle! That’s how I remember the unimaginable parade. But most of all I remember Dansar (“Dancing”) Edvard ; a small, energetic figure hopping higher than the calves and singing louder than all the mooing and chirping put together.
And all of a sudden it was over, but still not, like a dream you can carry with you for days, yes maybe your whole life, yet lasting only a moment in your sleep.
I also remember that cold windowpane against the tip of my nose. The memory of wanting to be on the other side, wanting to join Edvard and dance away with the calves in this crazy parade of life – no matter where it would take me.
I think that cold nose-tip has surfaced many times since. And maybe it is because of that disappointing feeling of not being part that time, that I have followed the muse of music, dance and song many times when it has called me out of the warm kitchen and beckoned me to follow down roads I never otherwise would have dared to tread.
Dansar Edward was for me a myth already as a three-year old. Growing up he became more of an original but still ordinary old man living down the road. One of many characters of the village. When I in my late teens started to realize what kind of neighbours I had grown up with and my interest in folkmusic surfaced I went to Edvard’s grandchild and my school-mate and asked if I could come and visit. Sure, fine, when? Well, how bout after returning from my trip? When I returned Edvard was dead and buried. That cold nose-tip feeling again…
Now Edvard has released his first solo CD more than 30 years after his death. He has been declared a cultural icon in folkmusic-circles and become a myth again.
Thank you for the music Edvard, and more so for teaching me to follow it no matter what!
Edvard sang his own version of the “bufärdsmarsch”, this one was Päbel Britta’s.
In my childhood music world this ditty must have ranked as absolutely rock bottom. It was the kind of song that came up when you wanted something really silly. The lyrics didn’t help either: “Ô ve ska ful ut ô stsäl rovär, rovär ô röttär, ô röttär ô kål.” - "Let’s go out and steal cabbages and turnips."
The new lyrics “Lift up the earth towards the light" is, I guess, one way of trying to say "Let's lift up the cabbages" a bit more poetic. But it is also an homage to the old characters of our village Grimsåker, an attempt to try to lift up the ordinary, yet so extraordinary, characters and songs of my childhood.
But yes, it is still such a silly old song. And I love it for being just that.
Just like I do with Edvard.
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that I use for this project will all come from Äsisela, my temporary abode in the forests west of Malung. And they all come from photografer Kim Forchhammer. Kim is from Denmark and spends most of his summers here finding beauty – and distilling it – wherever he goes. I am so happy for his cooperation and generous contribution and that I can share the beauty of this place through his eye's lens. Kim has a musical link to the place as well, he lives together with Yvonne, daughter's daughter's daughter of Vickes Karin, the source of "I denna ljuva sommartid".
Wednesday April 22
This hymn has probably hundreds of different melodic versions. Each parish in Dalarna takes pride in having the most beautiful one. Malung has got a pearl already but one morning, as the sun rose over a
Den signade dag -
The Blessed Day
majestic landscape of forest ridges and calm lakes this one wanted to see the light of day as well. It draws from the Malung tradition but holds its own. Starting the day with this song will give you a good chance of having that blessed day you desire and deserve.
My request for an English version of this song fell indeed into good soil. Jennifer Ferguson came up with not only a singable text but a truly remarkable rendition of this song that lifts it up from the local to universal heights - and beyond. Excuse the qualitiy of the pictures in this live facebook event, but the feeling of the song makes up for it all. Or can we ask for an even better version soon?
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Thursday April 23
This one is special. Well, I know they all are – we all are – but this one sticks out. Many people remember exactly where they were when they first heard it. A bit like when the news of 9/11 or the murder of Olof Palme struck us, only the total opposite. Pianist Bengt Hallberg told me with eyes gleaming about how he heard it from singer Busk Margit, and nothing seems to have been quite the same ever after. I remember when I heard it first time in the back of an old GDG-bus, the smell of dusty brown-striped seats, the shiny metal bar in front of me that I as a child used to poke my teeth in when it suddenly jerked to a halt. This time I was a bit older, early teens and next to me was my brother in song, Åke Edvinsson, and he sang it for me and I go: What?? Can you please sing that again?
It captures that fleeting moment, that never-to-return-feeling of a day that passes. We can't hold it, it's too precious, we can only keep it by letting it go.
I give this gift of song to you today to hold preciously in your hearts. It will never leave you.
Kvällen stundar -
Evening draws near
Here's a contribution from Eva Rune in Dalarna! Thanks Eva, such a "blessed and pleasant a day".
And here's one from Martina Sahlin in Hälsingland! Thank you, so beautiful, I love that ending in the last verse, it comes from Dansar Edvards version of the song!
This one has to be in Swedish if not "Malungsmål"...
Det är fint med sånger från långt borta hemma,
och sånger hemifrån långt bort,
men när det blir sånger som denna,
faller allt på sin plats rätt så fort!
This version takes the song to yet another level: Mystic, Magic, Moving.
Thanks Jen for providing depth, beauty, diversity and universality to our local music, putting the spot on what still is a well kept secret for many of our fellow countrymen.
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Well, this one took me deepest into the night – seldom have I seen a more innovative nor absorbing video – but there I found only love and deepest comfort. I got this video in the first light of the morning, put it on repeat and soared like an eagle circle by circle into the new day. Thank you Anders, my brother on the Path.
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Friday April 24
A new challenge for a new day.
A small song that never has been sung before.
Who wants to be the first one to sing it?
And share it? The challenge is on. No one is more nervous than me.
Thank you Anna and Jimmy for so quickly and so gracefully rise to the challenge! How beautiful!
We are creating Together!
A new world is created when we can release the old through forgiveness!
Förlåt - Forgive
These English lyrics came this morning, when I saw the pictures of our little lake and the sun shining through the mist. And now a few hours later I get to hear them like this, transfigured, elevated, shared!
The quarantine turned to choraltime!
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Saturday April 25
In my grandfather’s childhood home this song was always sung at Christmas on this old folkmelody. The lyrics they sang were the traditional: ”To Bethlehem my heart hurries from the pain of the world on a peaceful pilgrimage.”
It goes om depicting the light shining forth from Bethlehem, from far away and long ago and the own heart and soul as rather dark and gloomy places.
I loved the music, coming as it does from my home village, and wanted to arrange it, but when I tried I could not, I was wrestling with the images, and the old heritage.
But then instead of singing in the beginning; ”To Bethlehem my heart…” I changed the preposition and put in a comma: ”In Bethlehem, my heart,...”.
And the comma, like a magic wand, moved Bethlehem from far away and long ago right into my heart! The creation of the rest of the song I remember with utmost joy. I wrote down the words swiftly as they were given and danced and sang joyfully after having at last reached my Bethlehem. It was never far away nor long ago, it was there all the time for the discovery, it only took a little comma to realize it!
The picture shows an old "fjös" in Äsisela, a cattle-shed with a wonderful light above it in the sky. My Bethlehem.
I Betlehem, mitt hjärta -
The Miracle my heart finds
A song about the innocence of the child. About our true Identity as a Christchild waiting to be born. No one I know could sing this with more authenticity and perfection than our Johanna.
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Sunday April 26
Var är den vän? -
Where is the friend?
The sights are too bright for me,
a mere mortal.
An arch of light
and color is the portal
through which I'll go
one day across the lake here
to meet my Maker.
This song needs that searching, longing not-yet-there-feeling to work. Linda, you are there! In that not-yet-there-place that makes this song so exciting. And you dare be there! That's maybe the trick. To be there already when you are on your way. Maybe that's what's called art. Of Life.
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Monday April 27
Day of Rest
This is the song-title that has given the whole project its name; "En visa vill jag sjunga - A song I'd like to sing."
It is a song worthy of holding the wholeness. In its original form it has thirteen verses; The first one introduces the rest and is the one you find in original as verse one in this score, followed by twelve verses, each one telling a tale of tales. The first is an account of the number one, as found in Scripture and Nature, the second of the number two and so on up to twelve. In this rendition I have elaborated on only the first number and its relevance. So there's more to come. Much more.
If the lyrics of this song are remarkable the melody is no less so. The truly original and exquisitely beautiful end-cadence which lands gracefully one full tone under the root gives the impetus to keep singing verse by verse.
This truly is a song of life in all its fullness. Or rather, in this version, of step number One in that grand scale of Life.
"A song I’d like to sing
of the tales the Scripture holds.
Please listen to the string
of events this tale enfolds.
Into this content delve,
to find a mystic saga
which all adds up to twelve.
One God, the omnipotent,
one Son has truly blessed,
with Spirit all abundant
to oneness manifest.
The deeds that God has done
too many to be counted
they all add up to one."
The shore that has seen and heard it all receives something new; Jennifer's version of the song. Lake Siljan, a 377 million old crater lake, listening in Silence (the lake's name is probably derived from the root of that word). The song counts the numbers from one to twelve, as found in Nature and Scripture, from the One Creation up to Twelve, where again "all returns to One".
Wednesday April 29
Jag är den jag är -
I am the one I am
"Jag lämnar ej mitt ursprung"
"I do not leave my source"
This bluebell, the "Dixtäpp-March", and the fiddler Joel Hermansson all have their roots in Äsisela.
Maria, the light is born out of the night. Early this morning, it still feels so close, before the light had arrived and the song-thrush, the Mavis, had woken up outside my window, I sat with this text. I started from scratch again, with a new angle and a new concept. And now, just a few hours later, I sit here and listen enthralled to your musical rendition of it. I did not think it held so much ... beauty. All what you gave it of life. Your life! You let it see the light and you will always, from now on, remain its God-Mother. I put this one in your hands. Take care of each other. In love and gratitude.
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Thursday April 30
Mitt farväl - My farewell
Jone Jonas Jonsson.
A name that bounces off the tongue like a piece of music. But the name is still nothing like his songs and the legacy that has survived him and will continue to do so, as the songs are imbued with a sense of eternity. The stories of the power of his voice can still be heard in his native Malungsfors. Every Sunday when ice did not cover the river he travelled by rowing-boat the 14 km downstream to attend church service in the Malung church. And Jonas would be singing all the way and the power of his voice could be heard, felt and followed all throughout the stretch of the valley as a call to its population to unite in song and prayer.
Jonas was called upon whenever there was a deathbed in the village. And he would never falter taking the people across that last stretch of water, one by one, carrying them on the broad shoulders of his singing, consciously and with great compassion. This is a song that has accompanied many people on their last journey, sung from that big heart in that big chest.
And it still reverberates.
May your legacy linger.
Mikael Zifa Eriksson comes in from another angel and adds another temperament with this rendition of Farewell. Zifa's high tenor, actually the first tenor on this site, has the lightness and clarity that gives this version a bouncy feel in all its gravity. I can't help but thinking about Dansar Edvard again...
Jone Jonas legacy lingers in Jennifer's singing. If not in form so in the deep commitment. It's a matter of life and death. It is that one instrument in a human's possession that actually can, and does bridge the abyss. The language we have in common with the angels.
All of life is a chance to practise that language already here on earth. Life's a choir-rehearsal for that celestial chorus.
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Sunday May 1
Gud går med mig vart än jag går -
God goes with me wherever I go
Marie from Trönö delivers a very touching and personal interpretation. The more personal the more general and easy to receive... Thank You!
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I have not got much to say about this choral, clad in the musical form of a "vis-polska", a triple-time dance-tune, 9/8 really.
I leave it to you guys to understand it and interpret it for me.
Again! Just as Maria Ähdels version on Wednesday of "Jag är den jag är" almost shocked me by being so different in tempo and feel from what I had envisioned; this rendition by Lisa Rydberg does the same. What I heard as a quite fast polska comes back to me so much more: A deeply thoughtful and serene "visa" which gives support to and highlights the lyrics. I added the word "dansar" (dance) to the lyrics quite late, I think I keep it there, but now I do not see the energetic polskespin any longer, rather the turns of a stately Saraband. To me Lisa brings together the worlds in her playing. It combines the rhythmic drive with that emotional maturity that gives her playing such a width, depth and hight. Thanks Lisa, from the bottom of my heart.
Now the onus is on the singers to match this! Looking forward to that...
Eva-Lisa from Vendelsö picks up on the inherent polska that is there (it does not need a second invitation to join the dance) and brings in the clarinet in the mix.
Saturday May 2
Vickes Karin (spelled "Vickes" in Swedish but pronounced "Vittsis" in Malungsmål) far right. Lydia second from left.
I denna ljuva sommartid -
In this delightful summertime
This journey is drawing to a close. To give way for another one to start. We are back in Guckubattsin - the Cuckoo's Hill, where the first frames of our first video were shot. Vittsis Karin and her daughter Knekt Lydia's place. And it's summertime. The Cuckoo is calling. Somehow it is always summer at Cuckoo's Hill.
My father jotted down the melody from Lydia and as he was leading the school-choir at Malungs folkhögskola at the time, they were going to sing it in unison at the graduation celebration in the nearby church. It was going to be the very first time for the melody to be sung publicly. But when they came down to the church to rehearse a bit before the celebrations, they had to wait because the church was cleared after a funeral that just had finished, and it had taken longer than expected. It was Vittsis Karin who had been buried. She just missed hearing her amazing melody performed.
Or maybe she was just sitting in that faraway "fäbod", where she just had arrived and where the cuckoo never ceases to call, singing her heart out...
One dark November night many years later, when Lydia was about to join Karin in a divine duo, I was sitting in the vicarage next to the church and as I was playing "I denna ljuva sommartid" thinking of Äsisiela and Lydia an arrangement came to me with such clarity and ease. The music just landed and I was happy to be there so that I could receive it. My opus one. I feel very grateful and indebted to these grand souls and skillful musicians from my heritage that I have been fortunate to cross paths with and from whom I then and still draw a lot of inspiration. This musical walk around the small cottages on the fäbod that I have taken you on in "En visa vill jag sjunga - A song I'd like to sing" is my way to give credit where credit is due. And say thank you from my heart by passing it on.
Ulrika Gunnarsson has delivered her version so embellished and flowery so it almost gets mixed up with the wallpaper behind her: Thanks, Ulrika!
This clip needs an honorary mention and a little medal. Beat this: Maria Ähdel takes the car from Falun and goes to Stockholm and buys herself an harmonium that she drives up to Äsisela, (a tour of 600km). Then she unpacks it on the shore of the lake, this time of the year mainly frequented by ducks and your odd Canadagoose. And then she records a lovely take of "In this delightful summertime" in the Äsisela version, while her cousin Martina peacefully swims in the water where just a few days ago, when we started to "broadcast" from here, the black grouse were dancing on the ice.
There she sets the benchmark for this round of "A song I'd like to sing"! Good thing more rounds are coming so that others will get a chance to challenge this iconic feat and recording.
There have been questions coming from people who in vain searched for "Äsisela"; is there such a thing, or is it a mere literary fiction?
Here comes a disclosure to shake you up a little: There is no such thing, it's not on the map. Not the way the Swedish "General Staff" who made the map looks at things. And if you can't trust the General Staff in these times, who could you trust?
There have been questions coming from people who in vain searched for "Äsisela"; is there such a thing, or is it a mere literary fiction?
Officially it is called Älgsjösälen. ("Moose-Lake-Seal") In one word they have managed to make three mistakes out of three possible, a feat in its own right one has to admit. It is not about moose, nor lakes, nor seals, even if I had to look twice when I saw Maria's video. But no, there are no seals in Äsisela.
But Äsisela exists. For real. And this story, which of course is easy to poke fun of, holds a great deal of seriosity if you take a closer look at it.
"Äsisela" literarily means ”forge-fäbod”, the place in the woods where you make iron. There are ancient remains of forges still there to prove the etymology of its name. Already in the Iron Age, when the province was called "Järnbärarland" (the land that bears iron) its export of iron to ”Romboland” (the spacious land, the plains) was a condition for the political and financial power - that ultimately relied on the arrowhead - to be established in what today is the area around Stockholm. The power was consolidated there and it remained there. And it is now from there where it's decided what these places are to be called.
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Vickes Karin never got a chance to hear her song. Others have. Here's a recording of a German choir performing it on Iceland. In Swedish.
Qaryn could not, like the thrush and the lark, keep quiet. Can you?
"Älgsjösälen" is a similar sounding made-up name created when the land was mapped as the name-giver from the capital city was not versed in the local language. It is a kind of sublime irony that the capital creates a romantic picture of moose and lakes, the kind of picture, with the sun setting in the backdrop, that you could buy in its touristic stalls. The iron, that glimmers in the arrowhead is not seen. The steel that still glitters in the heraldry of Dalarna's weapon is not seen, as the steel has come to glitter, enrich and protect even more the central areas of our Kingdom. And this is very much relevant still today.
The riches from these parts of the land, the wealth of its earth, the growth of its forests, the energy of its rivers, are they returning to their sources?
The riches from these parts of the land, the wealth of its earth, the growth of its forests, the energy of its rivers, are they returning to their sources? The woods are being plundered, but what do we get back? Just a few decades ago I could hear the black grouse play from all four directions when I stepped out of my cabin in the spring-morning. Today I only hear them from the lake and the adjacent moore as that is the only place the big forest-machines can't go. The number of grouse and other birds relying on a diverse forest are rapidly diminishing. The mines when not longer financially viable only leave big scares in the landscape surrounded by no-trespassing signs. The energy from our rivers, when the grandeur of its rapids and falls have been destroyed, are lighting up the cities. The Corona pandemic will change a lot in our society. One effect that I hope will manifest is a better understanding of the importance of the countryside. Of Nature. Of our Nature. A understanding of nature even in days when there is no crises and the rivers keep running and the forest keep growing. In order for the rivers to keep running and the forests to keep growing.
I will keep calling Äsisela by its real name. We need to track the flow to its sources. That is where we will find sustainability and peace.
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Sunday May 3
This journey of ours through treasures of song from the “fäbod” of childhood will end in a song of real transcendence. And with it we go out into the new world that’s waiting out there beyond the Corona.
Yesterday’s song was about the changing of seasons. This one is about the changing of the eons.
1. There were two white doves flying
up to the heavenly realm.
And when they came back later,
they had turned into three.
2. The first was God the Father,
the other was His Son,
the third One was a fiddler,
I think he’s playing on.
3. That young hand, he was playing,
was playing so well.
He played for such a long time,
till God He took His Soul.
4. Now I will drop the fiddle
and have more joy at heart,
my Saviour I will follow,
we’ll never be apart.
I remember how I in my youth was fascinated by this melody but at the same time I thought the lyrics were a bit embarrassing so I avoided it.
It was a prime example of how folkmusic had shot itself in the foot and let itself be influenced by movements within church and society that wanted to burn the fiddles on the altar of piety and modernity.
But then I spoke to Björn Ståbi. If anyone deserves the title Masterfiddler it’s him. It is hard to find any other individual who has meant more to the fact that the folkmusic-movement in Sweden has gone from being threatened with extinction in the 60’s to where it finds itself today. On his business card, if he had had one, he could have written not only musician and artist but also “wise old soul”. Today he sits at a home for old people in Ljusdal, bless his soul.
On one occasion Björn took me to a corner of his home Hörrgård and almost whispered to me about the lyrics of the song.
- You see, he said, this old text carries a prophetic message.
At times he hesitated in his narrative, as if he waited for me to fill the long pauses that appeared.
- This song talks about the grand shift we are experiencing. When we go from two to three and in to a time that looks beyond the physical parameters. A time that understands music, and not only blindly stares at the fiddles.
- And two to three?
- We will go from the dualistic thinking to a more spiritual. And in that shift the fiddler is important. It is culture that will take the story forward. The scientist starts to realise that it is not enough with facts. It has to be put into context and be rooted down in the culture in order to be operative. That is how societies fundamentally are immunised and made resilient. The new time also means that Science and Culture will come closer to each other when they realise their symbiosis.
- And the Father, the Son and the Fiddler, is that to go from the Old Testament age of the Father via the New Testament age of the Son and in to the age of Spirit, represented by the fiddler?
- Yes, you can say so: in order to tell the big story you have to be able to let go of the small. You follow tradition by risking to break it. In order for it to live it needs to be earthed into new soil. The tune needs to be alive every time it is played.
Our journey with “A song I’d like to sing” is coming to a close - for this time. But also to a beginning. There are so many unwritten songs left to sing. And so many unlived stories to listen to. Thank you for taking part in the choir and thus telling your story. But you who listened and read have also contributed, without your ears and eyes there would have been no song to listen to or text to read.
Now we go forward. We leave the “fäbod” and take the step out into the next circle of community. This one was just the innermost growth-ring of the tree, but the most primal, you’ll hear more about this later. First all the songs from this round needs to be arranged, recorded and shared. And then it is time to clear our throats and start to sing together. I would like to invite all of you who have contributed to these pages and on the clips to the “fäbod” so that we all can sing together, and share it with others. And then I’d like to travel around with workshops and concerts when the time is right for that.
Keep abreast with what is happening on this homepage and you will learn the when’s and how’s. We’ll let this page stay an exciting and creative forum.
Be the change you’d like to hear!
Mikael Zifa Eriksson, points the camera and the gaze "up to the heavenly realm". He has that intensity in his high tenor that makes that choice of direction seem motivated.
If you study the score carefully you'll find a quartertone indicated. If you listen to Eva Rune's version you'll hear more than one.
Malin Forsvall from Härnösand and Uppsala adds other colours and timbres to the tune.