Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the kingdom of Sweden

I just got done practicing my fiddle and my fingers are raw. For those of you who have never tried your hands at playing the violin, it requires short nails. As soon as little fingernail starts peeking out above the rim it separates the fingertips from the fret and you loose touch with your fiddle, you lose your range of motion.

So, with music on my brain this afternoon, I was looking at Fiddler magazine online and I came across an article about the town of Jamtland* in the Kingdom of Sweden. I love Kingdoms, not that I'd actually wan to live in one. But, the whole Rapunzelesque idea of living in a pastoral Swedish Kingdom sounds very romantic to me. I've heard they make excellent cheese in Sweden.

Speaking of which, Sweden is home of the Smorgasborg. My grandfather (my Boompa) was of Swedish descent and I remember actual Smorgasborgs at my Grandparents' house when I was little. I didn't really make the connection until now, but it's something my parents carried on as well. Actually, I'm sure my family is not unique in our admiration and execution of the Smorgasborg; Americans seem to be quite fond of large buffet-style food-eating events. Turducken** anyone?

Back in the day (aka the 19th Century) Jamtland was full to the brim with fiddlers. Interestingly enough, at that time in Swedish history, the Church believed the violin to be an instrument of the devil. All of these fiddlers running around town developed their own tradition of folk music there and to this day, the tradition continues.

Every year the town of Jamatlan puts together a folk music course where fiddlers pass on traditional tunes. It's all played by ear so they've got to pass these things on to the next generation. I would totally love to attend this Fiddle course one year. How fucking awesome would it be to romp around the fields, living out my fiddling milkmaid fantasy with tulips in my hair and lingonberries in my pockets?

*The 'a' in Jamtland is supposed to have those two little dots on top of it. A Rickard Naslin CD goes to the first person who posts the name of those dots in the comments section.

**Valerie, I know you want it!


Fiddle*sticks said...

Umlaut :) รค

123Valerie said...

I don't think it's any coincidence that a folk-fiddle loving town is caaled JAMtland. Groovy.

And, yes, I would like some turducken. And Swedish Meatballs while we're at it.

Bork! Bork! Bork!

Anonymous said...

I too believe that the violin to be the instrument of the devil...

Except that I don't really believe in the devil so much.

Dots = Umlauts?