ANDERS SVENSSON - There is a category of fiddlers who are not keen to use great words to describe their music, and would be unlikely to produce a solo album if it were left up to them to bring about such a project. Musical shyness and actual ability often go hand in hand. This is certainly true of Småland fiddler Anders Svensson (b.1966)

He started to play the violin at the age of six, obviously inspired and influenced by his father Max Svensson - Riksspelman for Småland tunes since the mid 60s, and the family tradition rested heavily on Anders' shoulders. Besides, both his grandfather and uncle played the violin and his grandmother sang. It soon became clear that the young novice learned easily. Further improvement took place with violin teacher Lars Joneteg in Växjö. There were many miles of driving to and fro between their home in Diö and the violin lessons in Växjö during Anders' youth. This meant that from an early age he had one foot in the classical repertoire and the other in folk music. One day he would be rehearsing with the Växjö Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the next he would be playing with his dad and the blokes in the Hinneryd spelmanslag.

The catch with an early musical maturrity was the label of "child prodigy" that Anders had to live up to, not least of all in various official contexts. At the tender age of nine he played for the Zorn jury for the first time, making him one of the youngest performers ever in the history of the Zorn award. He became Riksspelman (master fiddler) at Ransäter in 1989.

So a not unfounded reputation surrounded the young lad who played difficult tunes at the spelmansstämmor in southern Sweden in the 70s. Often technically advanced tunes in keys with lots of flats! The inspiration for this type of repertoire derives almost certainly from his contact with Stig Andersson, who had recently moved from Halsingland to Grimsloy, Småland. As time passed he also developed an interest in lesser-known aspects of Småland folk music and in this context discovered the more unusual amongst August Stromberg's and Johan Dahl's tunes. Through Stig he also came into contact with the newly founded Skatelöv Spelmanslag, while at the same time, from the late 70s onwards he played for several dance teams in south Småland. During the 80s he also started a folk group at the music school in Almhult and he started to play with the Växjö music school folk group. Since the mid 90s he has been a permanent member of the Småland folk group Sågskära

In pure musical terms Anders has came a long way from the superficially complicated and technically advanced to finding depth and his own anchorage in supposedly simple tunes. In his case this means that playfulness and variation take first place when it comes to interpreting a tune. For Anders. it is almost unthinkable to merely play a tune from music, giving it a predefined and universally comprehensive interpretation.

Instead he has developed a style where he turns, twists and examines every nook in every quaver. People often talk about variation, but there are few fiddlers who can lend as much meaning to that expression as Anders Svensson. Here, concepts such as flow, and space also have strong connotations. Flow in the form of a feeling that the tune is always sweeping forward. Space, which in contrast to what you would expect, heightens the intensity - you don't always need to paint with the broad brush.

Magnus Gustafsson

MAGNUS GUSTAFSSON - is versatile musician and the folkmusic archivist at Smålands music archive. in Växjö, Sweden. For many years, he has studied, documented and carried forward Småland's tunes & songs. His knowledge and experience are communicated to a broader public by way of the many books and articles he has authored, lectures and radio interviews he has given and recordings and live performances he has participated in. Magnus is one of the founding members of the groups Sågskära and Höök, where he plays violin, bagpipe, hurdy gurdy, shawm and more. Magnus has made several trips to the USA as a performer and teacher of Swedish folkmusic and dance and is a major influence in the revival of the slängpolska in Sweden.


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