I Samma Bil

Bo Kaspers Orkester – I Samma Bil

Today was the Eurovision Song Contest, held in my husband’s hometown, Malmö, Sweden. If you’re not from Europe or happened to spend a year abroad there during school or something, you probably have no idea that this extravaganza exists. It’s quite the big deal there though and they have regional competitions to pick the one song/performer that will represent the country. Back in 1974 ABBA won with Waterloo. Were it not for Eurovision, they might have remained world famous in Sweden, as we like to say.

I have a number of friends who live in Sweden, most of them Americans who have Swedish spouses like me, and they have embraced the over-the-top campy nature of the event. I’ll see their posts about the preliminary competitions, Melodifestivalen, and who they’re going to vote for, who had the worst song or outfits, but come the grand finale of Eurovision, my Twitter feed is non-stop snarky comments about the schmaltziest acts Europe can dish out.

To my knowledge, Bo Kaspers Orkester has never taken part in any of that, but I wanted to have a little taste of Sweden to represent them tonight since Denmark took home the big prize. I like a number of bands from Sweden but most of them sing in English and I thought it would be nice to have something maybe a bit more Swedish. This video comes from another Swedish singing festival, Allsång på Skansen, which is held every summer in Stockholm. The whole idea is that everyone is supposed to sing along, it’s mostly songs everyone knows, people bring the kids, it’s kind of an institution. I think what might be the best thing about it is that it’s so beautiful there. And look, it’s like 9pm and it’s still broad daylight.

The first time I went to Sweden with my then boyfriend, I lobbied hard to go up to Dalarna in central Sweden because I’d grown up loving all of Carl Larsson’s paintings and Astrid Lindgren’s stories and I wanted to see places that looked like those. We had a friend from graduate school (where we’d met) who lived near there so we stayed with him for a couple of days and saw the sights. The first night we sat up talking and the Swedes all kept glancing at their watches and finally had to tell me that it was 1am and we probably ought to go to bed. It looked like it was maybe 8:30 outside to me and I was so buzzed from all the extra sunlight. One of my American friends now lives way up in the north of Sweden where it never actually gets dark in the peak summer time. Of course the flip side is that they have very little daylight in the winter. Which is why I always try to have our visits as close to Midsommar as possible.

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