Swedish music, old and new

Published 19 May 2014 in:

Photo: Catarina Axelsson/MFA

Last Friday we arranged a big tourism event at the Embassy in connection with the official launching of Sweden Tourism and Cultural Center’s (STCC) new home page in Japanese. Several regions in Sweden, museums and other Swedish organizations were present, as were international air lines and Japanese travel bureaus. The purpose was to promote Sweden as a destination for Japanese tourists.

The day after, we had the pleasure to invite a member of the still popular, world famous Swedish group ABBA to the Embassy. It was Mr. Björn Ulveus, who was not here in person, but talking to us through Skype. He was sitting at his country house in the Stockholm archipelago with small boats and birds clearly visible in the background. Listening to him were representatives from the Japanese music industry and they could ask him a number of questions. One of the questions was how he and Benny Andersson composed their songs. What came first, the lyrics or the music? The answer was ‘the music’. First, they created the music to the song, and then, after listing to the melody a number of times, the text somehow came naturally.

ABBA’s last live concert was actually held at Budokan in Tokyo in 1980. I was working at the Embassy at the time and still remember how electrifying the atmosphere was.

Also present at our Embassy event was the relatively new and young Swedish group Dirty Loops. They have visited Japan many times and their popularity is definitely on the rise. If you listen to their song Hit me  you will understand why.