Monday, June 11, 2007
Warm Up for Saturday
It's going to be a busy day next Saturday, with Tiny Toads, children's games, food and dancing, dancing, dancing.
At the end of the day we'll have everybody gather round the Majstång, the May pole, at the Heritage park. The Lindsborg Swedish Dancers, and the Lindsborg Folkdanslag will both perform, the pole will be raised, we'll march around it and then do Små Grodorna and Prästens lilla kroka and other songs everyone should know. These are called, in Sweden, "Stamsånger" or "Group Songs." According to the Swedish Wikipedia, these are the songs that everyone in Sweden should know and be able to sing. The songs include "Du Gamla, Du fria" - the Swedish national anthem and "Kungssången", sometimes known by its first line, "Ur svenska hjärtans djup en gång", a phrase I would not attempt to translate. Stamsånger include the Norwegian, Finnish, Danish and Icelandic national songs. That's like asking Americans to sing "O Canada." I mean, I like O Canada and always appreciate hearing it sung at hockey games, but I can never get past "O Can a da, my own my native land," and then I have to hum the tune. It's the same with "Ja, vi elsker detta landet", the Norwegian National Anthem. After the first five words, I have to keep the paper in front of me.
I can sing all of Du Gamla, du fria, du fjällhöga nord", both verses. I think I might be able to recognize the Danish national anthem. I have no idea about the Finnish or the Icelandic tunes.
So it's time to warm up for Saturday. Google "Du Gamla, du fria." The words are in Wikipedia in both English and Swedish, including a never sung 3rd verse, so it's a good source for the Swedish national song.
In the meantime you might also want to learn the final "Stamsång" of the evening, "Vem kan segla", "Who can sail without the wind." We sing it at the end of each Midsommar. There's a nice piece of sheet music with an English translation - though not the one we sing here, at this link "Who can sail".
You can also take a look at a little Danish folkdancing. Here's our group performing Danish sextur last Saturday in Wichita:
On the other hand, here's a Swedish dance group performing in Stockholm.
It's pretty short, but it gives you an idea of the difference between Swedish American folk dancing and Swedish Swedish folk dancing.