Svenska Låtar (Swedish songs)

11 05 2021

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Svenska Låtar (Swedish songs)

11 05 2021

The SAHSWI March 2021 meeting featured Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson, artistic name “Goda Vänner”, where they presented and and performed a program about Traditional Swedish Folk Music. Being American, learning Swedish Musical Language goes beyond learning melodies. Carol and Mary discussed and demonstrated how to sound Swedish in various types of Swedish folk tunes: Gånglåt, Vals, Schottis, Polska, and Mazurka. All songs are played by and recorded by Carol and Mary.


A gånglåt category includes a fiddle-tune in an easy, 4 4 or 2 4 march meter. The name in Swedish means “walking tune”, and the traditional tempo is that of a stately walk like a processional march for a ceremony; i.e. Midsummer

Gånglåt Äppelbo
Drottningens Marsch


Vals (Waltz) can be Relaxed or Quick, ¾ Time with emphasis on 1st beat.

Christina’s Waltz (Written by Christina Nilsson) – Relaxed
Fisk Vals


Schottis is similar to a Marching Tune; A happy, upbeat tune

The World’s best Schottis
Plog Anders Rattig


  Polska includes a wide variety of music. The emphasis is on 1st and 3rd beats and is often used for a Hambo

Wigers Polska
Boda Polska


  Mazurka has ¾ time – emphasis on the 2nd beat; The Mazurka dance came from Poland

Masurka Druttchikaleken

In the second part this program Carol and Mary discussed a meeting they attended about the Snoose Boulevard festival. This popular festival in the 1970’s was broadcasted all over United States, and also in Sweden.

Snoose Boulevard festival

Snoose Boulevard. The main street in a Scandinavian neighborhood was known in early 1900’s as “Snoose Boulevard”. In Chicago that was Chicago Avenue; in St Paul, Payne Avenue; and in Minneapolis, Cedar Avenue. In Minneapolis, on Saturday nights thousands of Scandinavians, Czechs, Slovaks, Irish, Germans and other Minneapolitans would come to Cedar Avenue and Seven Corners looking for a good time. They came to dance, drink and socialize in the bars, halls and theaters that lined Cedar and Washington Avenues. Swedish vaudeville at Dania Hall and the Southern Theater were major attractions. Scandinavians were the largest groups of revelers and many enjoyed “snus” (Swedish for a wet tobacco, enjoyed under the lip), which was often left on the streets after they went home. Cedar Avenue earned the epithet “snus gatan” (Snoose Boulevard). (Source: Augsburg Digitours)

Snus Boulevard Festival started in 1972 on Cedar Street in Minneapolis. Folklorist and musician Maury Bernstein organized in Cedar-Riverside the Snoose Boulevard Festival, a weekend-long revival and celebration of the songs popular along Cedar Avenue between the 1880s and early 1950s. There was dancing, and the street rang to the lively and melancholy songs of the Scandinavian pioneers. The festival was held to tell the story of immigration. In 1973, the festival was on 102 NPR radio stations. The tradition ended in 1977. (Source:

Anne-Charlotte Harvey, Swedish Immigrant, Lead Singer for Snoose Boulevard Festival has released 4 albums and 1 single between 1972 and 1986.

“Chikago (Chicago)” – Memories of Snoose Boulevard, 1972

“Nikolina” – Memories of Snoose Boulevard, 1972

At the end of the program Carol asked all the participants to sing along with Anne-Charlotte Harvey, for the Swedish Immigrants, a popular song, Hälsa Dom Därhemma, some of the Swedish immigrants really missed their home country.

“Hälsa Dem Därhemma (Greet Those at Home)” – Memories of Snoose Boulevard, 1972

If you want to hear or recollect more of these songs, search the internet for the album illustrated below.

The Life of Naturalist Thure Kumlien

4 05 2021

Like finding a rare orchid, Martha Bergland has unveiled a rare and important naturalist during the early settlement years in Wisconsin. Fellow Swede Carl Linnaeus, considered the ‘Father of Botany‘, would have nodded in approval at Thure Kumlien’s contributions in helping us understand the biological riches found in early Wisconsin” (Reference Tom Anderson, author of Learning Nature by a Country Road)

Saturday May 8 at 2 PM ZOOM meeting (US Central Time Zone). SAHSWI Board member and award-winning author Martha Bergland  will present excerpts from her book The Birdman of Koshkonong published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. The book describes the life of Naturalist Thure Kumlien.

Link to Join ZOOM meeting on May 8 at 2PM, no pre-registration needed.

The Birdman of Koshkonomg book is available for sale directly from Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Amazon, or your local book store.

The Birdman of Koshkonong

22 04 2021

Don’t miss the next SAHSWI ZOOM meeting Saturday May 8 at 2 PM. SAHSWI Board member and award-winning author Martha Bergland  will present excerpts from her book The Birdman of Koshkonong published by Wisconsin Historical Society Press. The book describes the life of Naturalist Thure Kumlien.

Link to Join ZOOM meeting on May 8 at 2PM, no pre-registration needed.

Thure Kumlien was one of Wisconsin’s earliest Swedish settlers and an accomplished ornithologist, botanist, and naturalist in the mid-1800s. He settled on the shore of Lake Koshkonong in 1843 and soon began sending bird specimens to museums and collectors in Europe and the eastern United States, including the Smithsonian. Later, he prepared natural history exhibits for the University of Wisconsin and became the first curator of the new Milwaukee Public Museum.

“With the same keen eye and careful study that Thure Kumlien himself employed, Martha Bergland lifts the enigmatic man from the specimen drawers of history, restarts his heart, and sends him soaring. The sacred brotherhood of Increase Lapham, John Muir, Sigurd Olson, and Aldo Leopold has a new member.”
—B.J. Hollars, author of Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds

Marjorie Jothen 102 years!!

20 03 2021

During the SAHSWI March meeting 2021 we celebrated with Marge her 102nd birthday. “Goda Vänner” Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson, led the ZOOM participants in singing “Happy Birthday” and followed up with “Ja må hon leva” on Violin. Then presented Marge with a fabulous birthday cake.

SAHSWI Past President Barbara Froemming spoke a tribute to Marge…

“This is a very special day! Our wonderful Marge Jothen is celebrating her birthday. This is not just any old birthday – this is Marge’s 102nd birthday. I’m not sure that all of you know Marge has been a member of the Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin since the mid-80s. She has always been a leader, having served on the Board of Directors for many of those years, and more recently, she served as President. Currently, Marge is our genealogy “guru,” helping our members who are searching for guidance in their family history pursuit, and also helping in the genealogy research room at Scandinavian Fests. AND, she has made sure our Society’s historical files have been properly maintained. I could go on and on, but let’s just say Marge has been a terrific role model, a mentor to many of us, and a great friend!”

Marge is 102 years young and has surpassed the Swedish birthday song, translated “may you live to be a 100”, a great accomplishment to stay young for so long.

Marge told her story in the 2019 March newsletter. “Between 1869 and 1892, my 4 grandparents, 4 great-grandparents, and 12 great-uncles and -aunts emigrated from Sweden, primarily from Småland, some from Östergötland and Dalsland, to settle mostly in Chisago County, Minnesota.” She has researched her family history and is the author of two books:

  • The Carlson Family: Sons of Carl Gustaf Petersson: Ancestors, Descendants and Emigration from Gärdserum, Småland, Sweden to Fish Lake, Chisago County, Minnesota, 1991 and  
  • Warme Swedish Ironsmiths: Descendants of Carl Werme (1711-1772) in Sweden and America, 2000.

In the article published in 2019 Marge continuesI’m proud of my Swedish heritage and have enjoyed learning more about it, traveling to Sweden 4 times and finding the areas of my heritage: Småland, Östergötland and Dalsland.”   However, researching Swedish heritage is only one part of her busy life:

  • Born in Minneapolis, MN on March 13, 1919 to Arthur Warme and Hannah Carlson Warme, when her father was serving in France, as a private in the 3rd Infantry in WWI. 
  • Moved to Milwaukee in 1921, and to Whitefish Bay in 1928 where school had program for music, art, and gym.
  • During the depression in 1930 Marge’s father lost his job at A.O.Smith resulting in difficult times. Marge explains We moved 4 times in Milwaukee before my father was able to borrow money for a down payment for an old house. Then we lived in a mansion on Prospect Avenue, my father got a job as a caretaker there and in addition to his salary, we also got to live there.”
  • Education BS in  Public Health Nursing (University of Minnesota) and MA in Educational Administration (UW-Milwaukee). 
  • Army nurse in WWII, serving in the South Pacific.    
  • Worked in public health nursing (Visiting Nurse Association) in Milwaukee for 25 years and advanced to Director
  • Continued as a Director in Madison for another 2 years responsible for the Handicapped Children Program.
  • Member of Swedish-American Historical Society of Wisconsin, Inc. (SAHSWI) for 38 years, served as Board member, Vice President, President, Historian, Julotta and Misommar committees and Founder and Coordinator of the Genealogy group

Marge is providing part of her heritage to the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. She is donating a collection of items relating to iron smithing, including rare iron muffin tins, a book including manufacturing and trade secrets of iron smithing written by her second cousin, and other items, which are included in exhibits by the Institute.

Svenska Låtar (Swedish songs)

2 03 2021

Please join the next SAHSWI meeting on Saturday March 13 at 2 PM via ZOOM featuring

Carol Gustafson and Mary Stetson, artistic name “Goda Vänner”, presenting and performing this program about Swedish Folk Music. Being American, learning Swedish Musical Language goes beyond learning melodies. Carol and Mary will discuss and demonstrate how to sound Swedish in various types of Swedish folk tunes: Vals, Polska, Schottis, and Gånglåt.

They will also discuss the Snoose Boulevard Festival held in Minneapolis in the early ’70s, and the early immigrant experience.  This Scandinavian/Swedish festival brought immigrant songs to life. Be prepared to sing!! 

Link to Svenska Låtar ZOOM meeting

Meeting ID: 828 5961 0407
Passcode: 450129

Facts about Swedish traits

7 01 2021

SAHSWI first meeting in 2021 was held Saturday January 16 virtually via ZOOM. After Society updates and the traditional happy birthday celebration the main topic for the meeting was “Facts about Swedish Traits” presented by board member John Elliott. 31 members attended the meeting.

Program description: The population of Sweden is one of the happiest in the world. In the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network World Happiness Report, 2020, Sweden ranks number 7. A high GDP per capita, an emphasis on social equality that is built into the education system starting in kindergarten, 16 months of paid family leave that can be split between a couple after a new child is welcomed into a family, and free day care also make Sweden the best country for women. Basically, an emphasis on work-life balance leads to a happier populace. Turns out feeling productive and rested leads to major smiles.  

Are the traits that Swedes possess make them happy? One of the key characteristics of Swedish culture is that Swedes are egalitarian in nature, humble and find boasting absolutely unacceptable. They are very athletic and hardy, very punctual, and they have everything exactly set.

John Elliott discussed many interesting and some unexpected facts about the traits that Swedes possess. Please find below the complete presentation.

Happy Birthday, Ja må du leva: Smörgåsbandet

Ja må hon leva: Sofia Talvik

God Jul, Merry Christmas

23 12 2020

“Julotta” is a traditional Swedish church service held early in the morning on Christmas Day. “Jul” is the Swedish word for Christmas, and “otta” is the time just before dawn. The tradition goes back to the Middle Ages, and everyone that could, attended the Julotta. In the Swedish Church Law dated 1686, it is stated that the Julotta should start at 6 AM Christmas Day morning.

The Julotta service has been a part of SAHSWI program for many years, held at the Whitnall Park Lutheran Church. The service this year is cancelled due to the Pandemic. Thanks to the North Park Covenant Church in Chicago a virtual service available through the link below.

Julotta at North Park Covenant Church

SAHSWI celebrated Santa Lucia Day virtually on December 13. During the ZOOM meeting a video was played with a traditional Lucia concert from Kungsholm’s cathedral in Stockholm, Sweden. Recently, our Society was contacted by Elsa Nilsson, offering a different rendition of a Lucia Concert. This is Elsa’s introduction.

“I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. I am writing with a Lucia greeting I am hoping you will share with your network. My name is Elsa Nilsson and I am a flute player from Gothenburg, Sweden, based in New York city for the past 10 years. Every year around Lucia I get incredibly homesick, and can you blame me? Lucia is my favorite of the Swedish holidays! As a child I would be in at least 10 Luciatåg (Lucia processions) every year, and I loved the idea of celebrating the return of light with music at the center.”

Elsa goes on to say that she and her band released an album on Lucia Day with the hope that it is able to spread some light in this dark time. You can listen to this jazz inspired Lucia concert through the link below.

Dark Is Light Is | Elsa Nilsson (

Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin wishing you

See the source image
Illustration “Gnomes” Swedish Christmas by Lars Carlsson

2020 SAHSWI Lucia Celebration

4 12 2020

The Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin traditional Lucia Celebration at Whitnall Park Lutheran Church in Hales Corners was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. Instead a ZOOM virtual Lucia Celebration was held at 7 PM, Sunday, December 13 (Lucia Day). 

Past President Barbara Froemming welcomed participants to the meeting and introduced incoming President Jan Ehrengren who thanked Barbara for the past 12 years of steadfast leadership of the society, and then presented the program for the Lucia ZOOM celebration.

A video including photos from last and previous years Lucia celebration was shown. Lucia celebrations have been held at Whitnall Park Lutheran Church every year since 1967. SAHSWI member Sonia Hummel has directed the Lucia Program for many years and she and her family has been involved ever since the inception in 1967.

The program included two YouTube videos, Lucia Celebration in Sweden introduction, and a Lucia Concert from Kungsholm’s Cathedral, Stockholm, Sweden.

SAHSWI board member, Karin Konrad, presented the history of Saint Lucia, and The Lucia buns, Lussekatter. Karin discussed Santa Lucia actually being catholic saint from Syracuse, Sicily, and why Lucia Day is a Swedish celebration.

The name, Lussekatter, means “Lucia cats” and comes from the way the scrolled buns looks like a cat’s tail and the fact that they are common to serve on Saint Lucia day.

The Christina Nilsson story

6 11 2020

A Rags to Riches Story – Christina Nilsson

“A Rags to Riches story” was the headline of SAHSWI member Carol Gustafson presentation at the only social meeting of the Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin in 2020. Carol, who is the great, great niece, presented the life of Christina Nilsson, the famous Swedish opera singer, who sang at the opening night of the New York Met in 1883, and was very popular in USA, Russia, UK, France, and Sweden. It is a story about a poor girl from a small village in Sweden who became famous worldwide.

Carol talked about her family ties to Christina and her recent trip to Christina’s homestead, now a museum in Sweden as well as her visit to the mansion Villa Vik and mausoleum in Växjö. Carol showed pictures of Christina including an illustration of her wedding with the French banker Auguste Rauzaud, and and another with her second husband, Angel Ramon Maria Vallejo y Miranda, Count de Casa Miranda.

At the meeting Carol and Mary Stetson, artistic name “Goda Vänner”, performed Christina’s signature Swedish Folk song: “Fjorton ar tror jag visst att jag var” translated “I think for sure, I was fourteen years old”.

This song is performed on YouTube by Mia Marianne and Per Filip.

Christina Nilsson in Kyrkhult

The extra ordinary life of Christina Nilsson and her genuine personality is illustrated in an article from Kyrkhult “Hembygdsförening” a local historical Society of Kyrkhult. Author Olof Jönsson’s article from their annual publication 1984, Vår Hembygd, is translated and provided here: (Kyrkhult is located in Blekinge, in the south of Sweden.)

Christina Nilsson Biography (Reference Wikipedia)

Christina Nilsson, Countess de Casa Miranda, (20 August 1843 – 20 November 1921) was a Swedish operatic soprano. Nilsson became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1869.

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