I’d been waffling about when to schedule this trip to Sweden. The opportunity to join an ensemble class taught by Mia & Micke Marin provided the impetus for committing to these August dates: Mia had posted an invitation on the same day I was determined to make a decision. I’d also never been to the famous Malungs Folkhögskola. During this summer week of classes, there were programs for ensemble, fiddle, singing, dance, and blacksmithing. We also overlapped with a longer-running Swedish language course that draws mostly college-aged folks from all across Europe.
As always, I enjoyed getting to work with Mia & Micke. They had prepared arrangements for a whole slew of tunes: we ended up learning 6 of them, plus an additional 2 or 3 or 4 voices for each, and then playing our arrangements for dancing in the evening. Our class of 20-something was mostly fiddles, though we also had a couple of guitars, a couple of clarinets, a bass clarinet, a cello, a bouzouki, an English concertina, one nyckelharpa,… and in arrangements Micke mostly played his blue electric viola(?) so we’d have a strong bassline. I enjoyed playing basslines on stage [sic] next to him.
Each evening there was an hour-long session with all the classes together: one night we had a dance class with Anna Öberg, one night we had a singing class with Maria Röjås. Then following the class session was a dance evening, where students could sign up to play for a usually half-hour slot. Students seemed initially reluctant to sign up except as part of their class performances, which might be why the teachers seeded the earlier slots. I did play solo sets for dancing on the last couple of nights; it was great to get the practice and the dancers seemed pleased. Nice to have the chance to work on a couple of new tunes I’d picked up at Korrö.
I was surprised that there wasn’t more of a culture of informal jamming. Though very pleased to be welcomed into a trio of folks who play together in Örebro — my friend Jörgen and a couple of his friends were playing a great dance set on the first(?) night, and when I asked whether I could play with them sometime I thought I meant jamming, though joining them for their dance sets on the following nights was great fun too.