I spent the last week at Umefolk, a folk music festival in Umeå in the north of Sweden. We met Anton Teljebäck, who runs the festival, at a small festival in the UK and he invited us. Umefolk is well established (the first was in 1986), and Anton was keen to spread the word further afield.
We are no strangers to Scandanavian music in Oxford. There is a budding session which has found its feet in the last few months, run by Ed Pritchard, who plays a nyckelharpa amongst other things. I also listen to whatever I can get my hands on on Spotify and around the web. So we jumped at the chance to go.
The music at Umefolk was incredibly diverse. It’s surprising just how different the Swedish folk music sound is from the English, Irish and French with which I am familiar. There were of course session favourites which, apart from tunes being played, similar to what you might find in the UK. But the singing and playing style of the performers was very different indeed. We also heard music from Estonia around that part of the world.
Here are some pictures. I didn’t take many of the actual event because of battery constraints. Most of them aren’t actually from the festival events.