Benny Andersson has recorded an album of traditional Swedish music with the all-female folk group Systerpolskan.
Systerpolskan comprise of seven of Sweden’s most talented female folk musicians (three nyckelharpa players and four fiddlers), including Lena Willemark, who performed alongside Benny at KMH’s New York gala in March and Sonia Sahlström, grand-daughter of the acclaimed nyckelharpa player Eric Sahlström.
Benny first met the girls six years ago at the Skansen Folk Music Festival.
At the time, although most of them knew each other, they had never played together as a group.
However, Benny has told icethesite how he immediately knew that he wanted to work with them:
“I thought wow! They are really, really good,” he said. “And I think it is so important to keep traditional music alive that I wanted to give such talented musicians a chance to be heard.”
The album will consist of a mixture of old Swedish folk songs together with several pieces composed by the group themselves.
UPDATE: A tune that Benny has written for a sound-book by Swedish watercolour artist Lars Lerin will now no longer appear on the recording.
Some of the tracks contain vocals sung in an ancient Norse dialect known as Övdalian, however, according to Benny it wasn’t planned that way…
“It just kind of happened,” he said. “A couple of the girls knew the words, the others joined in here and there and we recorded it all,” he explained. “They make a nice sound. It is actually quite beautiful!”
Övdalian is spoken in central Sweden by about 2000 speakers.
As well as producing the album, Benny accompanies the group on piano, accordion and synclavier.
Scheduled for release in September, the album will be available on both CD and digital formats.
Earlier this month Systerpolskan recorded a couple of tracks from their forthcoming album for an episode of Moreaus med mera, which will be aired on SVT in the Autumn and on 2 August they will perform live at Allsång på Skansen in Stockholm.
The group may play a one-off concert to coincide with the album’s release, but as yet, no date or venue have been confirmed.