Sunday, August 5, 2012

There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet

Now the festival fever is over and it’s time to return to reality. I highly recommend going to Urkult Music Festival at least once, because it is a festival so full of love, spirit, freedom, and worldliness. Of course, you do feel like you’ve stumbled upon a delayed Swedish Woodstock, with all the dreadlocks, bare feet, and hemp abounding, but that just adds to the special open and loving character of the festival. I had a wonderful time and once again met wonderful people, despite the not-so-glamorous job of cleaning porta-potties and jumping in compost bins (that was actually quite fun).

My grandmother was very impressed with the festival, but also shocked by many things, and it brought up many discussions about cultural differences between Swedes and Americans, especially regarding raising children and connection to nature. I wonder what differences I will find regarding those two things, child-rearing and human interaction with nature, in Jordanian society and culture. I especially wonder how conservative Jordanians are in those respects, since Western cultures generally consider Middle Eastern cultures more conservative, and I myself find American culture much more conservative than the liberal Swedish one in those two areas. On the other hand, Swedes are more conservative than Americans in terms of social events and etiquette, at least in my experience. I will make sure to pick up on this topic after I’ve spent some time in Jordan.

Now I want to introduce you to some of my great discoveries at the festival this year. My top 10:
1. Rebekka Karijord – a Norwegian Florence from Florence & The Machine, with incredible vocal and song-writing talent. Why is she not more famous?
2. Laleh – Swedish artist who I’ve admired for a long time but love now more than ever. She has such a sweet personality and I can’t help but get a fist of tears in my throat when I hear her song “Some Die Young”.
3. Dalindeo – a brilliant Finnish jazz band. We loved them so much that we called them back TWICE to play more.
4. Badi Assad – Brazilian musician with great vocal ability and versatility, who composes very unconventional music.
5. Sousou & Maher Cissoko – remarkably beautiful Swedish woman and a number of Senegalese musicians who introduced me to the beauty of Senegalese language and music.
6. Punsch – hauntingly beautiful Swedish folk music at its best. This band won the award for Best Newcomer at the Folk and World Music Awards.
7. Tamburellisti di Torrepaduli – Italian band with strikingly beautiful tarantella dancer.
8. Syster Sol – a 28-year old Swedish female reggae star. I cannot exaggerate her talent. On a Nordic night I felt like I could have been in Jamaica.
9. Amina Annabi – Tunisian artist with a remarkable voice and wonderful stage presence. I just love Arabic music and have so much respect for a culture where young people appreciate music like this. It made me even more excited for Jordan!
10. The Crooked Fiddle Band – Folk-Rock delivered by incredibly adept musicians. The female violinist deserves a special mention.

Honorable mention: Eliza Carthy Band (British acoustic pub music), Mu (we took a 2-hour Portuguese folk dance course with them, which was tremendous fun).

Now I have to go savor the sunny day outside, since those are very rare in northern Sweden. Ha en underbar dag!

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