Around the world in the service of folk music

Published: 11 November 2016

Svante Lindqvist's cultural journey began at ABF in Malmberget. An odyssey in the service of Norrbotten folk music, which has taken him around the world several times over. During the academic ceremony, he was conferred an honorary doctorate at Luleå University of Technology.

- I'm incredibly proud and happy. But at the same time a little afraid to disparage the other honorary doctorates. It is big names which have been awarded honorary doctorates during the years, said a modest Svante Lindqvist in his lecture at Luleå University of Technology.

Toured Europe as a teenager

Svante Lindqvist interest in folk music in general and the Norrbotten folk music in particular came early. An interest that was born thanks to the music company in Malmberget and the music educators at the local ABF Association.

- It was really amazing teacher who had a tremendous expertise, said Svante Lindqvist who subsequently joined the Malmberget folkdanceteam Gellmalaget.

- After that everyhing happened quickly, in 1972 I went on tour with them to Germany, which was fantastic for a young guy.

Good got even better

1977 Svante Lindqvist was appointed national musician, a feat almost unprecedented given that he was only 20 years old at the time. The same year Svante Lindqvist formed JP Nyström orchestra along with four friends in Malmberget. After just one year, the group had attracted attention with its own television program on national television and major newspaper articles. When the band a few years later was one of two US tours an American producer asked Svante "this must be the top of the rainbow?"

- Hell no, I thought. It will be even better. And there was also, just a couple of years later, we started to cooperate with the Cullberg Ballet. A collaboration that lasted over ten years, said Svante Lindqvist and told that JP Nystrom orchestra toured in a range corresponding to 18 times around the world.

- Everything in the Norrbotten folk music service.

The message was not taken seriously

Besides Svante Lindqvist's musical act, he also has a successful career as a writer and playwright. His most famous work is probably the monologue The man from Malmberget which were played and is still playing in theaters around the Nordic region.

- In fact, I describe a picture of what would be happening in Malmberget with the future urban transformation but then, 25 years ago, the message was not taken seriously, said Svante Lindqvist.

The lecture ended with a fine-tuned version of the song Min längtan hem är större än jag tror and a call to those who do not value the importance of culture.

- Culture is an excellent value gauge of how a society really feels. Many say that culture is only varnish. And it's true, but without varnish the boat slowly rots.

Photo: Katarina Karlsson

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