04. The Troubadours – Stylistic and Sociocultural Transformations of the Literary Visa in the 1960s



1. Thorstein Bergman, “Helgdagskväll i timmerkojan”

Live performance from the TV show Hylands hörna (Hyland’s corner; 1965), hosted by Lennart Hyland.




The poem is written by Dan Andersson (1888–1920), often counted among the Swedish proletarian authors. The musical setting is by the Swedish troubadour Sven Scholander (1860–1936). In the TV show Bergman mentions that this is his public debut and that he was surprised to be asked to sing something in Swedish. Thorstein Bergman later (1967) released a highly appreciated album with songs by Dan Andersson.


2. Cornelis Vreeswijk, “Somliga går i trasiga skor”

From: Tio vackra visor och Personliga Person. Metronome MLP 15313, 1968, 33⅓ rpm.


Cornelis Vreeswijk: vocals; Rune Gustafsson: guitar; Sabu Martinez: congas; Sture Nordin: bass.





The song was composed by Cornelis Vreeswijk who immigrated to Sweden from Holland at the age of thirteen, and worked as a social worker before he had his breakthrough as a song writer and performer. Vreeswijk is often considered to be the most influential Swedish troubadour from the 1960s. Some of his songs go pretty far in their social criticism. Typical of his style is also his casual and highly rhythmical vocal delivery.


3. Fred Åkerström, “Epistel Nr 23 ‘Ack du min moder’”

From: Glimmande nymf. Metronome MLP 15548, 1975, 33⅓ rpm.


Fred Åkerström: vocals, guitar; Katarina Fritzén: flute; Örjan Larson: cello.



Translation by Eva Toller



Fred Åkerstöm first recorded this song in 1969. It is No 23 in Carl Michael Bellman’s 1790 collection, Fredman’s Epistles. The song sweeps between the deepest despair and the most orgiastic joy. Fred Åkerström became famous as a dramatic and emotional interpreter of Bellman’s songs. He could easily empathize with the feelings, describing the life of a drunkard that the song communicates. As a pronounced socialist he also emphasized the connotations of social realism in Bellman’s works.