Thursday, February 29, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Bingsjöstämman offered a festive celebration of tradition and folk music

Published 23 July 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Many fiddlers often gather spontaneously outside of the convention program and play together late into the night in the old village, some staying for up to a week.

Like every summer since 1969, Bingsjöstämman once again turned the small community of Bingsjö in Dalarna into a living stage. Fiddlers, dancers and music lovers from all corners of the country gathered for an unforgettable July day filled with community and passion for folk music.

Thousands of visitors had found their way to the old parish community that once a year comes to life. In addition to the usual visitors, enthusiasts from north and south also come and many spend several days in the village, which almost reminds us of views from Astrid Lindgren’s world. Surrounding fields were filled with tents and camper vans and the small local grocery store has survived thanks to the annual fiddler’s convention which accounts for a large part of its income.

This year was also a special year for the Bingsjöstämman as the Dalarna Spelmansförbund celebrated its 80th anniversary. On the program were fiddlers born in different decades from the 1930s onwards. These experienced fiddlers, together with the young promising talents, took the audience on a musical journey through time and space.

In addition, for the second year in a row, a national meeting and course was organized for the country’s young regional folk music ensembles. The course was led by Spöket i köket (“The Ghost in the Kitchen”), a band known for its unique and lively folk music.

View of Bingsjö, which offered breaks and glimpses of sunshine during the meeting. Photo: The Nordic Times

More than a one-day festival

Although the meeting was opened on Wednesday, there was, as always, a sneak start the day before.

The meeting then continued well into the July night on the opening day, a fact that was happily confirmed by the chairman of the meeting, Jonas Päckos.

Late in the evening, singing is arranged in the small village community’s church. Photo: The Nordic Times

It was late yesterday. But that’s how it should be, said Päckos.

But it was not only the music that attracted visitors. Bingsjöstämman is also a place for different art forms to meet. Bingsjö’s own goldsmith, Kristina Suhk, displayed some of her beautiful creations.

Clusters of fiddlers played far into the night. Photo: The Nordic Times

Dancing is important

Dancing is at least as important as the fiddler’s music during the gathering and there is an opportunity to dance already on Tuesday evening.

 Dancing has become an increasingly important part of the convention over the years and there are several dance floors, adds Ola. Peo Österholm and Siv Tillsjö.

The stage became crowded at times as more and more fiddlers joined in to the delight of the dance floor. Photo: The Nordic Times

But despite the fast pace and packed program, the gathering was not just about music and dance. A guided walk in Bingsjö was offered the day before the official opening, where visitors could learn more about the village’s historic farms and its connection to traditional folk music.

One of the village’s centuries-old residential buildings is steeped in history and mystery. Photo: The Nordic Times

Another popular event is the recurring singing sessions in the wood cabin, where young and old alike gather to sing old folk songs. Many of these are local to the surrounding Dalarna parishes and have been passed on only as living and sung songs and are not written down anywhere.

Bingsjöstämman showed that Swedish folk music is very much alive and viable and the proportion of younger enthusiasts and visitors this year was particularly commendable for the survival of folk music.

Facts: Bingsjöstämman

Bingsjöstämman is a traditional Swedish fiddlers' meeting that takes place on the first Wednesday of July every year. It is part of the so-called "stämmoveckan" and is held in Bingsjö, Rättvik municipality, Dalarna. Bingsjöstämman started in 1969 and over the years has become one of the country's most important folk music scenes. The organizers, Dalarnas spelmansförbund, Folkmusikens hus and Bingsjö bystugeförening, ensure that the meeting continues to be a place for both tradition and renewal in Swedish folk music. During the folk music wave of the 1970s, Bingsjöstämman attracted up to 30 000 visitors.

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