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American Folklife Center Collections: Sweden

This guide provides access to ethnographic resources documenting Swedish expressive culture in both the United States and Sweden in the collections of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Jonas Dovydenas, photographer. Example of of "Halmslojd" (strsw work) at the Swedish American Pioneer Historical Society Archives, Chicago, Illinois. May 20, 1977. Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection. Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

American Folklife Center collections documenting Swedish culture in Sweden and the United States represent the diversity of Swedish expressive culture. These include sound recordings, photographs, and other documentation of music, songs, humor, celebrations, and interviews. Examples include songs and music recorded in Michigan by Alan Lomax in 1939; Swedish Broadcasting Corporation recordings of Swedish folk music; Swedish Dalarna fiddling recorded by Richard K. Spottswood and Maury Bernstein in 1975; and Swedish and Swedish American music performances sponsored by the American Folklife Center.

Chicago Ethnic Arts Project Collection

The Chicago Ethnic Arts Project survey was conducted in 1977 by the American Folklife Center at the request of the Illinois Arts Council to assess and document the status of ethnic art traditions in more than twenty ethnic communities in Chicago, and was jointly sponsored by both organizations. The collection includes documentation of Swedish American painting, straw work, and embroidery as well as audio recordings of interviews with artists.

Additional Collections of Interest

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

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Emma Björling (vocals) is one of the foremost singers of Swedish folksongs performing today. She is a member of the bands Lyy and Skye Consort with Emma Björling, as well as vocal groups Kongero and Baravox. She has also toured extensively with the well-known Swedish folk band Ranarim. Björling has been singing in choirs since the age of six, and studied both jazz and classical music before following her heart back to the traditional music she first heard her grandfather play on the fiddle. She holds university degrees in Swedish traditional music (Royal College of Music in Stockholm), voice pedagogy, music theory, and ensemble teaching (Ingesund College of Music). Petrus Johansson (guitar) got his interest in music from his father, who was a professional flute player. Johansson started playing guitar and bass, mostly jazz and rock, when he was quite young. During his university studies he met Björling, and together they started playing Swedish traditional music. This led to a greater interest in the guitar as a folk music instrument, using it to provide bass lines. He is a trained guitar and bass teacher and has worked at Ingesund College of Music and several music schools. (Event date, July 22, 2020)

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