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It's that Scandinoovian time of year...

Posted by fiddlepogo on Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Last year I was invited by a local nyckelharpa player (Swedish keyed fiddle) to join her at playing at Santa Lucia celebration put on by the Vasa (Swedish) Society in a neighboring town.  She's asked me to participate again this year, and we've started practicing- we've had two so far.

In fact, I just came from our practice.  It really is a switch from Old Time and Bluegrass-  lots of sheet music, a few unusal keys, and a lot of dotted eighth notes and sixteenth notes.

In spite of not having played the tunes much over the last year, they are coming back really well.

In fact, I think the reason I enjoy Swedish fiddling so much is precisely because it is such a contrast to Old Time and Bluegrass fiddling- most of the tunes are slower, and often have these bouncy rhythms.

It'd be nice if I was a better sight reader, but it can only help my music reading ability.

Just a few weeks ago, I stumbled across some information about the family member who first came to the US who we are apparently descended from.  His name was Charles or Karl Springer.   I had known he came from Sweden to Delaware, but I hadn't known HOW.  I had previously thought he was a German who spent a little time in Sweden and came to New Sweden (Delaware) voluntarily. He may have been from a German family in Sweden, but he grew up as a Swede.

  He was studying in London, and about to go home to Sweden when he was kidnapped and taken on a boat to Virginia as an indentured servant!  After the indenture period was up (4 or 5 years I think) he was released, and walked from Virginia to Delaware, where he join the Swedes who were still there from when it was New Sweden, but had been taken over first by the Dutch and then the English.  Because he was fluent in English, both from his studies and his indentured servanthood, he became a court interpreter for the Swedish community, since Swedish had no legal standing under the English colonial government.

Eventually some family members crossed into Pennsylvania, and joined the westward migration across the Midwest, our part of the family ending up in Iowa, although there are apparently still Springers in Pennsylvania and Indiana that I've heard about, and maybe others as well.  There are also English Springers and Jewish Springers as well-  and thousands upon thousands of German ones!

But most of the Springers across the Midwest are descended from the Charles or Karl Springer who was kidnapped.  One of my uncles was even named Charles Springer, as well as a great grandfather.

4 comments on “It's that Scandinoovian time of year...”

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @10:53:35 AM

I've heard of getting carried away, but this takes the cake. It reminds me somewhat of how Joseph was sold into bondage in Egypt and eventually came to serve as a government leader.

fiddlepogo Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @11:38:12 AM

Not quite that extreme, but yeah.

Maybe I need to finally read "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson!
Maybe he was on to something.

FiddleFish Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @1:54:50 PM

If you just *HAPPEN* to have a recorder at one of your practices or your gig, don't forget about your Scandophilic Fiddle Hangout friends. I'd love to see you post a couple of tunes from your set.

bj Says:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008 @9:19:30 PM

I'd be interested in hearing your scandinoovian diversion as well. Geez, keep it up and we'll hear you're taking up the Hardingfele and playing Gammeldans!

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