• Sweden edition
 

Introducing...Carola

Published: 05 Feb 2007 18:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Feb 2007 18:49 GMT+01:00

Who is she and why is she famous?

Carola Häggvist is Sweden's Eurovision queen. So famous is the songstress in her homeland that her Christian name usually suffices.

You know, it's not a good idea to say 'Christian name' in these multi-cultural times. 'First name' is better. You never can tell.

But that's just the thing, you really can tell with Carola. She is a loud and proud evangelical Christian, and former member of Livets Ord (the Word of Life), a Swedish church allied to the charismatic movement.

With her single name and charismatic movement she could almost be a Brazilian footballer, couldn't she?

Very droll. No, the Charismatics are an offshoot of the Pentecostalists. Carola joined back in 1988.

Was that before or after she entered the Eurovision Song Contest?

It was a few years after her first appearance. Carola has represented Sweden no less than three times in the annual feast of camp pan-European songmanship. She made her debut in 1983 at the age of 16 with 'Främling'. The word means 'stranger' but in English the song was called 'Love isn't Love'.

Sounds like a Magritte painting. Did she win?

No, she came third. But some extraordinary viewing figures illustrated two notable points. First of all, it was clear even then that Carola was going to be an enormous star.

What else?

Well, in secular Sweden there's a school of thought that believes the Eurovision Song Contest to be the only god that counts.

Why? How many people watched?

An incredible, not to mention totally embarrassing, 6.1 million people, or 84 percent of the population.

Crikey, if you take away infants and the infirm that was probably just about everybody in the country.

Indeed. It is a television record yet to be beat.

But surely the days of those sorts of figures are over?

Not so fast, Sherlock. The final of the national Eurovision qualifiers, Melodifestivalen, regularly attracts over 4 million viewers. It has been the highest rated programme every year of the current decade. And last year, 23 years on from her breakthrough, Carola was back in contention.

How did she do this time?

She blew the opposition off the stage. Wind machines, flag-bearing dancers and fireworks all helped to propel her to the final in Athens.

And did she win?

No, she came fifth.

Oh for goodness sake. Did she ever win?

Yes, in 1991. The final was held in Rome and Carola bounced around the stage like a gazelle on uppers. Armed with her trusty wind machine she conquered Europe with the upbeat 'Fångad av en Stormvind', sometimes performed in English as 'Captured by a Love Storm'.

And has Carola ever been captured by a love storm?

Oh yes. She was once caught in the eye of Runar's hurricane.

Who or what is Runar?

Runar Søgaard is a Norwegian preacher. The two were once married and had a child together. The son of the preacher man is called Amadeus.

After Mozart? Or 'Rock me Amadeus', the popular 1980s hit by Falco?

Don't be ridiculous. The name means 'to love God'.

Oh right. And does she have a love interest now?

No. After Runar she famously went on television wearing a shirt that bore the legend: 'available'. Then she moved on to another Norwegian preacher, Edward John, who heard the voice of God while playing semi-professional football (soccer) in the US. He's also a pop star.

Sounds like a match made in heaven.

Yes, but it didn't last and now she's on the prowl again. At a recent show in Haparanda she demanded to know if there were any eligible 40 year olds in the audience.

That's right up north, isn't it?

Yes, the home of eligible 40 year old bachelors. She's no fool, our Carola.

But she hasn't found love yet?

No, but I can tell you what she doesn't love.

What's that?

Homosexuality. She has called it 'unnatural' and says she knows people who have straightened themselves out through prayer.

Cripes. Not a big hit in the gay community then?

On the contrary, she's a massive gay idol. Her flamboyant appearance, eternal youth and over the top performances combine to make her camp as a row of tents. She has even worked with the Bee Gees.

Really? How strange. Sounds like an intoxicating mix though.

Indeed. And recently she has been botoxicating. Life begins at 40 for Carola and she's only getting younger.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Politics
Nuclear freeze agreed by new government
A nuclear power station in Forsmark, Sweden. Photo: TT

Nuclear freeze agreed by new government

Sweden's Social Democrats and Greens Party have announced a coalition agreement to halt nuclear energy development. READ  

International
Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum
A Swedish soldier in Afghanistan. Photo: TT

Sweden rethinks Afghan translators' asylum

The Migration Court in Malmö has ruled that Sweden's Migration Board was wrong to reject the residence applications of seven Afghan interpreters without assessing their protection needs. READ  

The Local List
Top five winter festivals in Sweden
Speak Percussion will perform at Connect in Malmö in November. Photo: Connect

Top five winter festivals in Sweden

Autumn has swept into the country and chilly days lie ahead. But there are plenty of winter festivals where you can warm up in the coming months. With tickets already selling fast, here are The Local's top tips. READ  

Business
Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers
Workers at the Saab plant in Trollhättan. Photo: TT

Swedish Saab plant sheds a third of workers

Swedish car maker Saab has announced it has axed 155 workers, close to a third of its workforce. READ  

International
Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale
A Danish site is selling the works that the Swedish state wants destroyed. Screenshot: www.entartetekunst.dk

Sweden's 'most dangerous art' on sale

Work by controversial jailed Swedish artist Dan Park is on sale online and could reach a gallery in Copenhagen, despite a previous exhibition being pulled. READ  

Society
Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old
Pensioners in Sweden. Photo: TT

Sweden is 'second best' place to grow old

Sweden has dropped to second place in an annual index measuring the quality of life of elderly people in 96 countries around the world. READ  

National
Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche
Andreas Fransson, left. Photo: Markus Alatalo

Top Swedish skier killed in Chile avalanche

UPDATED: The bodies of two of the world's top skiers, Sweden's Andreas Fransson and JP Auclair from Canada, were found on Tuesday after they were reported missing in an avalanche in the Andes. READ  

Politics
Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

Coalition promise to boost welfare and jobs

UPDATED: The Social Democrats and the Greens have agreed to raise unemployment payments and promised to create more jobs in the construction industry, The Local has learned. READ  

National
Ikea recalls elk pasta
Two types of pasta are affected. Photo: IKEA

Ikea recalls elk pasta

Ikea has pulled two different types of elk-shaped pasta from its stores in Sweden. READ  

Presented by Regus
How to get your own great office in Stockholm
A woman using a Regus workspace. Photo: Regus

How to get your own great office in Stockholm

Stockholm's business climate is hotter than ever, which leaves start-ups and business travellers hunting high and low for flexible office space. The solution is easier than they think. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Apology for Swedish model's stolen photos
Politics
New coalition agrees on defence and migration
Fastighetsbyrån
Gallery
Property of the week: Botkyrka
Education
New government to make school compulsory to 18
Politics
Sweden Democrat wins Deputy Speaker spot
Blog updates

28 September

Spoiled Doyle (Blogweiser) »

"What you gotta watch out for in Sweden is the good stuff. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re_EzUe6xpI In Sweden, it’s the good things you have to watch out for. Video on @TheLocalSweden http://t.co/rAb8eGFdTD pic.twitter.com/w37YYwMXy1 — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) September 29, 2014 " READ »

 

26 September

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Autumn swept into Sweden at the start of this week with snow in the north of the country and flooding in the south. As well as a change in the weather, Sweden’s change in political direction became clearer, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven formally announcing his party would work with the Greens as..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swedish scientists sneak Bob Dylan lyrics into articles
Lifestyle
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Gallery
People-watching: September 28th
National
When Italian style meets Swedish simplicity
Lifestyle
Review: Sweden's first alcohol-free nightclub
Gallery
In Pictures: The MS Estonia disaster
Lifestyle
Ten things expat women notice in Sweden
Politics
What's next on Sweden's political stage?
Gallery
Sweden's 2014 election: Most memorable moments
Society
What's on in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 24th
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Gallery
In Pictures: Fredrik Reinfeldt through the years.
Society
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

852
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN