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SWEDE OF THE WEEK

MUSIC

Swede wows Katy Perry with jungle jingle

A hot new Swedish singer got a big boost this week from US pop star Katy Perry, whose social media shout-out helped Ellinor Olovsdotter, better known as Elliphant, reach millions of new fans, making her our pick for Swede of the Week.

Swede wows Katy Perry with jungle jingle

Born and raised in Stockholm, the sometimes foul-mouthed Olovsdotter is on something of a hot streak.

Ever since taking the stage name Elliphant last year, the 27-year-old’s star has been rising, both at home and abroad.

She has a track included on the official soundtrack of the wildly popular Fifa 13 video game, and her unique, gritty electronic sound has made music critics at the New Musical Express and The Guardian take notice.

“Elliphant’s skull-rattling agit-pop – which has much in common with Icona Pop’s shoutier material – is a pretty good way of kicking bullshit into touch before it all gets out of hand,” the Guardian wrote last month in naming Elliphant one of the six best Scandinavian acts.

In February, Olofsdotter was invited to perform a new single, Boom Your Head Up, at Sweden’s Grammisgalan, the country’s premiere music event.

And on Wednesday, the Swedish rapper and singer received a resounding endorsement from US pop star Katy Perry on Twitter who called the video for Elliphant’s Down On Life “One of the most bad ass music videos I’ve seen in a long time!”

A link to the video went out to Perry’s more than 34 million Twitter followers.

Olovsdotter responded from her Elliphant Twitter account, giving a “big thanxx” to the US pop star.

Olovsdotter’s journey to becoming one of Sweden’s most promising musical exports hasn’t been easy.

She described her childhood as being somewhat chaotic, but she is close to her family, which includes a number of half-siblings.

She was also later diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia, according to a recent interview with the Totally Stockholm entertainment magazine.

“The school system really fucked me up,” she said in the interview.

“Doing bad in school kinda brands you as a bad person. I was a kicker kid and a bit too aggressive. I couldn’t sit there and if you can’t do that then the system treats you like you can’t do anything.”

But the first of many trips to India at the age of 15 started a process that helped spawn her career in music.

Speaking with Sveriges Radio (SR) earlier this year, Olovsdotter told how she “ran around naked and burned down a bungalow” on a trip to Goa, where she was captivated by the city’s underground music scene.

She admitted that putting a label on her style of music isn’t easy.

“I’d like to call it jungle,” she told SR, but explained the label is already taken.

Elliphant’s sound includes influences from artists as diverse as Rage Against the Machine and Aaliyah, according to Olovsdotter, who settled on “progressive pop” when pressed by SR to sum up her musical style.

She’s currently in Jamaica shooting a music video for her single Music for Life and will be performing in Stockholm at the Medis nightclub on May 10th.

Editor’s Note:The Local’s Swede of the week is someone in the news who – for good or ill – has revealed something interesting about the country. Being selected as Swede of the Week is not necessarily an endorsement.

SEE ALSO:A list of The Local’s past Swedes of the Week

David Landes

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MUSIC

What are the best concerts in Sweden this autumn?

Now that Sweden has lifted its audience restrictions for public events, The Local's Paul O'Mahony lists his recommendations for the best gigs to attend over the coming months.

Crowd at a music concert in Debaser, Stockholm
Crowds return to Stockholm venue Debaser after pandemic restrictions on events were lifted. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden’s musicians, concert promoters and venue operators have struggled to varying degrees through the pandemic. One surefire way to help get them back on their feet is to give organisers and artists the financial reassurance they need by pre-booking concerts. 

Of course these recommendations only apply if you feel safe attending large events; remember that you should stay home and take a Covid-19 test if you experience any symptoms that could be linked to the virus, even if vaccinated. And make sure to check with organisers if there are any specific coronavirus requirements you need to be aware of. 

Coming up: top gigs in Sweden over the next few months 

As a regular gig-goer, live music is the one thing I’ve missed most over the past year and a half. So it is with some excitement (and, I’ll admit, a degree of trepidation) that I prepare to go see Norwegian band Pom Poko this Friday at Hus 7 in Stockholm. Their melodic art-punk album Cheater sparked the year into life on its release in January. They’re also playing Plan B in Malmö on Saturday night

Plan B is also the venue when Squid hit Sweden with a thrilling dose of post-punk on October 15th. Tickets remain available for the show at the time of writing (an absolute steal at 120 kronor), though that’s sadly not the case in Stockholm where their October 16th gig at Melodybox sold out a long time ago. (Although you can sign up to be added to a waiting list). 

Another artist well worth checking out in October is Gothenburg guitarist and singer Amanda Werne, better known as Slowgold. Her live shows are great and she is embarking on a Swedish tour on October 8th. 

Emma-Jean Thackray, one of the UK’s most interesting jazz artists, will be at Fasching in Stockholm on October 15th

For the best kind of sonic assault, Anna von Hasswolff’s band Bada are scheduled to play in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg in late October. 

Have any of you ever seen Gothenburg electronic veterans Little Dragon live? I haven’t but might check them out in November when they swing by Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg

Amason are also heading out on the road for a Scandinavian tour in November. If you haven’t heard Amanda Bergman’s voice in a live setting before this will be a treat. 

The inimitable Sibille Attar released her superb second album A History of Silence at the start of the year and she’s finally getting the chance to play her eighties-inspired gems live at Slaktkyrkan in Stockholm on November 18th

Cassandra Jenkins long lurked in the background as a musician in touring bands for people like Eleanor Friedberger and Purple Mountains. But this year’s album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature has really established her as an artist to be reckoned with in her own right. She’s coming to Södra Teatern in Stockholm on November 26th

Always popular in this part of the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain return to Sweden for dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg at the end of November

Wry Finland-Swedish indie outfit Vasas Flora och Fauna have some of the funniest (Swedish) lyrics and catchiest tunes around. They’ll be in Stockholm and Gothenburg the first weekend of December

UK experimental rockers Black Midi are also playing Stockholm and Gothenburg on December 4th and 5th. So prepare to travel if you want to catch both them and Vasas Flora and Fauna. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob Hund’s annual ‘week 48’ show also takes place on December 4th. But that has been sold out for ages so no decisions to make there. It is also worth noting though that Sweden’s hardest working band has also written a musical that’s going to be performed in Helsingborg (October-November) and Gothenburg (November)

Bonus: For a post-Christmas pick-me-up try to get down to Little Simz at Slaktkyrkan on January 14th if you’re in Stockholm. The UK rapper’s new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one of this year’s best releases. 

Selected artists playing Sweden in 2022: Henry Rollins, Sarah Klang, Yann Tiersen, Mogwai, Pearl Charles, Wolf Alice, Lloyd Cole, Lord Huron, Future Islands, Josh Rouse + Vetiver, Tricky, Snail Mail, Porridge Radio, Aldous Harding, Shame, The Kooks, The War on Drugs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Kings of Convenience, Fontaines D.C., Alex Cameron, Lucy Dacus, The Divine Comedy, Mdou Moctar, Iggy Pop, Chubby and the Gang, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks, Suede, Viagra Boys, Pavement. 

For bigger arena shows, Ticketmaster covers a lot of the bases. Big-name acts with gigs in the offing include Ed Sheeran, Zara Larsson, Whitesnake and, lest we forget, ABBA

And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on. Tour schedules are busier than ever now that artists are finally getting back on the road. To keep track of what gigs are coming up I can recommend checking in with Luger, FKP Scorpio, and Live Nation. Follow your favourite venues too: sometimes they cut out the middleman and do their own booking and promotion. I also use the Bandsintown app, which comes with the added bonus of receiving messages from your favourite artists which let you pretend to be their friend. 

Enjoy the gigs, and stay safe! 

Paul O’Mahony is editorial product manager at The Local. In his spare time he plays the best new indie and alternative music as host of the Signals show on Nerve Music.

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