Who is in the Swedish Music Hall of Fame?

Everyone knows about Abba and Avicii. But there's more to Swedish music - and each year ten Swedish artists are welcomed into the Swedish Music Hall of Fame. So who are the new artists, just barely added?

Who is in the Swedish Music Hall of Fame?
Photo: Gustav Wiking

Since the Swedish Music Hall of Fame opened in 2013, ten Swedish artists are inducted each year. The obvious ones are Abba and Roxette, who were welcomed to the Hall of Fame in 2014. 

"The basic idea behind the Hall of Fame is to pay tribute to the diversity of Swedish music and to build bridges between generations," Charlotte Wiking, manager of the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, explained at the press conference announcing the new members.

New inductees to the Hall of Fame are under a lot of pressure: They must have debuted onto the music scene at least 20 years ago, and must have made a lasting contribution to Swedish popular music, inspiring innovation and development on the musical scene.

The jury also pays attention to diversity, making sure to include a variety of genres. It's not all about the dancefloor, but also about opera, jazz, rock, and reggae. 

So who are the stars of the Swedish music scene? SI News went to find out on February 12th, as the new list was announced.

1. Neneh Cherry

Neneh Cherry was born in Stockholm and moved to London when she was 14. She quickly started making music and became a worldwide hit in the late 1980s, with singles like Buffalo Stance playing all around the globe. Neneh was before the Spice Girls and before Lily Allen – but paved the way for this style everywhere in future generations.

2. Jussi Björling

Johan Jussi Björling was a tenor opera singer born in 1911, who passed away in 1960. He was one of the most famous opera singers of the 20th century, and performed frequently at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as in London, Milan, and of course Sweden.

3. Peps Persson

Although Peps has made a few albums in English, he is best-known in Sweden.  He was one of the first big Swedish reggae and blues performers, and made Swedish covers of famous tunes by the likes of Bob Marley. 

4. Ulf Lundell

Ulf Lundell has been called "Sweden's Bob Dylan" – and for good reason. He is a central character in Swedish rock music and has many a hit on the Swedish radio. His lyrics frequently express classic Swedish sentiments – such as feeling at home in nature.

5. Yngwie Malmsteen

Yngwie Malmsteen is a heavy metal guitarist who became a huge figure in Swedish and global rock. He plays neo-classical metal, popular during the mid 1980s,  and has worked with many well-known bands, winning a Grammy nomination.

6. Gullan Bornemark

Gullan Bornemark is a beloved Swedish musician and lyricist who writes primarily children's songs – songs which every Swedish child has heard. At age 87 she is still full of attitude, and one of the most lively and charming characters in Swedish music history.

7. Alice Babs

Alice Babs, who passed away last year, was best known for her work as a jazz singer – but she was also Sweden's first entrant in the massive Eurovision Song Contest, back in 1958. She worked with Duke Ellington and other international jazz celebrities.

8. Carola

Carola was the Celine Dion of Sweden in the 1980s, and has sung everything from pop to disco to church music to classical. Today she is still a popular singer and songwriter, and her album Främling (Stranger) is still the best-selling album in Swedish music history.

9. Anders Burman

Anders Burman was not a singer himself, but was one of the most influential Swedish music producers. He produced albums with Alice Babs and Cornelis Vreeswijk, both of whom are also in the Hall of Fame, and many other big Swedish artists, including the Jailbird Singers:

10. Robyn

Finally, Robyn is one of the best-known Swedish artists at the moment – but she has been active  on the music scene since 1994. With recent hits like "Indestructible" and "Call your Girlfriend", her singles have become dancefloor hits around the world.

"Robyn makes the world dance to the sound of their heartbeats," the jury explained. Take a listen – do you agree?


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.