Four international events in Sweden this week

From Sweden to the other side of the world and back again, this week's cultural picks span the globe. For more inspiration check out our regular interactive gallery of all the best events in Sweden.

Four international events in Sweden this week
Anyone for Argentine tango? Photo: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

1. Swedish classics with English subtitles

Ever wondered what the Swedes in those movies your Swedish friends always make you watch are actually saying? This event is for you. Swedish director Bo Widerberg's 1967 classic 'Elvira Madigan' kicks of a new monthly series of 'Made in Sweden' screenings with English subtitles at the Cinemateket theatre in Stockholm.

When: October 17th, 4pm

Tickets: 70 kronor (free for under-15s)

Where: Filmhuset, Borgvägen 1, Stockholm

Picture from the shooting of 'Elvira Madigan'. Photo: Lars Åström/SCANPIX

2. Indian Dandiya Night

Navrati, a major Indian festival dedicated to the worship of Hindu deity Durga, is under way across the globe. And, as it happens, in the small town of Älmhult in southern Sweden where an Indian community working at Ikea's headquarters is organizing an evening of traditional Dandiya dances and performances.

When: October 17th, 8pm

Tickets: 50 kronor for adults

Where: Urania BF, Skyttegatan 9, Diö (north of Älmhult)

3. A Syrian Love Story

Award-winning documentary 'A Syrian Love Story' by Sean McAllister is being screened in the Swedish capital this weekend. The unique movie tells the story of Amer and Raghda, who met in a Syrian prison cell 15 years ago and now have four sons, as the Arab Spring sweeps the region in 2009. McAllister received the Grand Jury prize at the Sheffield Documentary Festival earlier this year for his “Bergmanesque portrait of a relationship and love”. 

When: October 19th, 6pm

Tickets: 80 kronor

Where: LAIKA, Hornhuset, Långholmsgatan 15B, Stockholm

4. Argentine tango

Feeling the groove? Why not hit the dance floor in Malmö in southern Sweden for a round of Argentine tango. Camarin is a 25-year-old non-profit arts and culture society in Malmö that works to promote South American dancing, music, poetry and theatre. Every Friday, it organizes tango evenings for beginners and professionals to come and practise their moves.

When: October 16th, 8.30pm

Tickets: Camarin members 50 kronor, non-members 60 kronor

Where: Ungdomens Hus, Torpgatan 21, Malmö

Don't worry, this is just a picture from the World Tango Championships to illustrate. These moves are not required. Photo: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

Looking for more things to do in Sweden? Check out our interactive guide below.






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Five Swedish children’s songs international parents will inevitably have to learn

You can't hide, and you can't even run. Sooner or later, even international parents will learn these Swedish children's songs. You may as well start now.

Five Swedish children's songs international parents will inevitably have to learn

Babblarnas vaggvisa

“Kom lilla du, kudden väntar nu. Inte läsa mer, Babba, dags att lägga sig.”

Come little one, the pillow awaits. No more reading, Babba, it’s time to go to bed – this repetitive modern lullaby is deceptively simple and soothing, loved and hated in equal measure by parents in Sweden. 

Loved, because it puts the most energetic of babies to sleep. Hated, because afterwards, you’ll be lying there in the dark in your own bed, the lyrics playing softly but insistently on repeat in your head. When you finally remember the order of the characters and their pre-bedtime activities (hint: it’s Babba [reading], Bibbi [listening], Bobbo [playing], Dadda [climbing], Diddi [drawing], Doddo [getting up to mischief]), congratulations, you’ve made it as a parent in Sweden.

The characters were originally created in the 1980s to facilitate children’s language development, but they got a rebirth in the 2000s with a television series for SVT and several new songs. Your children will be able to name them all and they will expect you to do the same. Who knew parenthood was this joyous.

Ekorrn satt i granen

Alice Tegnér is a name you need to know, because she’s the woman who’s to thank or blame for most of the Swedish children’s musical canon. Born in 1864, she was a music teacher from the town of Karlshamn in southern Sweden and composer of some of the country’s most well-known children’s songs. 

This one is about a squirrel who, just as he was sitting down in a spruce to peel some pine cones, gets startled by the sound of children, falls from his branch and hurts his fluffy tail. That’s it, that’s the plot.

Mors lilla Olle

Another one of Tegnér’s greatest hits, this one tells the story of Olle, who runs into a bear when out picking bilberries. To cut a long story short: he feeds the bilberries to the bear, his mother screams and the bear runs off, Olle gets upset that mummy scared his ostensibly only friend.

It’s based on a true story. In 1850, newspapers wrote about how Jon Ersson, then one year and seven months, met a couple of bear cubs at Sörsjön, Dalarna, and fell asleep next to them in the lingon shrubs. Ersson in his 30s emigrated to Minnesota where he was hit by lightning and died. Luck only lasts so long.

Prästens lilla kråka

Prästens lilla kråka, the priest’s little crow (optionally mormors/farmors lilla kråka – grandma’s little crow, or whoever wants to claim the crow), wanted to go for a ride but no one was around to give her a lift. So she took matters into her own hands, but, presumably lacking a driving licence, she slid THIS way and then she slid THAT way and then she slid DOWN into the ditch. Sung while rocking the child to one side, to the other side and then playfully dropping them to the floor.

It often also makes an appearance as a dance around the Maypole on Midsummer’s Eve. 

Lille katt

Astrid Lindgren is not only one of the world’s most famous children’s authors, she is also behind many of the most well-known Swedish songs for children, featuring her beloved characters.

This one starts off “Lille katt, lille katt, lille söte katta. Vet du att, vet du att, det är mörkt om natta” (little cat, little cat, little sweet cat. Do you know, do you know, it’s dark at night – it rhymes in Swedish), followed by similar verses about other animals and family members. It is sung by Ida, the little sister of prankster Emil in the books and films about Emil of Lönneberga. Jazz musician Georg Riedel composed the music, as well as the music for several other Lindgren movies.

Other famous tunes by Lindgren include Här kommer Pippi Långstrump, Idas sommarvisa, Luffarvisan, Jag är en fattig bonddräng, Mors lilla lathund and Världens bästa Karlsson.

These five songs do not even begin to form an exhaustive list of Sweden’s wide, wide, wide repertoire of children’s songs. Which ones can you not get out of your head? Let us know in the comments below!