Stuck In Stockholm

Is that good or bad? As seen by an artist from Eastern Europe

Posts Tagged ‘event’


Thursday, September 6th, 2012

On Sunday a very non-Swedish thing happened in Viking Land: a party.

Our new neighbors threw a house warming party right next day after moving in. The usual story: ageing Swede got a beautiful young lady from Thailand. While this in itself, why it is a usual story for Swedish men to export women into a country where there are probably more single gals than anywhere else, would deserve a full essay, here I only wanna give you a little impression of how to let your hair down when you have a small, international crowd.


First of all, there was food, drink, food and drink. Mike, a Libanese man around 60, made sure that everyone’s plates and glasses were full, at all times. He himself mostly drank of the bottles: simply pouring the wine down his throat, without swallowing.

Then there was MUSIC. That’s quite something, for in the past one year since I am at this place, I heard music in the area maybe 10 times only. Of which 4 was some organized event on the next islands.

Here we had a couple of CDs from Dubai: Arabic music with modern touch. Actually I did like the one with 4 gay male singers, they sounded 100x more masculine then most of the straight boy bands of Western pop music…

So we had Arabic music from a JVC ghetto blaster, gotta hear Bedouine songs at the table performed by Mike who didn’t only have a huge potbelly but a great voice as well, we watched and learned a little belly dancing from a Libanese girl, a traditional dance from the Syrian-Turkish border from a guy from Syria, and of course I did a song or two – Hungarian folk songs from Slovakia which they loved.

Yeah, we had also a bit of bottle dance, which is normal for Hungarian female folk dancers except that this wine bottle was very narrow and tall, almost full.

All of us had a wonderful time – maybe except for the belly dancer’s gorgeous daughter who would rather hide in a car and read a book. For me personally (beside seeing how my little songs that no-one understood a word of, were touching hearts), the most wonderful experience was to see my landlord, his wife, brother and his wife, all four hearing impaired, having great fun, enjoying the music, the live songs, and dancing crazy! They have been saying all the time (perhaps in their entire life?), that they prefer to associate with deaf people, because of the barriers in communication with others.

Well, it seems that sometimes it’s much easier to jump over some borders, whether they be physical or only in one’s mind – I hope you don’t mind me getting slightly philosophical, even about a party :-)

Ps: yes, I do perform as a singer or dancer for private, corporate, community etc events, find out more on my website

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Impromptu concert in the subway

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Östermalmstorg subway station has a nice dome with unbelievable acoustics. It’s interesting to watch how people react to the special sound there. I would think they would go singing, whistling, humming – giving out some noise from their mouth, as the most natural way for a human to make a sound.
No. Most of them just would stomp their feet.

So it was a great experience on Wednesday evening to hear a young girl strumming her guitar and singing. I talked with her a bit; she wanted to do a live recording of one of her songs for her album coming out today, recorded at an unusual location. My singer heart went boom; this place is really meant for playing music and singing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome on stage Edith Backlund, playing Dance In Circles (click on her name for the website and to listen)

Impromptu concert in the subway - #1

Impromptu concert in the subway - #2

Impromptu concert in the subway - #3

Photos (which look better on black background, by the way): by Andrea Gerak

Edith Backlund official site:

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Back in town

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Never a Mistake

Read the story

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Where is the music?

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Today, 1st of October is International Music Day, which has been celebrated worldwide for 35 years.

Can someone tell me snälla, where do I find information about how it is held in Sweden? I can’t find anything about it in the news or event calendars, which makes me quite sad… (just between us, because many people ask why am I moving back to poor little Hungary from this super-duper, envied country here: lack of music life in Sweden is one of the main reasons…).

Probably I will need to go out myself and do some singing… It’s beautiful sunshine here in Stockholm after all, and around town there are some places with great acoustics, like the Parliament, streets of Gamla stan, spots in the subway… Perhaps in front of the Royal Palace? That must sound really royal!

Welcome to some of my shows, if you are around, just follow the voice :-)

For those who will have to miss this very special live experience, here’s a few tunes, enjoy:

Andrea Gerak album: This Way, Sweetheart!

Erre gyere, rózsám (This Way, Sweetheart!) by Andrea Gerak

(for some reason, this blog can’t handle embeds, especially written for WordPress… – any suggestions?)

ps: Booking info

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Queen of the Gypsies: Esma Redzepova

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Probably one of the greatest concerts that have ever taken place in Stockholm…

Esma Redzepova. Photo source:

A few weeks ago in August, Stockholm had its yearly Kulturfestival, which is one of the greatest things here, with free events around the town. One of them was The Gypsy Queens & Kings with the Mahala Rai Banda, just in front of the Opera House.

And the Queen of Queens (well, I would say The Queen of Gypsies, for she was the only one from all the female performers to deserve this title, in my humble opinion): Esma Redzepova.

There could be pages and pages told about this charismatic lady from Macedonia, please check out her website at

The whole evening with such a powerful, lively show was a real highlight for Stockholm (there should be much more of this kind of concerts, to shake up this cold North a bit…!!!) Let me just give you my personal impressions only about Esma’s appearance, in a few words – more I can’t find to express it all…

It happened to me.

What is it? Many times when I sing, I can see tears in peoples’ eyes, they come to me to tell how grateful they are, what feelings I gave them with my songs – the most fantastic moments for a singer, to see others touched by something you do.

At those moments, I could imagine their states of mind, for I often have the same when I listen to music, I can be very emotional about it. But: it was still not completely real for me how my listeners felt, for I have known this only from instrumental music. I can’t recall any singer alive whose voice has ever reached to my heart so deeply that it brought out my tears – and believe me, I have done quite some listening, including some of the biggest names, live…

So now it happened to me.

In the very first song when Esma stepped on the stage (stepped? is that a satisfactory word about a Queen, a real Dame, a phenomenon?), she did it to me. Letting her soul out with that powerful voice penetrated the innermost core of my being, and my feelings and thoughts had to flow out…

What an inspiration…!!! I was flying high the whole evening, and ever since, when I just think of those moments or listen to the recordings I caught with my mobile…

I am not a Gypsy myself, but love their culture, the music and the dances, it’s an unbelievably rich source material for me that I try to weave into my performances. Have seen many of their folks singing, dancing and playing, on stage or at parties, but from this moment on, with these three or four songs from Esma, probably a new world opened for me as a singer.

If this is something that I can also give to others (and from the feedback, apparently I can…), this is what I wanna do in my whole life, as long as I am able to.

Thank you so much, Esma, with my greatest respect and admiration!!! Wish you good health and that people of the world can hear you for many, many years to come!

With videos, see it in:
Andrea Gerak Music
Andrea’s Blog

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Photo pause

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The worst thing that can happen with a photographer: being without a camera… My little one was stolen a few days ago here in Stockholm… Soooo many things are happening these days with the Stockholm Kulturfestival – but no photo reportage from my part, sorry :-( On Friday, I saw probably the best ever concert of my life with Esma Redzepova, but the camera of my phone didn’t really excel to catch the Legend Of The Balkans…

And last night it was the Midnattsloppet (Midnight Run)…

Well, while I get a new camera (next week I will be in Hungary and hopefully I’ll get another machine), enjoy my older pictures here :-)

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On Stockholm Pride

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

No, don’t expect photos of the Stockholm Pride from me which is the biggest event of these weeks here: I think that how and with whom one likes to make love (which is the most intimate thing there is) doesn’t belong to the streets and media in loud demonstrations…

The most beautiful thing, LOVE between 2 people, a private matter, becoming reduced to sex and is a public, political and business affair, a very fashionable, over-publicized topic.

This is just my personal opinion – and for an opinion like this, one is already considered homophobe here in Sweden and the media would tear apart a public person for such words and that is sick. Now it’s very good that I am not famous here 😀

But you are welcome to look around in my previous posts for some awesome pix on Stockholm by Andrea Gerak or on my Flickr, and enjoy this beautiful summer Sunday :-)

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Lamborghinis and Batmobile for KISS

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

After AC/DC a few days ago, KISS is in Stockholm and Kool & the Gang too!. Yesterday the legendary boys with the masks met fans for a little party.

They stay at Grand Hotel, where a crowd of fans, seemingly VIPs, reporters and accidental passers by (like myself in this case) gathered, clicking their cameras industriously.

There was certainly a reason for all the flash lights: a couple of exclusive Lamborghinis (pronounce: lahm-bohr-ghee-nee, not with “gee“!!!) – AND a Batmobile!

Lambroghini for the KISS, by Andrea Gerak

Batmobil front, by Andrea Gerak

More photos (and a little pondering about how it was reported in a certain Swedish tabloid…)

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Elisabeth Kontomanou at Huddinge Jazz

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Since my 4 years I have spent in Sweden, one of my greatest experiences was this concert last Friday: Elisabeth Kontomanou at Huddinge Jazz Festival (Stockholm).

The internationally touring brilliant singer put an outstanding show on the stage, featuring her outstanding vocals conveyed with passion and communication, great stage presence, remarkable musicians and vocalists, songs that gave chills, tears or joy to the audience, making them clapping, tapping, singing along, laughing, or submerging deep in their thoughts and emotions, evoked by the melodies.

A very professional performance and very human in the same time; Elisabeth is a master of keeping contact with the audience in a lovely manner.

Have to mention how respectfully she treated her colleagues on stage: six of them being excellent young talents (three of them in fact her sons!), and despite of that we could witness a few first time performances, such as the opening song, each performer did a great job. Apparently all of them on the stage enjoyed every minute of the show, just as did the audience.

Lead Vocals : Elisabeth Kontomanou
Drums : Donald Kontomanou
Bass : Lars Ekman
Piano : Pelle Karlström
Guitar : Erik Söderlind
Guitar : Joey Belmondo
Backing Vocals : Pixie Jakobsson
Backing Vocals : Christine Sundberg
Special Guest : Gustav Karlström

To get a little taste, open Elisabeth Kontomanu’s MySpace and play the songs while looking at the photos.

Elisabeth Kontomanou at Huddinge Jazz 2010. Photo: Andrea Gerak

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Vernissage on top of the city

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Yesterday evening I went to a very nice vernissage at Södra Teatern, of Jonas Rahm painter who has arranged to treat us with great music and an exceptional location, too (and yummy sun-dried black olives from Greece…)

See my impressions from before, during and after the event – a wonderful evening in Stockholm!

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