”Playing music is a wonderful way to socialize. It’s really my favoutite thing to do. Without music I don’t know how I would get through the dark winters or how I could better express my euphoria when summer comes with its bright nights”
Music plays an important role in everyday life for Anna Lindblad and it’s been like that for as long as she can remember. As a child, she showed a keen interest early on in Swedish traditional music. She grew up in a family where music and dancing where a natural part of everyday life. It could be anything from dancing a gentle walz or a slow polska in the small kitchen at home, to singing at family parties and attending dance nights and folk music festivals with her parents and little sister.
”I started playing fiddle when I was 9 years old.” Anna says. ”My greatest desire was to play for dancers, having spent so much time in that enviroment. I almost never did my homework from the lessons of the public music school, it was much more fun to sit beside the record player and learn tunes from my parents’ voluminous collection of folk music. This music was so much better and the melodies where captivating and played with an expression I could really identify with” she continues.
When Anna was 12, she began to attend a summer camp in the vicinity of her childhood home outside Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast. ”Tunes of Västergötland” was an amazing experience and a great reason to continue playing the fiddle.
”This was actually the first time I really met people my own age who played traditional music. I was quite alone before that. Here, I got friends for life and became part of a context which matters so much at that age ”
At this camp, she met musician and pedagogue Hans Kennemark, a fiddler that would mean a lot to Anna for the next few years.
”He taught me so much! Not only great tunes and helpful techniques, but also about musicality in general. He talked a lot about feeling and control, tone and presence. I felt completely at home in his approach to music and musicianship.”
Anna studied at Hvitfeldska Music High School before she went on to Visingsös college / Folk Highschool in Brighton, England, and then the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. She holds both a Batchelor and a Masters degree and studied under great musicians like Ellika Frisell, Mikael Marin, Sven Ahlbäck, and Siobhan Peoples during a year of exchange in Ireland.
In 2003 Anna was awarded the honorary title Riksspelman for ”tradition conscious and sonorous playing of Västergötland tunes” but she is now equally at home in traditional music from Quebec, Canada, and Ireland, as well as dance tunes from the deep tradition of cajun music in Louisiana. She thinks it’s because she’s always sought new musical ways of expression. This is particularly evident through her many trips to Quebec in Canada and her exchange year at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, Ireland.
”I’ve always been interested in and, somehow, full of admiration for what I can’t fully master. I don’t think there is any right or wrong in music, but I’ve had a strong drive towards mastering various forms of musical expression, especially from the traditions where I’ve felt a strong sense of belonging and love for, like the music and community of both Quebec, Canada, and South West Louisiana in the United States.”
This desire to seek new ways of expression and her curiosity and openess has resulted in numerous awards from both the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and the Swedish Arts Council.
It is evident that dancing has been, and still is an important element in Anna’s life, just like music is. She feels they are connected and that in some ways, you can’t have one without the other.
”It’s always been qualities I like, playing in a clear and powerful way, just like you have to do on a crowded sweaty dance floor” she says.
Anna is just as oldfashioned as she is innovative and with a nod to the tradition she brings her music forward, blending all her diverse musical interests into a very special voice that’s all her own.
”Music and dance has definitely been the main thread throughout my life and I think it always will be.”
Besides being a frequent musician for dance classes and fiddle workshops she plays in the pan-Scandinavian trio Fru Skagerrak, Swedish folk band Lyy, and her own trio Anna Lindblad Trio. She also has several other collaborations and projects such as a duo with Swedish guitarist and singer Anna Larsson, and is one of the 15 members in the party band FAB, Folk All-in Band. She has also collaborated several times with American percussive dancer Nic Gareiss and has several new projects in the pipeline.
Read more about this under ”Projects”.