Famous Swedish bands you should know about

 

Although most of us have become accustomed to the English and American music, there are plenty of countries that bring their own contribution to the worldwide musical scene.

For instance, Sweden, this small European country with little under ten million inhabitants, is known for its eclectic musical preferences and numerous talented musicians and bands. Here are some of the most important that are worth mentioning, apart from Avicii, Basshunter or Lykke Li.

 

ABBA

Formed back in 1972, ABBA probably remains the most popular Swedish music band of all time. It was also Sweden’s first international pop group and sold between 140 and 500 million records throughout their career.  

The band was also the first one from a non-English speaking country to become successful in all English-speaking countries, including South Africa, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom or the United States.

ABBA was active between 1972 and 1982, but they reunited thirty years later, in 2018, and started touring again. It is composed of two couples, Agnetha Faltskog and Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Benny Andersson and Frida Lyngstad.

The constant pressure of the media and the worldwide fame finally put its toll on the personal relationships between the members of the group, with both marriages ending at a certain point.

ABBA released eight studio albums, including Voulez-Vous (1979), and Waterloo (1974). In April 2018, the band announced they recorded two new songs and is ready to be reunited once again.

 

Roxette

The Swedish pop-rock duo consists of Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson. It was formed in 1986 and became an important name in the international music stage of the 1980s. The duo released its first album in 1986 that was entitled “Pearls of Passion”.

Unlike most other bands, Roxette remained a strong one over the decades, proving that real love, passion, and commitment can exist. The band’s latest album, “Good Karma”, was released in 2016 and was acclaimed both by critics and fans.

Throughout its impressive career, Roxette received various important prizes, including an MTV Video Award back in 1989, and another one in 1991.

 

First Aid Kit

The two sisters of 19 and 22 years old are considered Sweden’s latest popular musical export. The band already featured collaborations with heavy artists like Jack White (from The White Straps) or Mike Mogis.

The duo Klara and Johanna first became popular in 2008 when they posted on Youtube their own cover of the song “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song”. Back in 2015, the First Aid Kit was nominated for a Brit Award.

The band released four studio albums, with the latest one in January 2018. Some of their most famous songs include “Ghost Town”, “Stay Gold” or “Revolution”.

Cool facts about True Blood

 

In recent years, there have been a lot of successful movies and TV series about vampires and werewolves, so we can understand that people are fascinated by these supernatural creatures. One of the most popular shows about immortals is True Blood. The series is based on the idea that society should pay more attention to the concept of equal rights for all.

True Blood ran on HBO from 2008 to 2014. According to the script, the events take place in the fictional town Bon Temps, Louisiana. It basically presents a story with real-life correspondence: vampires are trying to get used to living among humans like minorities are trying to live in a society that respects their rights.

Ever since the debut, True Blood became a sensation. In 2010, the leading actors appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Their appearance was quite shocking because they were naked and covered in blood. In addition, the show was spiced up with all the necessary ingredients for controversial talks: sex, violence and humor.

Considering all these factors, it’s no wonder that True Blood became HBO’s highest rated show since The Sopranos. The main characters are Sookie Stackhouse, a hybrid creature who is part fairy and part telepathic human and Bill, a 173-year-old vampire. The two actors who played these parts, Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer fell in love and got married in real life.

Next to the love story between Paquin and Moyer, other interesting facts have drawn the attention of the public. Maybe you haven’t heard about them yet, so let’s mention a few.

  1. The show was inspired by a trip to the dentist.
  2. Anna Paquin really wanted to star in this show, so she did her best to get Sookie’s part.
  3. Charlaine Harris, the author of the book which inspired the series, was not so interested in vampires. She would have preferred to focus on people and the way they might interact with supernatural creatures.
  4. Allan Ball, the show’s creator, considered that True Blood is about intimacy and primal desires.
  5. One of the actors, Alexander Skarsgård, appeared completely naked in a scene, although he had a choice not to.
  6. Rutina Wesley didn’t have any problem with the fact that her character was killed until the end.
  7. Denis O’Hare learned a lot of history for creating his character’s backstory.
  8. Joe Manganiello got the part of Alcide with help from a blog.
  9. If you really want to feel like a vampire, you can buy the True Blood drink online. Of course, it doesn’t taste like blood; it tastes like orange soda.
  10. Anna Paquin received an Oscar for her part in ”The Piano”. She was 11 years old.
  11. One of the actors left the show because he didn’t want to play the part of a gay character.
  12. One of the actresses demanded ”carb-free” blood.
  13. Everyone hated the ending.

 

 

True Blood is not for everyone, but those who have seen it were impressed. In the end, it is just a TV series, so treat it as such!

 

The pros and cons of getting a guitar for your kid

 

Everybody wants their child to grow up smart and creative. But in order for that to happen, you’ll need to provide him or her with the right tools and materials. And I think out of all the instruments available right now, the guitar would be the best choice. You will find out in the following minutes why I think so.

It’s a well known fact that music stimulates the neural network of a kid’s brain, strengthening the connections between neurons, or their synapses as they are called. This way, through the simple act of playing the guitar, the kid will learn faster, think better and be capable of creating original music out of nothing, which is impressive on its own.

And this is also my first pro argument. Music lessons are great because your child has to work hard to memorize all the notes and the rules and that on top of all the homework he or she might have. It will improve problem-solving skills since music partitions have an intrinsic logic.

A possible downside of guitar playing is hard to find, in all honesty. However, there’s always the chance, like will all instruments or mandatory lessons, that your baby will hate guitar classes. If you have a hunch that might be the case with your child, don’t invest in the most expensive instrument the market has to offer, but rather go for a cheap one.

Speaking of choosing a guitar, when it comes to picking the best style for the fragile hands of a child, most parents tend to go for acoustic guitars or even ukulele, but I think a semi-acoustic guitar would be a much better choice. That’s because, in a lightweight body, you get all the benefits of both acoustic and electric guitars. Alternatively, it can be used with nylon strings.

Another benefit I think most parents will appreciate is the fact that through guitar-playing lessons, children will for sure learn the value of hard work, how to keep a schedule and the responsibility of having something to care for. Children who go to music classes will allocate their time to beneficial activities; they will socialize and not spend all of their time in front of the TV. Additionally, they will learn how to appreciate art and develop a good sense of style and a taste for the belle arts.

As a final thought, I can say with honesty that there are hardly any wrong sides to learning how to play guitar. So, if you or your kid are even remotely interested in this, find a teacher as soon as possible. The age of six is ideal because that’s when their mind is at its peak when it comes to learning abilities.

How to learn to play the banjo

 

If you want to learn to play the banjo, you should note that this is an easy task. It could be quite a fun and entertaining journey for one to take. However, as you might’ve noticed already, finding a starting point can be quite tricky if you don’t know where to look.

This is the reason why I put together this article so I can give you some peace of mind and to save you some time, which you can invest in experimenting with this unique instrument. It has this charming and particular sound that will for sure get stuck in your head for many years.

The first method most people try is the classic one – by finding a teacher in your area who can lay down the basics of the instrument for you. Unfortunately, I cannot strongly recommend this one as it can be expensive and it can take a lot of time. Besides, you will have to match the schedule of your teacher which is not always possible. However, you should know that learning to play the banjo on your own is an achievable task, so there’s no actual need for you to try this expensive alternative.

If you want to do it on your own, I suggest you focus on skills such as a good rhythm, and on changing the chords comfortably. If you have the time and energy, you should learn how to follow simple chord progressions without struggling. If you follow these directions, you’ll be a master of the instrument in no time.

My go-to resource when it comes to any field, not just learning to play an instrument, is the perennial Youtube. There you have hundreds, if not thousands of videos which can show you how to create sounds, what is a chord and how to properly hold the instrument. These online teachers don’t charge you a penny for their comprehensive lessons, and you can replay their videos as many times as you’d like.

The best part about YouTube is the fact that you can get a real feel of how your notes are supposed to sound like. This is a skill that you cannot learn from books because it involves sounds, and I feel like Youtube is giving you the chance to practice at your own pace and without any teacher or other students judging you.

My last tip for you is to go to a website that I’ve used many times in my quest to conquer this instrument. Joff Lowson’s site with the same name, like many others that you can find with a simple Google search, lays down the foundations simply and elegantly, which I see fit for beginners who have no idea what they’re doing.

My favorite part about this cool website is the fact that you have videos with audio, you have texts, you have PDFs, and even instructions on how to play some basic sounds. Which, in all honesty, I still use sometimes especially before I go camping with my friends or before I want to impress anyone I’m dating.