Last Saturday Kongero came all the way from Sweden to give a heartwarming, cheerful performance at the Harrison Memorial Hall.
Vocalists Lotta Andersson, Emma Björling, Anna Larsson and Anna Wikénius brought their harmonic melodies and witty humour to the Harrison crowd.
Utilizing traditional Nordic music, the band performed a variety of carefully arranged tunes varying from love stories and herding songs to ditties and medieval ballads. The group chooses these arrangements as a team, editing the music where they see fit.
“We like to use traditional material that you can relate to and stories with some kind of positive message,” Andersson explains.
These positive messages come through altering traditional tunes, changing the lyrics or adding extra verses to make sad stories end happily.
“The world changes, so tradition has to change with it,” Andersson says, adding that while it’s important to be part of tradition, it’s also important to include something of your own.
Kongero’s music takes listeners to the mountains in Sweden, where elderly women and young girls herd cattle, using high-pitched herding calls that both cattle and people react to.
“Herding in general throughout the world has been a male thing,” Andersson says, “but in Scandinavia it is often part of something that females do.”
This female influence led to many beautiful herding songs the band often includes within their performances. The songs are especially important because dairy production and herding in Sweden has significantly decreased, says Andersson.
As a farming community, where dairy, corn, and hazelnut production is a common livelihood, Agassiz and Harrison residents may be able to relate to the band’s connection with the fading tradition of herding, as parts of Fraser Valley farmland slowly turn to city scape.
– Contributed by Hunter Ramey