Swedish Folk Music: Traditional Sounds for a New Generation

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Swedish folk music has a long and rich history, dating back centuries. In recent years, a new generation of Swedish musicians has been carrying on the tradition, creating beautiful and unique sounds.

If you’re interested in learning more about Swedish folk music, this blog is for you. We’ll explore the history of the genre and showcase some of the best contemporary Swedish folk musicians.


Sweden has a long and proud history of folk music, with a distinctive sound that is immediately recognizable. Although it has been somewhat overshadowed in recent years by other genres, there is a new generation of musicians who are keeping the tradition alive and bringing it to new audiences.

Swedish folk music is usually divided into two main categories: ballad music and dance music. Ballad music is typically slower and more reflective, often telling stories or expressing emotions. Dance music is more upbeat and lively, designed to get people moving.

There are many different instruments used in Swedish folk music, including the fiddle, accordion, flute, and drums. The melodies are often simple and repetitive, making them easy to sing along to.

If you’re interested in learning more about Swedish folk music, there are many great resources available online. You can also find plenty of recordings to listen to, so you can get a feel for the genre.

A Brief History of Swedish Folk Music

Swedish folk music has been around for centuries, with the first known recordings dating back to the early 1700s. In the past, folk music was primarily used for entertainment and storytelling. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence in interest in Swedish folk music, with a new generation of musicians and fans.

Traditional Instruments

While folk music is often associated with acoustic instruments, in reality, anything that can create music can be used in folk music. Traditional folk instruments in Sweden include the fiddle (violin), accordion, nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle), flute, and clarinet. More modern folk bands may also use guitars, drums, and other non-traditional instruments.

The Modern Folk Scene

While some may see Swedish folk music as a relic of the past, there is a new generation of musicians keeping the tradition alive. These artists are bringing traditional sounds into the 21st century, creating a style that is both familiar and new.

One of the most popular modern folk groups is Värttinä. This band has been playing together since the 1980s, and their sound is a unique blend of traditional Finnish and Swedish folk music. They use a variety of traditional instruments, including the kantele (a Finnish zither), fiddles, and flutes. Värttinä’s music has been featured in a number of films and TV shows, including The Shield and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Another popular Swedish folk group is Hedningarna. This band was formed in the early 1990s, and their sound is a mix of Nordic folk music and electronic dance music. Hedningarna often uses traditional instrumentation, but they also incorporate synthesizers and other electronic elements into their music. In addition to their own albums, Hedningarna has also done remixes for other artists, including Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue.

If you’re interested in exploring Swedish folk music further, there are a number of excellent albums available. Some of our favorites include Värttinä’s “Ilmatar” (1994), Hedningarna’s “Karelia Visa” (1995), and Gjallarhorn’s “Rimfaxe” (2002).

The New Generation of Swedish Folk Musicians

A new generation of Swedish folk musicians are keeping the traditional sounds of their country alive while also adding their own unique twist. These musicians are not only keeping the music alive, but they are also attracting a new audience to the genre.

Frida Hyvönen

Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvönen is part of a new generation of folk musicians resurrecting traditional Swedish sounds for a modern audience. Hyvönen grew up in the small town of Uppsala, outside of Stockholm, and began playing music when she was just six years old. After studying classical piano at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, she began writing her own songs and performing them publicly.

In 2006, Hyvönen released her debut album, Silvana, which featured a mix of traditional Swedish folk melodies and her own modern composition. The album was a critical and commercial success, and helped to launch her career as a major force in Swedish music.

Since then, Hyvönen has released several more albums, including Until Death Comes (2009), To the Soul (2011), and Frida Hyvönen (2014). She has also collaborated with other prominent Swedish musicians, including Anna von Hausswolff and Johan Johannsson. In addition to her work as a musician, Hyvönen is also an outspoken advocate for social and environmental causes.

Jose Gonzalez

Jose Gonzalez is a Swedish singer and songwriter who has been described as a “new voice in folk music.” His music has been influenced by a variety of genres, including indie rock, latin music, and classical guitar. Gonzalez’s debut album, Veneer, was released in 2003 to critical acclaim. It featured the singles “Heartbeats” and “Crosses,” both of which were later used in popular films. Gonzalez has since released two more albums, In Our Nature (2007) and Vestiges & Claws (2015). He has toured extensively throughout Europe and North America, and his music has been featured on television shows and films such as The O.C., Friday Night Lights, and Garden State.

The Tallest Man on Earth

The Tallest Man on Earth is one of the most popular Swedish folk musicians today. He is known for his tall stature and his unique voice. He has released four studio albums, and his music has been featured in many films and television shows.


In recent years, Swedish folk music has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity, both in Sweden and abroad. A new generation of musicians is keeping the traditional sounds alive while also infusing them with a fresh, contemporary approach. If you’re looking for something new to add to your musical repertoire, give Swedish folk music a try!

Similar Posts