View Full Version : Visstuga

A-M Löfdahl
28-06-04, 20:19
VISSTUGA på Pärtstugan, Ånäs, Oravais 1.7.2004 kl 19:00
(Karlebyvägen 276)

If you happens to be in the neighbourhood of Oravais I want to invite you to VISSTUGA at Thursday the 1st of July.
We sing old songs together, mostly traditional. No entrance fee.

Välkommen på Visstuga torsdag 1.7.2004, om ni råkar befinna er i Oravais med omnejd!
Vi sjunger gamla visor tillsammans, allt från vaggvisor och sånglekar till kärleksvisor och skillingtryck. Inget inträde, servering.


Gunnar Damström
06-07-04, 01:54
Ann Marie.
Thanks for the kind invitation. Sorry I could not make it. However, I would be greatly interested to learn how it worked out. How many came? What was the age structure? How often do you arrange these events? Who brings the food and what do you serve? What song book do you use? Did you have a piano, accordion or violin? What songs did you sing? Do you distribute xeroxed lyrics of songs you selected beforehand? Did you dance? What is Pärtstugan, Ånäs, Oravais? Do you actively teach new songs to participants at each Visstuga? Are you the Oravais- Vissuga motor? Did people say they had fun and would probably come back for the next Visstuga? We tried a Visafton here in Bellevue, Washington last week and it was fun but we have lots to learn.


Gunnar Damström

A-M Löfdahl
09-07-04, 22:42
Thanks for your interest!
We had really fun on our Visstuga! I will do my best in answering your questions.

How many came? 45

What was the age structure?
The youngest was 20 and the oldest 84. The majority although was between 60 and 70 years old.This year we had no children, (often they attend with grandparents).

How often do you arrange these events?
We always have a Visstuga in Pärtstugan the same week every year. It is the Oravais-week when several events are arranged. This year in August we have one in Karvat (another village in Oravais).

Who brings the food and what do you serve?
It´s normal to have a coffee-break at such events as our Visstuga. We started at 19:00, drinked coffee at ca 19:50, started to sing again at 20:30 and went home at 21:15. People from Hembygdsföreningen make coffe and everybody pays for ”kaffe o bulla”. In that way Hembygdsföreningen get a small fee for using the museum.

What song book do you use?
That´s one of the main thing with the Visstuga. We do NOT use a songbook. We sing the songs just as they did in the old days; by ear.

Did you have a piano, accordion or violin?
That´s one of the other main things. We don´t have any instruments accompanying the songs. We sing a capella.

What songs did you sing?
Old traditional songs. Dance songs (sånglekar), love songs, lullabyes, ballads. We are trying to stick to traditional songs but other songs are not forbidden. The leaders suggest songs but we also encourage people to make suggestions. So we sing the songs people want to sing.

Do you distribute xeroxed lyrics of songs you selected beforehand?
This time I did that with two songs; those with 12 verses are difficult to sing together without lyrics.

Did you dance?
No, but when we sing “sånglekar” (dancesongs?) we often talk about the dances to these songs.

What is Pärtstugan, Ånäs, Oravais?
Pärtstugan is one of the museums in Oravais. It is a little red house with “Pärtor” (wooden chips?) on the outside walls, therefore the name. It has two big rooms and one small and we gather in the “storstuga” and sit there an sing. 50 persons is max.

Do you actively teach new songs to participants at each Visstuga?
We try to make it as spontaneous as possible but I have of course prepared some songs. Many of them are familiar to most of the participiants but some not, then I teach them.

Are you the Oravais- Visstuga motor?
Yes. The Visstuga is arranged by Oravais Hembygdsförening and Finlands svenska folkmusikinstitut. Oravais Hembygdsförening owns the house and take care of the coffee. I take care of the advertisment. We are two leaders at the Visstuga; It is easier when you´re not alone. Folkmusikinstitutet (The Institute of Finland-Swedish traditional music) pays our costs.

Did people say they had fun and would probably come back for the next Visstuga?
Yes! I feel that way too, and it makes me happy and that´s why I arrange it next year again!

My main goal with the Visstuga is that people feel the joy in singing.
I also want to share the old traditional songs with others. The songtradition has in a way been broken. People used to learn songs from the older generations and the songs where sung in a very long time. They told about traditions, special events and so on. People had songs for every purpose. Songs helped you to get through the day, they maked the children calm. Everybody knew the songs for both joy and grief.
Nowadays you have to have the same songbook or nobody knows what to sing; and many of the old songs are not available in our songbooks. Many persons have also learned in school that they can´t sing; and that is a big misunderstanding!

Please tell me more about your Visafton, and feel free to ask more!

Vishälsningar från

Gunnar Damström
10-07-04, 00:04
This first time the Visafton was at our house and by invitation only. We elected to invite children of friends with Swede Finn background living in Seattle's Eastside. The age structure was 18-34. Since few participants had ever heard the songs, I had xeroxed them beforehand. I sung through the songs once or twice, then we tried together. We sung Höstvisa by Tove Jansson and Erna Tauro; Vårvindar Friska by Julia Nyberg; Morgonvisa by Jonatan Reuter; Kostervalsen; I det gröna by Gunnar Wennergren; Hangö Valsen by Georg Malmsten; Längtan till Landet; Flickan i Havanna, Fritjof Andersons Paradmarsch, Dansen på Sunnanö, and Calle Schewens vals by Evert Taube; Jungman Jansson; Vårsång; and finally Vila vid denna Källa by Carl Michael Bellman.

I feel really sorry for the local children here. They don't have song in their regular elementary and middle school curriculum like we had. They graduate from highshool and they hardly know any songs. Singing is key for maintaining a sound and creative mind and a positive attitude through life. I am willing to bet that the song lessons provided weekly during elementary and middle school play a big role in the outstanding achievements of contemporary Finnish school children. So we decided we need to do something about that- better late than never.

We plan to have maybe six sessions a year.


A-M Löfdahl
11-07-04, 11:33

I feel sorry for the children who don´t get the opportunity to sing in school too, I agree with you. Children love to sing and I think parents (and other adults) have to give them the opportunity to do so.
I also think that it is important to know something about your songtradition. It´s ok to sing modern popsongs but to preserve your own culture it is also important to sing those songs that belong to your heritage.
(I am not sure if I can explain all my thoughts about singing in english...)

Gunnar, your initiative is important! I hope you go on and I also hope that you want to share your experiences with us!

When the songs are unknown it is ok to have copies to read. Do you have good books to copy from?

There are som really good books with finlandswedish songs and songs sung in the swedish Finland available here.
Two "allsångsböcker" (what´s the appropriate word in english?) are Vi sjunger tillsammans and Vi sjunger mera published by Finlands svenska folkmusikinstitut and Warner/Chappell Music Finland. Most of the songs you sung are found in them. Another very good book is Stora Sångboken published by Svenska folkskolans vänner. Here you can find almost any song that feel like the are ours. Here you can find traditional songs but also those composed/written by people in swedish Finland. Ann-Mari Häggman has written comments to all the songs so one gets to know more about them.

Sing more!

Karen Norwillo
11-07-04, 20:13
Ann-Marie or anyone, Could you recommend a tape or CD of traditional songs that might be purchased. My background is from Oravais, Vörå, Esse and Salla (Kuolajärvi) I would love to be able to hear the music of my ancestors. Karen

June Pelo
11-07-04, 21:15
SFHS, The Swedish Finn Historical Society, has a book "Songs Finland Sings", edited by Barbara Helsingius. Words and music songbook in English containing some of Finland's most popular and loved songs. 121 pp. $15 plus $3 S&H. Also available two CD set, $18 plus $4 S&H. Contact:
SFHS P.O. Box 17264, Seattle, WA 98107-0964 Attn: Elizabeth Berg. Prices are US funds. Make checks payable to SFHS.


June Pelo
12-07-04, 21:39
I have found ads for music from Finland which appear to be more "Finnish" than from the Swedish-speaking areas. Here are a few:

A Change of Seasons: Barbara Hanka singing vocals in Finnish and English and playing the kantele, piano, flute and Sami drum. 20 songs $16.00 includes shipping. Send to:
Barbara Hanka
1211 East 8th St.
Duluth, MN 58805
Old Finnish tunes available on CD or cassette. Volume 2 or 3 CDs $10.00 each; Volume 4 or 5 CDs - $12.00 each. All Cassettes - only $7.00 each.
Send orders to:
Heart to Finland
Tanya M. Stanaway
1465 U.S. 41 West
Ishpeming, MI 49848 (906) 485-1971
Old-time Finn hall music by Al Reko and Oren Tikkanen. Vol. 1 (2 CDs): Dance at the Finn Hall; Life in the Finnish American Woods.

Vol. 2 (2 CDs): American Boys in Finland; Reunion at Finntown.

$18.00 for each double CD volume or $30 for a complete set of 4 CDs in 2 volumtes. Add 42.00 to total for shipping.

Thimbleberry Recordings
54261 State Hwy M-26
Calumet, MI 49913

(906) 875-6976
e-mail: tonitikk%40up.net
Boston's Finnish Folk band. New CD of old-time Finnish music such as Waltzes, Jenkkas, Polkkas, favorite songs and dances. $12 plus $2 shipping.
Marianne Cygnel
1110 Washington St.
Gloucester, MA 01930
978-281-5074 (Marianne)
e-mail: mcygnel%40hotmail.com